The healthcare market in India is dominated by hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostics centers and pharmaceuticals. The cost of medical services in the country is massive. There is a shortage of beds in Indian hospitals, and an additional 600,000 to 700,000 beds are required over the next five to six years. This has resulted in an increase in the number of patients that require professional medical-care but cannot be accommodated in a hospital environment. Increase in the number of patients, burden of the long recovery period, monetary constraints, increasing burden of chronic diseases and the demand for quality medical care, especially for the elderly, has accelerated the scope for homecare service providers.
2017 saw significant growth and scope for homecare services mainly due to the rise of non-communicable diseases that require care but not necessarily hospitalization.
Manish Joshi of NewsBarons provides excerpts of an interaction with Vipin Pathak, CEO and Founder of Care24 who informs ‘Despite the progress, India continues to struggle with critical issues and gaps in its healthcare system like lack of education, awareness and poor infrastructure’.
NB: Tell us about care24.
Vipin: Care24 is one of India’s first few venture backed start-ups in the home healthcare space which offers personal healthcare assistance within the comforts of one’s home. Headquartered in Mumbai, Care24 was founded with the idea of bringing about quality medical care to patients at their doorstep. With our wide network of expert and qualified nurses, physiotherapists and attendants we ensure that every single employee is singularly focused on improving the lives of patients in all possible ways. Our vision is to be the largest platform for delivering quality healthcare at home. Our immediate goal is to go for flawless delivery of medical expertise in our chosen markets.
NB: How do you differentiate your service from those of your competitors.
Vipin: 2018 will see applauding steps by all players to provide quality care. Our journey to create a healthier nation can only succeed by partnering with forward-thinking organizations and people who share the same vision. However, we are walking that extra mile to make home-healthcare reliable, accessible and affordable. The focus on quality and affordability is the key here that would differentiate us. We also hope to transform caregiving into a much more recognized/recognizable profession.
NB: How do you ensure medically trained professionally for home care
Vipin: Training is a must. There is no compromise on quality and care. Care24 seeks to improve the quality of life for caregivers through training, services, research and advocacy. Through training on caregiving, Care24 offers information on current medical breakthroughs, social trends, government initiatives and caregiving issues. It also provides direct support services for caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s and other debilitating health conditions that strike adults. Care24 is also developing modules for training attendants in cognitive exercises that would in turn help patients with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer, Dementia etc. This module will help the attendants keep their patient’s mental activity higher and hence create a better quality of life. We have conducted various workshops for patients, families, primary & secondary caregivers too.
NB: What is total number of medical professionals on your platform?
Vipin: Currently, we have around 4500 consultants working with us. We are still getting a huge positive response of prospects wishing to join our team.
NB: What is the total number of patients active and cured till date?
Vipin: Care24 has been in operation since 2014 and has successfully helped over 40000 families heal at home in Mumbai and Delhi.
NB: How has technology helped you scale up your reach and growth
Vipin: Incessant medical technology and innovation enhances the quality and effectiveness of care. One of the big areas of push in home healthcare is using more and more technology. The starting point of home healthcare is good logistics management. Then we have the entire technology which is used for providing clinical care. Right from selection of caregiver to medical equipment’s needs to providing care at home needs to be updated and available at the right time.
NB: What are the major challenges in home care services in India?
Vipin: Poor infrastructure, shortage of skilled workforce and lack of standards, impact the quality of care. Out of pocket expenditure constitutes more than 60% of all health expenses, a major drawback in a country like India where a large segment of the population is poor. Education and awareness has been the biggest challenge for a specialised healthcare business such as ours. In India many are still unaware of home healthcare and its benefits. People are still skeptical over taking homecare services to look after their elderly members of the family due to societal pressure and stagnant mentality.
NB: Are you looking at raising additional funds? Where would you deploy them?
Vipin: Yes, we are looking forward to funding to scale the business further. The funds will be used for geographical expansion, medical expertise development, training and strengthening offerings with more technology integration.
NB: What are your expansion plans?
Vipin: We are looking forward to expanding between 3 to 5 metros in the coming 12-18 months and are hiring 3000 to 5000 more people on the service side. We have a proven profitable model in Mumbai and Delhi which we would replicate in the new cities along with deepening of services.