Coronavirus: This Hyderabad startup provides end-to-end transport for COVID-19 patients to hospitals
In these trying times, urgency is a key element to get things done. While everyone, including doctors and medical staff, are ensuring the treatment of COVID-19 patients, it is equally important to get the patients to the hospitals on time.
Hyderabad-based startup StanPlus aims to make sure of the same. Founded in 2016 by INSEAD graduates from France Antoine Poirson, Jose Leon, and Prabhdeep Singh, StanPlus is an emergency healthcare services startup that provides end-to-end medical response solutions — ambulance services for both emergency and non-emergency and after-life support sectors.
It handles the entire ambulance system - from operations, technology, to people.
The startup aggregates hospital ambulances, private operators, government-run services, and its own ALS (Advanced Life Support) ambulances. It has partnered with over 25 hospitals in cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kochi for medical responses, resulting in all the emergency calls from hospitals being answered by StanPlus.
“We are consistently faster. We pick the calls in less than six seconds. We get the ambulances off the road in under four minutes. We reach 84 percent of the patients in under 15 minutes as compared to the 45 minutes standard time,” says Prabhdeep Singh, one of the co-founders.
To date, the startup claims to have managed emergency responses for 10,000 patients across these cities, and further plans to expand its operations to support more than 50,000 people in the next six months.
The Indian ambulance market is fragmented. Fleet owners often find it difficult to upgrade their vehicles because of the constant demand, thus, providing no downtime for maintenance of vehicles or equipment. Besides this, the Indian ambulance services fall short of several international standards.
The Hyderabad-based startup aims to organise this market by standardising the hospital travel fare, patient care, and equipment. Prabhadeep claims that the startup’s services enable hospitals to reduce their response time and ambulance redundancies.
Currently, StanPlus has a fleet of over 350 ambulances, which are equipped with advanced life support systems, basic life support systems, cardiac machines, and other patient care systems. It assures that it has trained paramedics and staff on-board the vehicle for assistance.
StanPlus uses technology, as well as a reliable call centre to make efficient routing decisions using geospatial data, which is also employed to analyse routing and traffic data for station ambulances at calculated intervals. With the help of this technology, the ambulances attempt to reach every emergency case in each city it serves within 20 minutes of the call.
In the times of the coronavirus pandemic, Prabhdeep believes that StanPlus plays a critical part in the COVID-19 response system.
“In many cases, the patient has to be shown at the private hospital first. Then they will have to be shifted to a government hospital if there is a confirmation of COVID-19 in the patients. We have thus, created protocols internally on how we are going to manage the transfer. All our ambulances and drivers are sanitised and safe.”
Each day, the vans are sanitised and are further fumigated every week and stocked with all life-saving devices. However, it is done more frequently now due to the pandemic. All its drivers and paramedics are also trained and periodically checked.
In March 2020, the team has transported about 2,500 patients. The team ensures that all its hardware (ambulances and equipment), software (to enable communications across the system), and people are protected at all times.
A few weeks back, StanPlus raised $1.5 million in Pre-Series A funding round led by Pegasus Fininvest. The round also saw participation from Hyderabad Angels, along with the company’s existing investors. The funding was facilitated by BayTree, an online marketplace for impact funding.
The startup had raised initial funding of $15,000 which it secured by winning the INSEAD Venture Competition. And in October 2019, it raised $1.1 million in a round led by KStart under Kalaari Capital.
The platform, however, plans to use this funding to expand its operations across India, and cover all medical response categories. It claims that with StanPlus, a hospital’s response time goes down by almost 70 percent to nine minutes using geospatial technology. Each of the drivers and the staff in the ambulances are trained and monitored for this.
Though the startup has refused to disclose its revenue numbers, it claims to be growing at 100 percent.
Its services also led to a 3X increase in the emergency (ER) walk-ins. Besides this, the startup claims that it helps in reducing existing ambulance redundancies, decreasing cost by 99 percent.
(Edited by Suman Singh)