COVID-19 revealed the glaring inequality in healthcare services across India. While people in metropolitan cities and urban centres headed to multi-speciality hospitals, their rural counterparts, who comprise a whopping 65% of India’s population, struggled to access quality healthcare.
Witness to the gap and the growing demand for doorstep healthcare services, Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Shobhan Mahapatra, and Sanjay Swain decided to launch healthtech startup CureBay to focus on medically underserved areas.
Bhubaneswar-based, founded in 2021, enables the last-mile distribution of primary healthcare services by leveraging technology and a network of e-clinics that make quality healthcare accessible to people in small towns and villages.
The healthcare startup uses a hybrid model to provide teleconsultations, deliver medicines, schedule appointments, address diagnostic needs of patients, and facilitate admission for tertiary care at partner hospitals via a transparent booking model and concierge services.
How does it work?
CureBay serves as the bridge between patients in rural areas and highly-qualified doctors by arranging on-the-spot video calls and then providing follow-up calls to action such as pathology tests and medicine availability in remote locations.
It has a three-tier model: a hub-and-spoke network supported by satellite healthcare centres. The hub-and-spoke network is a centrally managed system that uses artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), and investment from a network of angel investors to maintain cost and efficiency while providing high-quality services at low costs.
The satellite healthcare centres are located in remote areas to create reach and accessibility in rural regions. This “dignity of care” model is based on revenue sharing with all service providers.
The startup has built a robust fulfilment model that helps connect patients in underserved markets to healthcare providers through a full-tech stack.
“Along with access to medical experts, we have two trained healthcare professionals in every e-clinic who guide patients to meet the right doctor via video consults. Every centre has medical-grade devices to provide proper diagnosis to every walk-in patient under supervision of trained professionals,” Priyadarshi says.
These professionals also help people to get prescribed medicines with help of their “riders”. Currently, it has a team of 40 people.
CureBay also has trained staff to collect samples from patients’ doorsteps for diagnostic tests.
Bridging the healthcare gap
The startup uses technology to help doctors access detailed and personalised patient records, which helps them deliver a diagnosis, equivalent to a physical consultation. It uses telehealth services, Internet of Things (IoT) adaptive technological solutions, and medical-grade devices such as an HD ultraportable device with a diagnosis camera.
Post diagnosis, patients get access to a network of certified partner labs and hospitals for specialised treatment, along with the option to get prescribed medicines delivered to them directly through the e-clinics.
The idea is to reduce the gap between hospitals and patients living in rural areas and Tier II, Tier III cities and beyond.
CureBay is operating 17 e-clinics across different districts in Odisha and is planning to add seven to eight e-clinics every month. It aims to have 100 more clinics in the next 12 months.
“Our services offer the last piece in the healthcare supply chain to remote locations. The physical centres allow people to save on travel costs and get immediate relief and treatment while the distribution centres also solve the issue of access to medicines in faraway locations,” Priyadarshi says.
CureBay charges Rs 100 as consultation fee per patient.
It has seen over 10,000 plus patients on its platform, with an average spend per patient of more than Rs 600. Currently, over 50 doctors are active on the platform
The service providers work on a revenue sharing model.
The startup has partnered with 15 hospitals in Odisha, including Moon Hospital, Panda Nursing Home, Maa Shakti Hospital, Sunflower Nursing Home, M.M. Medicare, Care Hospitals, Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, Sparsh Hospitals, Apollo Hospital, Bhubaneswar, Utkal Hospital, Ramamani Multi Speciality Hospital, NephroPlus, Maa Tarini Nursing Home, Sushruta Hospital and Trauma Care, and Berhampur Cardiac Centre.
It also has partnered with three national laboratory chains such as Metropolis, Onquest, and GenX.
“We are helping hospitals provide high-end care to remote patients. This is made possible because of the detailed patient records that our trained staff collect at the e-clinics. It improves the life expectancy of people in these remote districts and, in turn, strengthens the credibility of the hospitals too,” Priyadarshi says.
The founders raised about $1.5 million from angels to kickstart the startup. In November 2022, CureBay raised $6.1 million in a Series A round from Elevar Equity.
According to Grand View Research, the Indian healthcare market was valued at $7.4 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.27% from 2022 to 2030.
The startup says there is no direct competition, but it indirectly competes with DigiQure eClinic, Ayu.Health, Clinikk (an urban model), Medyseva Kendra, and Jiyyo Health.
CureBay has launched a membership programme, which will allow users to reduce their expenses and make healthcare services more accessible to disadvantaged sections. To enroll, users have to pay less than Rs 50 per month or an annual subscription of Rs 599.
“We are planning to expand to other cities and states facing similar challenges in providing primary health care services in rural areas,” Priyadarshi says.
Edited by Teja Lele