Sixty-five-year-old Rajiv Mathur had one problem – the state of healthcare facilities available around him. Especially, home healthcare facilities.
Rajiv felt that while the number of home healthcare startups had grown in recent years, a service issue existed – the number of qualified, professional and competent staff in the healthcare ecosystem remained limited. In that sense, the home care industry remained unorganised and fragmented.
His personal experiences had showed him that getting reliable home healthcare was tough, which is what led to his “aha” moment. This led to the launch of Delhi-based Critical Care Unified (CCU) in 2016.
The idea was to invest in developing and managing the supply and value chain of medical expertise and resources as suited to delivery of critical care at home. The motive was to provide superior services in home healthcare, doing away with the need for extended stay at hospitals, while providing adequate care at lower costs.
Finding the focus area
CCU had decided to first start a home healthcare startup, but the decision to focus on critical care came about during primary research.
Speaking about how they came to the critical care decision, Rajiv says, “We heard the first words of a patient coming out of coma, a highly educated woman, who had stayed for 22 days in an ICU and was unable to speak. She said, ‘Take me home’.”
Further primary research in hospitals and with doctors “brought to the fore numerous cases and situations where critical conditions could be treated at home if a coordinated and comprehensive approach was adopted,” he says.
The team realised that once critical care and treatment was completed at a hospital, there was a need for the patient to recuperate at home.
That is what CCU works towards: helping patients recuperate.
The platform helps patients transition from hospital to home with ease, following protocols specific to the illness or condition. CCU sets up monitoring and support equipment along with providing medical practitioners, nursing help and medical attendants.
CCU also closely coordinates with doctors at the hospital, family doctors and follows the administration of drugs specified the treatment.
Providing exemplary service at home
Rajiv says he realised there were several players in the home healthcare segment that were more focused on opening operations in multiple cities. This, he felt, could adversely affect the operational effectiveness and quality of service.
CCU aims to make a radical impact by providing exemplary service at home, obviating the need for long term stays in hospitals that carry associated challenges of cost, risk of infections and inconvenience overall.
“We focus on bringing together all the elements that are needed for critical care at home. These include the right kind of medical equipment, technology and medical expertise,” Rajiv says.
Apart from Rajiv, Ambrish Mishra, who has significant experience in the healthcare industry, is the Co-founder. The core team comprises Swati Naithani, who has experience in HR, training and development, and Pramod Tyagi, with experience in nurse training and operations with home healthcare companies.
CCU provides either different services or special packages. Customers pay for these services either on a period basis or for implementation of the package. For example, CCU has a unique Advanced Cancer Management Package, which is an amalgam of equipment, medical expertise and medical consumables.
The platform runs a Rapid Response System (RRS), complete with processes for migration from the hospital to home along with standardised protocols for management at home.
Customers pay for these packages in advance or on a periodical basis for long-term services, which involve treatment of chronic diseases.
Numbers and the market
The team claims they are operationally profitable and growing revenue at 20 to 25 percent month-on-month. Started in December 2016, the team claims that their revenue will be at Rs 8 crore by FY18.
A number of healthcare providers and hospitals across the country such as India Home Healthcare, Health Care at Home, Nightingales, Apollo, and Max are entering the home healthcare sector.
Portea claims to have clocked two million patient visits across the country since its inception and served over 1,20,000 patient visits (an increase of 133 percent from 46,330 total patients over the last 12 months).
An increase in the number of visits per month from 60,000 in July 2015 to over 1,00,000 in June 2016 indicates a rising demand for quality home healthcare. Portea also raised Series C funding of $26 million last month.
The CCU team aims to look at deeper penetration in the Delhi/NCR, and expansion via self-contained Business Units. CCU is looking for further expansion into selective cities within the catchment area. They are also looking at significant scaling up of the technology platform, along with integration with medical electronics.
“We also want to expand the current customer base from 300 to 3,000 within the next 12 months,” Rajiv says.