[Startup Bharat] With these startups, healthcare services are getting better in non-metros
Healthcare is an often-neglected aspect in our society, and that explains the poor spends on it. In fact, India's healthcare spend stands at a paltry 1.2 percent of the GDP, according to the Indian Medical Association.
That, however, is changing.
Startups are increasingly focusing on the healthcare sector, looking to disrupt it with new innovations and devices. These players are based across the country – in metro and non-metro cities and towns are addressing various aspects of healthcare, be it helping with diagnostics, critical care equipment, medicine delivery, clinic management and even digitising medical records to make healthcare more effective.
While metros have Practo, 1MG, LiveHealth, MUrgency, Portea and AddressHealth to give access to high-quality healthcare at the click of a button, rural India, now, isn't far behind.
There are several startups doing stellar work in India’s rural landscape and YourStory lists a notable few.
Lifetron Innov Equipments
Jaundice is common condition in newborns, but lack of access to proper healthcare can lead to the loss of precious lives, and does. Phototherapy is a known cure for the condition, and while treatment is easily available in most hospitals in the city, rural areas often do not have access to the equipment for this treatment.
To change this, Anaesthesiologist Dr Kiran Kanthi took it upon himself to make phototherapy accessible to neonatal intensive care units in rural Karnataka. Kiran has been running a neonatal nursing care centre in North Karnataka's Bagalkot for over 20 years.
He started Lifetrons Innov Equipments in 2016. The Hubli-based medtech startup provides low-cost, portable and bed-side neonatal phototherapy units that can be deployed in rural and remote healthcare setups.
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant (centre) inaugurating the Portable Phototherapy unit
"We plan to sell over a thousand units this year, and clock a revenue of Rs 4 crore. In the first few months, we have had 100 pending orders, which we will soon start deploying," said Kiran, in a previous conversation with YourStory.
Lifetron's product comes with a battery backup, and has undergone several clinical trials at Hubli and Kiran's nursing home. The team has also applied for recognition from Indian Certification for Medical Devices.
Raipur-based Mediklik provides preventive healthcare packages and primary care services. Founded by former-pharmacist Vikram Aditya in 2017, Mediklik is an online cloud-based patient engagement platform and offers healthcare packages that are tailored by medical experts. The platform offers details of preventive lifestyle diseases including symptoms and medicines.
Every information page shows a list of healthcare providers in the vicinity, along with experts available for online consultation. Once a user registers – registrations are free – they are encouraged to take a free visit from the Mediklik team for assessment of their family health.
The Mediklik team
Mediklik has partnered with over 500 doctors, clinics, diagnostic centres and labs. In a previous conversation with YourStory, Vikram said,
"We have partnered with more than 40 big corporate and industries as their health provider. These include some of the biggest industrial groups in central India."
Thangvung Privilege Services
One of the most daunting aspects of seeking professional medical care is the cost. And to lend a helping hand here, Thangvung Privilege Services offers a privilege card that allows a user financial assistance in medical emergencies at zero percent EMI.
Founded by Lian Thangvung in Manipur, the card was launched in June 2018, and has already sold 700 units. Lian has tied up with 35 local healthcare organisations and NBFCs. The card provides a holder access to affordable healthcare products and delivery of medicines round the clock.
Lian Thangvung, Founder Thangvung Privilege Services
"The idea is to make healthcare affordable, provide medical emergency financial assistance, create a platform to connect with services provider, offer round the clock access to medical assistance, and provide a pay-later platform for medical emergencies," Lian told YourStory earlier.
The startup has raised Rs 25 lakh in funding from Nedfi Northeast Venture Fund.
The sense of hearing is one that most of us often take for granted, and hearing loss is often undetected and ignored in initial stages. In addition, hearing tests require expensive and bulky equipment and are expensive.
Addressing this, Hubli-based Nautilus Hearing is making hearing tests simple and affordable, and the equipment portable. Incubated at Sandbox Hubli, a part of Deshpande Foundation Sandbox Startups, Nautilus was set up in 2018.
NR Narayana Murthy, trying out a Nautilus Hearing device
Audiologists T Udayraga Kiran and Remya Uday, the founders of Nautilus,have developed a boothless portable audiometer to conduct hearing tests. The product also provides a tele-audiology model to help patients remotely determine their hearing.
Nautilus provides digitised reports to make them easily accessible and help doctors and hospitals save 80 percent on cost as against current market rate.
MeraPatient was founded by Manish Mehta, a chartered accountant, and Alok Khandelwal, a journalist, in 2017 to solve the problem of healthcare connectivity. The Jaipur-based startup aggregates offline pharmacies and diagnostic labs.
"With a wide network of certified chemist shops and diagnostic centres, the MeraPatient App addresses the demand-and-supply situation on your smartphone screen. This empowers users while buying medicines and conducting tests at diagnostic labs as per their choice," Manish said.
Using the application which uses the GPS tracker, a user can search pharma stores and diagnostic labs in a 5km radius.They can then upload their prescription and even view offers from pharma stores and labs on medicines or book appointment for prescribed tests.
For certified pharma stores and diagnostic labs, the app sends an alert based on user demand. Stores and labs can also offer discounts and home delivery options to users via the app. Diagnostic labs can also opt to upload reports on the app for hassle-free access.
MeraPatient is currently bootstrapped, and is looking to invest Rs 20 crore on hiring people and developing its infrastructure to reach metros and mini-metros.