COD MediAlert sweetly reminds 10,000 Indians to swallow bitter pillsAparna Ghosh
The doctor said to Yashu Kapoor, “Medicines are like miracles that can even cure you, but only if you take them on time.”
This is a story of how two Delhi boys, Yashu and Pitambar Jha, decided to combine technology, healthcare and a little love, to build a service MediAlert, which sends over 10,000 personalized ‘take your medicines’ reminders to people across India.
Back in the past
Yashu, a technology lover, worked on several independent projects in the software development and robotics areas during his college years. He even spent a good amount of time designing lunar robots at NASA in Kennedy Space Center, USA.
He and Pitambar are childhood friends. They studied in the same school, same college (Echelon Institute of Technology, Faridabad) and were even roommates in hostel. This is not their first project together. A couple of years ago, they started up in the internet and telecom space, hoping to fix the issues in 2G/3G and broadband availability in the country.
“We were successful in solving the problem on the technical front but the monopoly of the big players in this segment didn't allow a startup to venture in this domain with limited funds. Which is why we pivoted to the IT and healthcare services industry,” said Yashu.
The duo founded CureOnDelivery in August last year.
What triggered CureOnDelivery?
The immediate cause was close to Yashu’s heart, something that happened a few years ago.
Yashu’s father, who was on medication for high blood pressure for over a decade, had always been negligent about taking his medicines on time. One day, after reaching his work place, Yashu’s father felt uneasy followed by vomiting, a severe headache and dizziness.
Though extremely dangerous, he drove himself to the nearest doctor for assistance. The doctors identified that he had had a heart stroke – caused most probably by the erratic medicine-taking habits.
Yashu, then a college student, rushed to the hospital when he got the news about his father. After a conversation with the doctor, he realized how important it was to take medicines on time, and that it was the responsibility of loved ones to remind people to take them on time.
“My dad’s close encounter with death gave me a reality check. When I discussed this with my friends and colleagues, almost everybody had stories of their own to share. One thing was common, they all wanted to ensure their family's good health,” added Yashu.
What’s so special?
MediAlert is a product that lets family members – also called caregivers formally— set up personal voice notes, as reminders for loved ones to take their medicines.
“In this way, family members can make their presence felt even when they are busy with their lives. It acts as a vital emotional support to motivate people to take their medication,” added Yashu.
“Imagine if the phone rings and your mother picks up to hear your voice saying ‘Mamma davai leylo’. There is no way she will skip taking the medicines,” added N S Naveen, who heads operations for the startup.
The reminder can be sent via a phone call, SMS, or an email, depending on the type of medium the medicine-taker will actively respond to. For the phone call mode of setting a reminder, the caregiver can record a voice message, which is played over a call, while the SMS and email options display customized texts, pre-assigned by the caregiver.
The phone call service of MediAlert costs about Rs 250 per month for users to remind up to four people. The text and SMS versions of the product are currently free.
The service is also available for hospitals, where it acts as a personalized treatment compliance service for all patients. They establish a channel of communication with patients and remind them about follow-up visits, tests, and medications etc.
So far so good
MediAlert, launched in December last year, sends around 23,600 reminders across India everyday. For their B2B product, they have partnered with Metro Hospitals and Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.
When asked about completion, Yashu said confidently, “Our offerings are very niche. There are a few players delivering bits and pieces of what we offer, but the execution and value additions we deliver through our process make us the only player in the market benefiting both, the patient and the hospital, at the same time.”
Glimpse into the future
“Our plates are full trying to meet the unanticipated demands from the tertiary care hospital segment, but once we have some leeway, we will be exploring opportunities in the primary (general physician) and secondary care segments,” added Yashu.