This women entrepreneur’s startup offers tech-enabled solutions for complete health and wellbeing
Dr Garima Singh founded Health Assist in 2021, a startup which follows a hybrid model to provide a complete ecosystem to take care of non-urgent and urgent medical needs of patients.
Thursday March 24, 2022,
5 min Read
Having spent more than two decades in corporate healthcare delivery, Dr Garima Singh felt that access to timely and quality healthcare coupled with affordability was a big gap.
Garima explains, “Motivations in healthcare were to enhance admissions and procedures rather than attacking the root cause. All this has led Indians to have one of the highest out of pocket health expenses. It’s cheaper and impactful to lead a healthier lifestyle and to be aware of steps to prevent diseases and seek early diagnosis and treatment to delay onset and progression of a disease.”
According to her, currently, healthcare is “sick care”; taking care of the sick in hospitals and vulnerable segments of society like the elderly, women, children, and people in urban slums and rural populations face inequitable care.
Garima quit her high-profile job as Senior VP Strategy at Max Healthcare to startin 2021 to help fill the gap between proactive healthcare and the need to be hospitalised. She was previously the CEO of Saket City Hospital.
Adding value through healthtech
Garima and her co-founder Bhavna Sharma were colleagues in 2003, and started working as business partners three years ago.
They began by working with government agencies and corporate organisations for COVID-19 support as consultants, providing technology with timely clinical interventions, helping save lives and decreasing hospitalisation by almost 40 percent. In the process, they understood that technology plays a vital role in patient engagement in any data driven solutions.
Garima also founded Axia Health Services (AHS) in 2019 to add value to the healthcare providers including hospitals, clinics, physicians, and paramedics. It provides the healthcare sector with industry relevant solutions for creating and providing empowered, skilled, relevant healthcare professionals.
The third co-founder Sundeep Sharma was already running an IT company when Garima’s and Bhavana ideas started evolving towards solutions that could improve access to affordable care. While discussing this over a casual meeting on COVID-19 scenarios, it all started coming together in a very meaningful way and Health Assist was formed.
Health Assist follows a hybrid model that provides a complete ecosystem to take care of non-urgent and urgent medical needs (general physician, specialist consultations, lab investigations, pharmacy, home care assistants, admission assistance). This ensures that patients can meet their doctors in person and online.
Multiple in-person and online benefits
Garima points out that every individual’s medical details (medical passport) are available on their phone and can be sent via WhatsApp to any doctor/ friend and family anywhere in the world. This reduces errors in communication and helps maintain multiple records.
Once a person registers on the Health Assist app, he can avail of the following benefits:
Health profile for each patient
– Getting to know our patients before they require intervention
– Flagging areas of concern
– Supporting them with embracing health-promoting behaviour before disease manifests
Timely and effective delivery of primary care
– Dedicated General Physician (GP) for each end-user
– GP already familiar with user’s health status and history
– End-user and GP have already had minimum of one interaction
Specialists recruited only when required
– GP routes patient to specialist after completing all preliminary investigation
– GP hands-over to specialist flagging any pre-identified points of concern
– GP ensures follow-up of specialist advice, offers support in implementing long-term intervention
Coordinated care when multiple specialists needed
– GP acts as coach/referee and liaison to ensure there are no conflicts and no gaps in proposed treatment plans
– Delivers integrated prescription to patient
Follow up ensured
– GP checks that treatment plans are being followed
– If not, troubleshoots with the patient and comes up with an individualized solution
Urgent appointments offered with the Axia GP
Core care team
– Support team of nutritionist, physiotherapist, and psychologist available for each end-user
– Each prescription is run by core care team for inputs
Delhi-NCR was initially chosen as the place to start as the founders are based in the region and have personal associations to facilitate the new venture.
Health Assist works on a subscription-based value service, the revenue streams are clinical consulting, home care, pharmacy, and diagnostics.
It is a bootstrapped company started with a corpus of Rs 4.5 crore. It is aiming to close the year with a Rs 2 crore turnover and one million downloads. So far, it has served 6,000 corporate employees and around 500 B2C customers through its hybrid module during the pandemic.
Of competition, Garima says, “As per market intelligence, there is no consolidated player offering all these services on one platform. There are organisation/clinics offering the services in isolation/ which are largely driven by reactive healthcare and are purely working on the assembly line health care ecosystem existing in our country,” she says.
“We have three key differentiators — adopting a community, giving personalised GP guidance during the patient journey, and introducing a community sickbay as a a hybrid option. Our vision is to get the customer mindset into health assurance (proactive) rather than health insurance (reactive),” she adds.
The founders have an ambitious plan — covering all metro cities in six months and going global by early 2023.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta