Despite being a medical condition which affects 60 million people in India, Vertigo remains highly undiagnosed. Rajneesh Bhandari, Founder, NeuroEquilibrium Diagnostic Systems, shares his vision to address the needs of vertigo patients through his chain of specialised clinics, in an interaction with Mansha Gagneja
Why did you choose to enter into such a niche area of healthcare? Tell us about the prevalence of vertigo in India?
Vertigo is a condition when one experiences a sense of spinning or swaying. Often accompanied by nausea, sweating, or a problem with walking, it affects five per cent of the population in any given year, which adds up to 60 million people in India. In most cases, patients are not aware that a disorder of the inner ear also causes vertigo and dizziness. Owing to low awareness and lack of proper diagnosis, a majority of the patients are treated symptomatically without identifying the underlining cause. A large part of the population in the country is in the need for correct diagnosis and treatment. Lack of awareness and dire need of correct diagnosis and treatment drives us to step into this area.
Do you think there are enough providers to treat vertigo in the country?
There are very few specialised vertigo and balance disorder clinics in India. Other Indian companies do not have access to diagnostic equipment, thereby relying on imported equipment that are comparatively expensive. There are a few centres across the world which use virtual reality for targeted vestibular rehabilitation therapy, however, there are none in our country. A vestibular evaluation requires a multi-disciplinary approach, involving diagnosis by a panel of ENT, neurologist and psychiatrist.
How has the diagnosis and treatment of vertigo evolved over the years?
Vertigo can be treated if the underlining cause is diagnosed. There have been tremendous scientific strides in the field of evaluation and treatment of vertigo in the last five to 10 years. It is now possible to diagnose the precise cause and thus provide specific treatment. Diagnosis of the underlining cause of vertigo requires a battery of tests. Currently, most diagnostic equipment being used, are not manufactured in India, hence very expensive. NeuroEquilibrium has developed Vertigo diagnostic equipment like Video Nystagmography, Subjective Visual Vertical, Craniocorpography and Dynamic Visual Acuity indigenously and has applied for three patents. The diagnosis is very cost effective and the vestibular testing with a battery of other vital tests costs less than a MRI. The vestibular rehabilitation has to be customised based on the diagnosis of the underlining disorder. We provide targeted rehabilitation therapy including the use of virtual reality.
How have you contributed towards enhancing vertigo treatment?
We provide patients with comprehensive vertigo and balance evaluation, customised reporting, one click patient data retrieval, rehabilitation module and patient monitoring module, making it the world’s first robust diagnostic system that helps doctors to diagnose and treat vertigo cases easily. It is a comprehensive diagnostic system, which integrates various diagnostic tests on one platform and sends the diagnostic reports to a cloud server, which helps in providing proper diagnosis and treatment to vertigo patients.
We have been working towards the development of diagnostic equipment and related technologies for more than two years and launched the products in April this year. Our diagnostic equipment has been developed in line with the ‘Make in India’ campaign and we have already applied for three patents. We have already set up speciality vertigo and balance disorder clinics in Jaipur, Kolkata and Pune in collaboration with leading ENT camp and neurology clinics.
What is your business strategy to tap your target audience? How are you planning to partner with ENT specialists?
We are looking forward to partner with leading ENT clinics, neurology clinics and hospitals to provide multi-disciplinary diagnostic services within these clinics. By setting up specialised vertigo camp and balance disorder clinics in the premises of leading ENT clinics as a clinic-in-clinic, we can provide vertigo diagnostic services to patients at the doorstep of these clinics.
How many rounds of funding have you received so far? How do you plan to utilise these funds?
Presently, the company is bootstrapped and the promoters have made the investments. We plan to raise $2 million in the next three to four months. The funds will be utilised to set up 125 specialised vertigo camp and balance disorder clinics and virtual reality-based targeted rehabilitation to treat a million patients by 2021.