Interviews

Leveraging Technology to Track the Caregivers and Enforcing a Stringent Feedback System

Vipin-Pathak

Care24 is one of India’s first few venture backed start-ups in the home health care space. As such Care24 aims to provide the best of hospital based healthcare services to patients without having to move them from the comfort of their homes with the power of technology and best in class quality of healthcare professionals. 

To talk about all this and more, Ekta Srivastava, Health Technology in an interaction with Vipin Pathak, CEO & Co – founder, Care24

What is concept underlying Care24 and how does it work?

India is a country where the concept of joint families has been the norm. However, with people exploring better opportunities in metros and urban cities, the trend towards nuclear families is on the rise. This poses a major hurdle for senior parents – especially those who are not completely medically sound – who are often at a loss when faced with a health issue. Old age homes and senior living is still a relatively new model in India and is not looked upon too kindly. On the other hand, turning to untrained help at home may cause more harm than good. This brings to focus the lacuna that exists when it comes to providing quality healthcare at home, and it is this idea that led us into setting up Care24, to provide personalized healthcare at your doorstep. We are not just involved in connecting the customers to the right caregivers, but also specialize in providing reliable, transparent and secure service. The core idea is to leverage technology to track the caregivers and enforce a stringent feedback system. This ensures back to back integrated best quality healthcare for the patients and their family in the comfort of their home. Through our service, a patient can connect with the right caregiver, and seek assistance according to one’s needs.

What are the special key features of the healthcare technology start up?

Care24 is one of India’s first few organizations that put home-based patient care into the limelight. With a network of qualified nurses, attendants and physiotherapists, we ensure that the assistance we offer is nothing short of the kind provided by a loved one. We offer the following to our patients:

  • Complete Home Healthcare: Care24 offers hospital-like care at home with state of the art medical equipment, diagnostic tests and medicines. We also offer nutrition counselling to those who need to control their diets.
  • Progress Monitoring& Feedback: We ensure that the patients are under constant medical supervision through live monitoring and tracking of vitals. We also offer counselling from certified doctors, when needed.
  • Round the clock Service: Our caregivers are available 24 hours/ day, providing round the clock care. We also offer the convenience of mobile app based care, and always have a buffer medical team on standby.
  • Verified & Trained Caregivers: We choose our caregivers basis a stringent background verification procedure, followed by on-boarding and diligent training. We also conduct medical interviews and test their capabilities through assignments and competitive analysis.

What are the challenges faced by the organization?

We have been fortunate that our concept of healthcare at home has been received well by our patients and partners. However, one challenge that we face initially is establishing credibility and winning the trust of our patient and their immediate family. Patients act more sensitively and cautiously when it comes to their health and well-being, especially when it comes to having assistance in the privacy of their homes. However, we ensure that we run a background check on all our caregivers, and impart relevant training, so patients and their families can be assured that their health is our topmost priority.

How to solve the biggest challenges of Indian healthcare?

While healthcare in India is increasingly growing, the adoption of technology in its processes is still at a slow pace. More and more healthcare professionals need to understand that the fusion of science and technology is a mark of progress. Technology compliments science, reinforces theories, helps in treating medical conditions and even houses the data in which patient medical history is stored. Here are some challenges that health tech can address:

  • Make healthcare accessible: In a vastly populated country like India, there are billions who struggle because they do not get proper access to healthcare.Health tech can address a lot of issues plaguing instant access to healthcare whether it is helping to find the right doctor, getting better healthcare at home or streamlining reports in a user-friendly format.
  • Eliminate medical errors: Healthcare in India still functions manually for many processes, leading to potential errors. Patients can receive misdiagnoses, wrong prescription dosages or false information about their current health state, which can either harm patients or cause them additional medical problems. Health tech can help to reduce the frequency of medical errors and mistakes as doctors and physicians will no longer manually report and analyze diagnoses.
  • Retrieve medical records: A patient deals with many healthcare providers at different periods of time such as eye specialists, dentists, physicians and surgeons, each of whom require to see the patient’s medical history. Health informatics can help streamline the medical records retrieval process, allowing healthcare providers to access a patient’s medical history in real-time from any healthcare facility.

