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This Hyderabad-based startup is bringing the clinic home

Neha Jain
16th Oct 2017
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With 91 hospitals, 94 diagnostic centres, 70 doctors and over 20 speciality and super-speciality centres as partners, CallHealth aims to make healthcare available at the click of a button.

Often, the idea for a new enterprise is born out of a challenge faced by the founder, and CallHealth is no different. When Sandhya Raju damaged a ligament in her leg, family and friends ferried her around to the doctor and for various medical tests.

Inconvenienced and rendered dependent, Sandhya pondered on how it would be if all the services she needed were made available at her doorstep.

Hailing from a family that was seeped in business to the core – Sandhya is the granddaughter of PR Ramasubramaneya Rajha, Ex-Chairman of the Ramco Group, while she herself is the managing director of Sandhya Mills – turning an idea into an enterprise was not too challenging a task, and CallHealth came to being.

A core team was put together to gauge the challenges with the existing health technology industry and how “On Click” healthcare services could be made available at home.

CallHealth has partnered with 91 hospitals, 94 diagnostic centres, 70 doctors and over 20 speciality and super-specialty centres. CallHealth itself has a workforce of over 1,350 employees across corporate, medical and paramedical staff.

Hari Thalapalli, CEO of CallHealth says, “The idea was to eliminate the tyranny of time, distance and cost while solving the basic problem of a single-point comprehensive healthcare solution. We are creating a technology induced disruption in this space. We will soon integrate real-time diagnosis with devices, and bring greater clinical efficiencies and provide the needed continuum of care on our platform.”

The three-dimensional approach

The CallHealth platform offers a range of personalised healthcare services including wellness, prevention, cure, and assisted care through its virtual, physical, and innovation platform. 

With its virtual platform, the company is trying to embody the spirit of anything that can be done virtually will be done virtually. Services such as doctor consultations, second opinions, and emotional wellness can be availed virtually through a phone or video call.

In the physical aspect, services such as collection of blood samples, tests, nursing care, physiotherapy and delivery of medicines are offered at a patient’s doorstep.

The third dimension is the CallHealth Innovation Platform, where the company analyses and interprets data collected over the course of various services provided from lab reports to diagnostic tests and prescriptions. This gives a user or patient a focus to predictive and preventive care.

In instances where a patient’s medical condition makes a visit to the hospital or an imaging lab absolutely unavoidable, CallHealth provides facilitation and assistance service.

Hari says, “This has enabled us to string together all constituents of the otherwise fragmented and siloed healthcare eco-system-hospitals, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, emotional and physical wellness experts such as psychiatrists, phycologists, nutritionists, diagnostic and imaging centres.”

Highly fragmented market

Talking about the challenges, Hari says the healthcare ecosystem is highly fragmented. While technology-enabled healthcare services are gradually gaining acceptance, the sector is largely still at a nascent stage. To make the healthcare eco-system truly integrated, different players require a fundamental shift in their delivery structure and mindset.

Traditional mind-set relies heavily on the already over-burdened brick and mortar healthcare infrastructure.

Hari says, “Attaining customer trust is a challenge, a most have traditionally relied on the brick and mortar model. However, over time, we have been able to strengthen our repeat customer base to 25 percent, who are seeing convenience in our blended (online and offline) delivery model. For example: CH’s virtual technology allows for patients to consult with a doctor and Medical Health Officers - who are proficient to carry out diagnostics and check other vital statistics - online.”

Increasing acceptance

Call Health started formal operations in January 2017, after completing a testing phase. The company claims that in the period from November 2015 to August 2017, its team conducted over 297,747 diagnostic tests at an average of a test every 1.25 minutes. The team says it attends a call every 48 seconds and has clocked a total of 661,822 calls till now.

Overall, Callhealth is adding a new customer every 2.12 minutes. When it comes to eConsultation, they have recorded 23,822 doctor consultations until now, and have executed 357,755 customer orders. It has a repeat usage of over 25 percent.

Penetration, active customers, and orders (per active customer) are the major drivers of revenue for CallHealth.

CallHealth’s initial round of funding was enabled by Sandhya Raju, her family, and business network. Overall, the company has raised Rs 250 crore since inception. The funds were predominantly used to create a platform and for extensive testing. The platform has 16 healthcare offerings and intends to expand in the days to come.

The way forward

According to a report in IBEF, total industry size is expected to touch $160 billion by 2017 and $280 billion by 2020. Apart from CallHealth, there is also Portea, Zoctr, Healers at Home, Unique Home Care started by Apollo Hospitals among others.

However, in the future, along with customer acquisition, CallHealth is also looking at investing in customer education and engagement.

Hari says, “India’s service-centric and fragmented healthcare industry is also plagued with a reactive care, curative mindset. This mindset persists among patients and healthcare providers as well. We are looking to participate in children’s school curriculums to help schools and faculties focus on their physio-socio well-being and development.”

Over the next three years, CallHealth aims to cover 100 cities in India from its current base of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

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