Home healthcare startup MedRabbits, offers its services within the customers’home which can be booked either through the mobile app, Business WhatsApp or by calling the customer-care team, informs Amol Deshmukh, Founder, MedRabbits, to Akanki Sharma in an exclusive interaction
When and what prompted you to come up with MedRabbits, and why this name?
MedRabbits was founded in 2019. It was born out of an unsatisfying personal experience in receiving convenient and cost-effective care at home when my father was hospitalised.
The company has always taken a tech-first approach to iron out inefficiencies. However, at the same time, it maintains a good blend of physical care and attention alongside technology.
Moreover, what’s in a name? “Med” is short for Medical. “A rabbit is a tame and tender animal which moves with speed and agility” – what we believe are the essential qualities of a home healthcare startup. Hence, the name MedRabbits.
How does it function, and since its inception till the coronavirus hit India, what all had it achieved?
MedRabbits works as an integrated healthcare services platform making booking and reporting of healthcare services convenient. At the core of the technology is the human service factor. The message drilled to the team every single day is ‘Service, Service, Service. We compare ourselves to a hospitality industry within the healthcare segment. All our healthcare offerings are delivered within the customer’s home and can be booked either through the Mobile App, Business WhatsApp or by calling the customer-care team. All the reports are integrated in a single ‘Reports’ section under the app. We also realise that elderly people may not be comfortable enough using the app. So, we have a feature that allows the son, daughter or a relative to book a service for them.
The company was launched about five months before the pandemic hit and during this time, we set up vendor partnerships, onboarded nurses, doctors, attendants, physios, and also set up a partnership with Chellaram Diabetes and Multispeciality centre in Pune. We supply the hospital with nurses and caretakers on a pay-per-use model.
What was your focus during the pre-COVID era and how has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted or changed your way of functioning?
During the pre-COVID era, the company was building partner networks and mobile technology. The app, which was under development, was launched on Play Store shortly after the first wave hit. The company was able to tweak the app to also include doctor video consultations and RT-PCR test bookings.
Post the pandemic, the company also offered home quarantine packages which consist of various services like doctor consultation, physio and nurse consultation, remote monitoring device subscriptions, etc. So far, we have served over 1,000 appointments. We also launched the iOS version recently and continue to build and iterate the functions and interface for a great customer experience.
Do you perform COVID-19 tests too by collecting samples from peoples’ homes? If yes, are both RTPCR as well as the rapid-antigen test (RAT) being facilitated, and what are the charges for these?
Yes, we received a number of requests during the first wave to set up home RT-PCR test collections. We used this feedback from our customers to partner with RT-PCR labs for home collection and getting the reports delivered within 24 hours. For this, we have partnered with seven labs at the moment – SRL Diagnostics, Thyrocare, iGenetics, Sequence Research labs, BGL, Mediclu and GD Diagnostics. The rates keep varying as per the state, and are in conformity with the Government of India’s guidelines. The present rates for home collection are Rs 800 and Rs 300 for RT-PCR and RAT tests respectively, in Maharashtra.
In which areas/cities/states have you been offering your services? How many people have been benefited to date? Share your answer with regards to COVID-19 too.
The company is currently operational in Mumbai and Pune. We have served more than 1,000 customers and have clocked over 3,500 appointments.
Specifically, in relation to COVID-19, the company has clocked over 2,000 appointments.
As we are in the middle of a pandemic, what’s your take on elderly care and palliative care?
One positive note amongst all the negativity around us is that elderly citizens are receiving importance in terms of care facilities at home. The highlight of India’s growth story has predominantly surrounded the young population, but we must not forget that there is an equally booming ‘silver economy’ that demands and deserves good healthcare facilities. Palliative care is specialised and requires highly-trained healthcare professionals who can empathise with the patient in the final stages of their life.
Tell us about your expansion plans.
Upon feedback from our existing customers and after a data-driven market assessment, the company will be shortly expanding its services to Delhi by June 2021, and Bengaluru and Ahmedabad in the coming months. We will continue to take feedback from our customers in terms of expansion to other cities gradually. The company is entirely self-funded at present but we are always on the lookout for investors who can add strategic value to the growth of the company.