Delhi-based Healthians is trying to solidify its presence in the online diagnostics market
Healthians, which claims to get more than 35,000 bookings per month, wants to add over 200 labs and over 3,000 phlebotomists across 30 cities by the end of 2019.
With two successful exits in healthcare information technology and medical tourism, a third endeavour in the same space did not seem out of place to 33-year-old Deepak Sahni. For Deepak, who stepped into the working world at the age of 20, was backed by almost 14 years of experience in healthcare services.
The idea of Healthians was born in April 2014 when Deepak encountered the gap in Indian hospitals, which unlike US hospitals do not offer alternatives to patients and have a single business-focused approach. All research, marketing and solutions are focused on the post-disease phase, where the costs, efforts and stress are extremely high.
Deepak’s eureka moment came when he realised that the first contact point of the disease and the wellness industry is diagnosis. And that’s how Healthians, a diagnostics startup, came into being in February 2015.
Billed “India’s largest health test at home service”, Healthians employs state-of-the-art technology for assuring quality collection and testing across its tightly controlled network of laboratories.
Healthians created a web and app-based platform and provides clients with options to create customised test packages. Services are available from 6am onwards. At the back end, once the order is booked, it goes to trained phlebotomists equipped with the latest app and equipment. The samples are collected from the location and at the time selected by the customer.
The lessons learnt from challenges faced in home sample collection served as the catalyst of evolving a proprietary sample collection kit. This kit keeps all collected samples safe from sunlight, environment and temperature challenges. It is bar-coded and cannot be re-used.
Once the sample is collected, it is safely transported to labs. Online reports are sent to customer’s email address the same day or can be viewed on the app. Hard copies are sent within 3-4 working days to the specified address. Each customer is entitled to a free wellness consultation that includes a tele-consultation with a doctor and dietician to understand their health, medical conditions and necessary lifestyle changes. An intuitive smart report is also sent to each app user where a future course of required action is recommended for every abnormal parameter.
Focusing on high reliability and accuracy
Healthians has so far raised $4.25 million, of which $250,000 was the seed money.
Deepak recalls that since the concept was not so common, the company “faced multiple rejections - 12 to be precise - from investors before raising the first round of funding”.
Another challenge was to zero in on an effective business model. They started out as a pure marketplace for diagnostics but soon realised the inability of lab partners to provide quality service.
“We pivoted to our current model to provide this high reliability and accuracy. Not only is the highly trained sample collection staff our own, we also deeply integrate with labs using technology and ensure accuracy by controlling quality at 250 points within the lab and 50 additional points in the sample collection and testing process,” Deepak says.
Since Healthians had spent a lot of time in automating the entire back-end process, the third challenge was how to scale up with minimum addition to manpower costs and without compromising on the quality of the experience.
Deepak says mapping out the complex operational flows and hard coding them with technology was the only solution.
Managing processes, quality & operations
Healthians today has a total of 250 phlebotomists. The startup claims to make a margin on each booking and sample collected. The price range for a full body check-up at Healthians starts at Rs 999 and can go up to Rs 3,500. Certain specialised checkups are in the range of Rs 1,999-Rs 9,999 also. But most of the routine checkups, including diabetes, lipid, kidney and thyroid profiles are in the range of Rs 999-Rs 1,299.
The tests available include full body checkups covering kidney and liver function test, lipid profile, diabetes panel with HbA1c and type 1.5 diabetes test, vitamin profile and all tests for thyroid. Apart from this, packages to test anaemia, typhoid, stomach infections, male and female hormones, antenatal care, PCOD and heart care are also available.
Healthians also offers tests for seasonal allergies, fevers and infections. Tests for malaria, dengue and chikungunya are also available. Customers can create customised packages or upload their prescription to book the correct test recommended by the doctor. Says Deepak,
Healthians is not a marketplace or an aggregator, but we work with partner labs. We manage processes, quality and operations for these labs and tightly control them over 250 quality checkpoints. Unlike aggregators, we at any given point in time know exactly what is happening with our customer’s samples.
According to Research and Markets, the diagnostic services market is expected to continue growing at 27.5 percent for the next five years. This growth is likely to be driven by improving healthcare facilities, medical diagnostic and pathological laboratories, private-public projects, and the health insurance sector.
The Delhi-based startup claims to receive more than 35,000 bookings per month. With an employee strength of 250, the company has operations in Delhi, Noida, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Faridabad. But Healthians is aiming high – it wants to add over 200 labs and over 3,000 phlebotomists across 30 cities by the end of 2019.