How MedTel Healthcare is enabling remote monitoring of patients amidst COVID-19
Lack of access to proper healthcare, infrastructure problems, and shortage of medical practitioners have always been a point of concern in India. According to The Economic Survey 2019-20, the doctor-population ratio in the country is 1:1456 against WHO’s recommendation of 1:1000.
India’s health infrastructure further crumbled amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with numerous complaints related to shortage of lack of beds, space, and doctors to tend to patients.
However, accelerated digitisation has disrupted the healthcare segment amidst the pandemic and the country is seeing more number of people using smart health devices and opting for online consultations.
Bhuvneshwar and Bengaluru-basedHealthcare was launched in 2017 by a team of doctors and engineers to ensure healthcare access in rural areas.
The founding team includes Dr Lalit Manik, Dr Timiresh Das, Dr Soumyakant Das, Ajit Choudhury, and Siba Prasad Panda.
Speaking to YourStory, Dr Lalit and Dr Soumyakant explain that the startup was launched as a telemedicine startup and eventually expanded to provide remote patient monitoring services in 2019.
The team started up after Dr Lalit saw how people lost lives, especially in rural areas, due to lack of proper healthcare. The startup recently joined hands with Apex Group of Hospitals in Mumbai and has been helping in remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients.
A digitally connected care ecosystem
Dr Saumyakant says the startup developed a connected care and remote patient monitoring (RPM) application, which provides two main solutions: kits, including connected IoMT devices such as digital blood pressure machine, body composition analyser, glucometer, pulse oximeter, portable ECG, and others, and an integrated SaaS web platform and mobile app to monitor the readings.
“The machines can be used by patients at home and the system has in-built capability to alert doctors and patients in case of abnormal readings. During such instances, the patients can immediately consult the doctor online or over telephone.
“We also have large-sized kits, including medical instruments, for hospitals. Such kits can be used by doctors at health camps or for patient home visits, if needed,” he adds.
Dr Saumyakant explains that the product aims to monitor patients suffering from conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity among others to ensure timely interventions.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform has evolved - the StopCov solution has been launched to monitor coronavirus symptoms.
“The solution is at present being used by APEX hospitals to monitor patients, from the COVID ward and those at home. Some other hospitals are also using it,” he adds.
The application claims to securely store patient data in the cloud and shares it with doctors to help them treat patients.
“Patients suffering from diabetes or blood pressure are at an increased risk for COVID-19 infection. The application allows the doctors to monitor the patient’s health and treat them accordingly,” Dr Saumyakant says.
Business and more
Co-founder and CEO Dr Lalit says MedTel has also joined hands with the West Bengal government for deploying machines at hospitals and healthcare institutes where ground-level workers can go door to door in rural areas for monitoring their health.
The startup claims to have around 20 clients, including hospitals, clinics, corporates, individual doctors etc. Apart from APEX hospitals, it also counts Apollo Hospitals and Fortis Healthcare as clients.
“MedTel operates on the B2B2C model where the machines and the platform are made available to end patients via hospitals, clinics, corporates etc,” the founders explain.
They explain that the company charges the hospitals for the kit, including machines, while patients using it need to pay a subscription amount. Hospitals can purchase smaller kits for Rs 7,000-8,000 while a user needs to pay a subscription fee of Rs 150 per month. Larger kits can cost up to Rs 1.4 lakh and subscription fees can go up to Rs 4,000.
Dr Saumyakant adds that the integrated machines are not manufactured by the startup but are sourced from tested manufacturers in India, China, Taiwan, and Singapore among others.
The pandemic has led several innovators to come up with solutions for patient monitoring. Singapore and Mumbai-based Zealth.ai’s core product CareShare uses AI and machine learning algorithms to help hospitals remotely monitor and analyse patient symptoms and vitals.
In 2018, MedTel raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Innovative Ventures and Technologies for Development (INVENT) programme —organised by India’s Technology Development Board (TDB) and Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom— and BPCL startup fund.
“MedTel recorded a year-on-year revenue growth of 200 percent and is now in talks with institutional VCs to raise $2 million funding for product improvement, inventory, and marketing,” the founders say.
In the future, MedTel is looking to launch monitoring solutions for pregnancy, oncology care, and mental health management.
Edited by Teja Lele