Coronavirus: This MIT-incubated startup built a virtual healthcare system for COVID-19 patients
The biggest challenge around the novel coronavirus is that it is highly contagious, bringing hospitals and many healthcare professionals under great risk as well. Therefore, isolating affected individuals is critical to contain the further spread of the disease.
To enable this, several startups have been working closely with ICMR and the healthcare ministry. For example, Bengaluru-based RIoT Solutions has designed and built a mini ICU that can help doctors monitor patients remotely.
Similarly, Boston-headquartered DaytoDay Health found a way to build a virtual healthcare system for COVID-19 positive patients. Founded in 2018 by Prem Sharma, the MIT-incubated startup has operations in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Delhi.
The focus on acute care
DaytoDay Health helps people manage complex health issues like cancer or post-op care for open heart surgery. The startup helps patients manage their medicine schedule, record their progress data, and also tracks their progress and health updates.
Its clients include Fortis, Aster, and a few other smaller hospitals. The startup follows a B2B model and charges the hospital between three and six percent of the fee. Now, it is stepping into the pandemic-zone.
“We have learnt a lot from our experiences managing patients outside hospitals. We thought of bringing that learning to COVID-19 care. The idea is to do care management for any number of patients outside the hospital setting,” says Prem.
The focus of its COVID-19 care is on patients who are not critical and the ones who are suspected positive. Completely free of cost, the programme works on the DaytoDay app itself. It provides the patient with clinicians, physicians, nurse, and a virtual care team to provide them with the right guidance while in isolation.
How it helps
The medical details, records, and inputs will be registered on the app, and each patient is also provided with a care coach who can help with the registration and other tutorial details.
“They are given complete virtual guidance and even steps on how they need to take their vitals like BP,” says Prem.
He adds that the app will track the vital signs, medications that a person needs to take, temperature, BP, and heart rate.
“Patients will also need to answer questions that can help the healthcare professionals track their health with a ‘health check tool,’ on things like how they are feeling, what their body temperature is, etc. This will give data on understanding if the symptoms are under control,” says Prem.
The app has been designed to have live chats, calls, and consultations when needed. The startup is in talks with the Health Ministry and ICMR and is already working with a few hospitals in different parts of India.
“There is a need for early-stage containment. The healthcare systems need support in managing asymptomatic and non-critical coronavirus patients, and we are able to provide that support,” adds Prem.
He had started DaytoDay health as a research while at MIT. During his MBA, the focus of Prem’s master’s was on healthcare operations. MIT awarded the idea and it soon turned into a startup by 2018.
The right information
The app for COVID-19 focusses on those who do not need hospitalisation.
“Right now, most of the people under the ‘Red’ zones are just being isolated. And many positives come from the zone. There is support needed for a day-to-day basis. This also includes mental and psychological health. Apart from this many will also need guidance if they happen to have other pre-existing conditions apart from COVID-19,” says Rajiv Misra, Senior Vice President, Business Operations.
The app also provides information and dos and don’ts on what should be done, especially with something like this pandemic that keeps changing. “We focus even on immunity building,” explains Rajiv.
At present, several startups like RIoT solutions,, and , and working on helping with testing and care. Apollo Hospitals has also tied up with , Hotels and Homes, and others to provide isolation and virtual care.
Recently, Hyderabad-based Huwel Lifesciences received ICMR’s approval for their testing kit.