Coronavirus: Healthcare startup MetroMedi launches telemedicine services targetting non-metros
Hyderabad-based, an omnichannel pharmacy and healthcare brand, is rolling out a telemedicine app for their current user base to help them consult specialists via audio and video, thus, addressing the issue of non-availability of the doctors.
The MetroMedi Doc app went live last week and will be rolled out to MetroMedi’s markets in a phased manner. The startup has on boarded more than 50 doctors from fields like ENT, general medicine, paediatrician, orthopaedic, gynaecologist, ophthalmologist, and psychiatrist.
The coronavirus outbreak in India has brought the entire country to a grinding halt. The pandemic has put the healthcare system into overdrive, and has made it a mainstream conversation point. The crisis has put the entire focus of the central and state governments towards curbing the outbreak.
However, a natural fallout of this is that non-coronavirus patients are not getting the required medical attention. People with ailments like fever, joint pain, and dental issues, are afraid of visiting hospitals,and those willing to go are not sure if doctors would examine them given the prevailing scenario. The situation is worse in Tier-II and III cities, where medical facilities not at par with metros and Tier-I cities. In India, a person from Tier-III and Tier-IV cities need to travel on average 60 km to visit a specialist for a consultation. This becomes a challenge if they are working on a daily wage.
Maruthi Medisetti, CEO, MetroMedi, says,
“We had been working on the idea of rolling out our telemedicine services for later in the year but with the coronavirus outbreak, we decided to launch it earlier as we feel most patients need remote medical support now more than ever.”
The company, started in 2018 by Dilip C Byra, is focused on gaining market in Tier-II and III cities like Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Guntur, and Rajahmundry. They have opened pharmacy stores and also deliver medicines to customers, provided they share their prescription copy via WhatsApp.
Maruthi adds, “Based on the ICMR guidelines, we verify the doctor’s identity and credentials by collecting information like name, age, address, email ID, phone number, registered ID or registration certificate. We explicitly display doctor credentials so that the patients are aware of the doctor’s background and experience. We also take the patient’s consent to collect their identity information for compliance.”
The telemedicine app is alsp being launched in regional languages — Telugu and Kannada. This service is mainly aimed at daily wage workers and, thus, the pricing model has been decided, keeping the strata in mind.
The startup plans to connect the three important stakeholders— pharmacies, doctors and patients – so that healthcare becomes a seamless process, right from consultation to delivery of medicines. Pharmacies will function as a nodal point for both doctors and patients and MetroMedi team will monitor it for smooth functioning. This approach is being undertaken to minimise any challenges that patients may face, says Maruthi.