What are the challenges in careers of an Indian Doctor and what are its solutions?

The face of healthcare in India is definitely evolving with newer techniques and technology being implemented at every medical institution. Though India is known to be a hub of medical tourism, there are some underlying issues that plague medical practitioners in the country:

  • Doctor patient ratio: The doctor-patient ratio in India is skewed, especially when it comes to government doctors. A recent study in BMJ quoted ‘India has one government doctor for every 11,528 people and one nurse for every 483 people’. That is one government doctor for over 11,000 patients. This puts a lot of stress on the doctor, and may result in misdiagnoses at times.
  • Lack of proper training: While some doctors need to be trained in providing the right kind of healthcare in rural sectors, others would need to be familiar with the latest medical technology for the most complicated surgeries.Colleges must take the responsibility of familiarising students with all the different sides of medical studies.
  • Rural Urban divide: Few doctors practice in rural India because their earning power is limited and facilities of good school or medical expertise is poor.

Why a doctor should join Care24? How does it help them? What are its benefits?

At Care24, our ultimate goal is to seamlessly serve patients and families in need with focus on better outcomes for treatment and rehabilitation plans. We are constantly on the lookout for bright, passionate medical practitioners that are motivated and committed to this underlying cause. More and more doctors especially in our speciality care services such as, palliative care,onco-care, ortho-care, physiotherapy and cardiac care join us because of the three-pronged advantage we provide at Care24:

  • Opportunity to work at India’s fastest growing home healthcare company
  • Freedom to implement own style of work
  • Learning from an incredible team of industry and healthcare professionals

Moreover, all caregivers or even doctors who get empanelled who join us get certified, trained and verified after a stringent round of interviews, background checks and examinations.

How do you think that home based health services can minimize the doctor -patient ratio in India?

The total number of allopathic doctors & nurses in India lags the WHO benchmark of 2.5 doctors per 1000 population, at 2.2 per 1000 people. Despite the scarcity of medical personnel the problem of underutilization exists. With a high proportion of nurses inactive & registered medical practitioners not actively involved in the formal sector, the density of practising workforce falls to 1.9 per 1000 (McKinsey report). To address this issue, a well functioning and effective system is required to manage the large and diverse set of health service providers in India. Several public private partnerships have been successful; however, none of them has been scaled up to meet India’s health challenges. This is an opportunity for turning to homecare services that is supported by a large and growing population and the growth of chronic diseases, along with greater awareness and compliance. In addition, we are witnessing a growing tendency among patients to become self-reliant with regards to non-invasive and periodic monitoring for chronic disorders, which is what home healthcare is all about.

How do you think that technology has changed the face of Indian Healthcare?

Technology has entered almost every facet of our lives, and with the advent of smart devices, even healthcare is now more accessible than ever before. Rapidly transforming medical technology and the availability of technology diagnostic and therapeutic equipment together with changing practice pattern of doctors has revolutionized the way health care is being delivered today. Today, patient care experiences are top priority in the healthcare industry across the globe. According to a report by Frost and Sullivan, India’s healthcare information technology market is expected to hit $1.45 billion in 2018, which is more than three times the $381.3 million reached in 2012. One sees an increase in the adoption of digital tools and practices such as telemedicine, hospital information systems (HIS), electronic health records, mHealth, and web-based services. This has resulted in an expansion of digital patient data, increasing the demand for a robust IT infrastructure in Indian healthcare organisations.  One of the key pillars of health transformation is being able to refine access to the best healthcare for a larger segment of the population, in a cost-effective and compelling method that connects clinics in the cities as well as rural regions. Therefore, as healthcare & technology converge, the ultimate winner is the patient, who will now have instant equitable access to the best clinical expertise.

 

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