Gurugram startup Virohan is fighting COVID-19 by training healthcare workers
The lack of trained healthcare professionals in India was evident amid the COVID-19 breakout. According to a report by BMJ Open, an online journal, the skilled health workforce in India does not meet the WHO recommendation threshold of 22.8 skilled workers per 10,000 population.
The pandemic outbreak saw the healthcare sector crumble in several instances due to the lack of infrastructure and shortage of skilled manpower. However, the crisis also enabled innovators to come together and think of solutions to bridge the gaps in the space.
Gurugram-based health education startup Virohan also stepped up its game to help India fight the COVID-19 crisis. The startup was founded in 2018 by Kunaal Dudeja, Nalin Saluja, and Archit Jayaswal, with an aim to provide trained allied healthcare practitioners (AHPs) such as OT technicians, medical lab technicians, and X-ray technicians, among others.
In April, the startup launched a curriculum to train qualified healthcare professionals to manage COVID-19 patients.
“We developed COVID-19 training content in the form of easy to understand videos – in vernacular language – along with short quizzes. The content has been updated with the latest information from WHO and MHFW,” Kunaal tells YourStory.
Virohan’s COVID-19 efforts
Kunaal says that Virohan’s COVID-19 training programmes are conducted online and have to date trained over 1,500 students.
According to the company, the course content is designed on the basis of government-provided information on the diseases. This not only helps the workers to better serve the patients, but also enables them to provide clear information and instruction to the patients.
Kunaal says that in the initial days of the launch, Virohan team members lived in their office to ensure the training was provided in a timely manner. Virohan also conducts online doubt sessions to help students clarify their queries regarding supporting coronavirus patients.
“We have currently assimilated content into current curriculums of Virohan training so that the next generation of healthcare workers benefit from this information. We are now scaling up to meet the rising need for healthcare workers for roles catering to COVID-19 vaccination and ensuring safety protocols in public spaces,” Kunal adds.
The co-founders, who have been friends for over a decade, launched Virohan after realising the need to upskill the Indian healthcare workforce. The startup is also aimed towards ensuring a progressive livelihood for the youth of the country and it offers a proprietary job aggregation and prediction solution.
“At that time, we saw the aggregators' business rise and thought that if Uber could do it with taxis then we can replicate the Uber model for professional training in healthcare, which is a critical need for India,” Kunaal says.
The co-founder explains that Virohan is trying to replicate the uber model, i.e., it is looking to aggregate and provide skilled healthcare workers. It first identifies and predicts the kind of paramedics or healthcare workers that are most needed in certain areas and then offers personalised training accordingly to the students and hospital partners in that location.
Virohan’s tech solutions include myAdmissions app for real-time lead generation for mobilising students across training centres. Its mySales app is used for ensuring sales workflow automation across training centres while myClassroom and myCareer apps are used for delivering training content to the students.
“Students are given digital certificates upon successful completion of their training. Feedback studies have stated that over 93 percent of employers who hired our students felt that the content they were trained on was completely in line with on the job needs,” Kunaal claims.
Virohan has already received approval from the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) for complete online training programmes for on-the-job professionals to be upskilled and certified.
At present, the startup offers NSDC certified courses on operation theatre technician, medical lab technician, radiology technician, hospital administration, and emergency medical technician, among many others.
Business strategies and plans
According to the CEO, the startup makes revenue through student fees and industry partnerships.
The startup claims to have taught a total of 5,000 students till date. It has OEM partnership with GE Healthcare and has over 650 hospital partners including Fortis Escorts, BLK Hospital, SRL Labs, Metro Hospital, Park Hospitals to identify and provide specific training needs for paramedics.
Apart from online training, the startup also has seven offline centres in Faridabad, Nagpur, Meerut, Pune, Raipur, Kalkaji, and Yamuna Vihar across Delhi NCR.
“The training is aimed at freshers aspiring to work in healthcare and a good fit to become paramedics. They are placed into hospitals for an internship and then final placements,” Kunaal adds.
In August 2020, the startup raised $2.8 million across Seed and Series A funding rounds. While the Seed round was led by Keiretsu Forum, the Series A round was led by the Elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalisation, and by the Singh Family Trusts, with participation from founders and National Skill Development Corporation. The funds are being deployed for expanding new virtual technologies in the vocational training segment.
Virohan competes with large players in the healthcare vocational training such as Vivo Healthcare, Apollo Medskills, and Max Institute of Health Education and Research.
Speaking about future plans, Kunaal says the startup now aims to achieve 15-20X growth in students enrolled.
“We plan to expand our tech stack to include Gamification (AR and VR), machine learning, AI doubt resolution, and expand the number of local languages we currently offer,” he adds.
Edited by Megha Reddy