Rakya is named after a man named Rakesh, who in 1995 died from a road accident after he was unable to reach a hospital in time to save his life. The event led Chetan Patil, co-founder and CEO of Rakya, and Anil Sabnis, Head of Business Development, to wonder whether there was a way to use the information technology that exists in India today to create a system that would move a patient quickly and efficiently to the hospital in the case of an emergency. For the last 12 years, they have been exploring this solution within Rakya.
Today Rakya offers a variety of products to help hospitals and clinics improve efficiency and patient care. Their software products focus on management of finances, pharmacy operations, and administrative organization. In response to their initial question of whether they can get patients to hospitals in emergency situations, they have developed a plan for an ambitious endeavour: an air ambulance service. This emergency transportation service will focus on the Tier 2 and 3 cities that do not have the same capacities that Tier 1 cities do.
While the service might seem unlikely to reach the marginalized communities they target, Chetan and Anil believe that the service is feasible if they can reach a critical volume. Chetan likened the service to tourist helicopter trips that one might take when visiting the Grand Canyon in the United States. In these cases, helicopter rides only cost about USD 150, relatively inexpensive if one would consider an emergency situation. The reason they are able to charge this little is because of scale, something Chetan and Anil hope to achieve in the coming years.
At the Health 2.0 India conference last month, we caught up with Chetan and Anil to learn more about Rakya and the ambitious air ambulance service that they are developing.