Leveraging AI to provide better healthcare services
MyDiagnostics plans to expand, provide services round the clock
MyDiagnostics, Bengaluru-based healthcare startup, is leveraging artificial intelligence to map out preventive healthcare services for people. The company, which provides diagnostics services at doorstep at this critical time of Covid pandemic, plans to be breakeven soon. In a conversation with the BizzBuzz, Vikas Gupta, Co-founder and Programme Director of MyDiagnostics said that the company is planning to use the micro-sampling technology to reach out to people in the smaller towns of the country. The startup is also looking at raising funds in the current financial year to invest in its expansion plans
We are making sure that our kits are well-protected. We are starting our services around 6 AM every day and work for 13-14 hours so that the reports are available to our customers at their homes. At the same time, we are also pushing labs to prioritise the cases involving senior citizens
Our plan is to reach 100 cities in India, and we are also working on certain new technology like micro-sampling. Through this technology, we can reach out to tier-II and tier-III, IV cities using the courier service. In another two-three years, we will be able to use that technology
The second wave of the Covid pandemic is creating a lot of pressure on diagnostic services across the country. How is the situation at MyDiagnostics?
Most of the labs are under a lot of pressure. The reports are getting delayed and people are waiting in queue. That is the reason that people are getting very anxious and restless. Many people are looking for home services. Senior citizens are also advised not to come to the diagnostics centre because there is a risk of exposure there.
From our perspective, we are making sure that our kits are well-protected. We are starting our services around 6 AM every day and work for 13-14 hours so that reports are available to our customers at their homes. At the same time, we are also pushing labs to prioritise the cases involving senior citizens.
How many samples are you collecting these days?
In Bengaluru, we are doing around 108 (number of samples). We want to expand it. But it is very difficult to find technicians at this point of time. Our target is to expand it and provide services round the clock.
Due to the pandemic, has the regular services in relation to preventive healthcare been hampered?
It has not been hampered. People who are taking up regular tests, they understand that it is important to continue. While the Covid-related tests are going on, people are also taking up our differentiated services. Broadly, I have not seen much drop in the regular tests. Rather, those people are ordering for tests at home.
The challenge is that we have a limited team. We have a hybrid team. We have our own staffers and we also use the third-party services.
What is the motivation behind starting out MyDiagnostics?
There are regular labs where the process predominantly depends on 'walk-in' services. So, the gap we saw was how could we enable providing these services at home? We believe that home is going to be the place for homecare services. We want to cut out the unnecessary travel. Through digital platforms, we want to enable people to book a test.
Also, we think the true motivation behind diagnostics is prevention. We focus on immunity boosting products that are available on the markets. We want to build a true preventive care ecosystem. We believe that preventive healthcare is going to be important for people.
Do you have your own labs or you only partner with the labs?
We don't own any lab. We collect the samples from people and get these tested in our partner labs, which are certified. The turnaround time is very important. Usually, the report comes up the same day or the next day depending on the test. Apart from that, we have added a range of services with relation to immunity space.
My Diagnostics partners with corporate clients to provide preventive healthcare services. Has that segment of business suffered due to the pandemic as offices are closed and people are working from home now?
While there is demand, it is becoming difficult to deliver that kind of services now. However, we are talking to some corporate houses and we are finalising some locations for providing those services. Of course, this is a challenge, but we are going to make investments to create capacity in this aspect.
Are you mulling to raise funds to make the investment in new areas?
The timing seems opportune as many start-ups are raising good money from fund houses. We have raised some funds earlier. We are looking at raising funds this financial year. The market also has good liquidity now. We want to raise money at the right time so that the expansion and capacity building are done correctly.
Are you going to expand during this pandemic period or will wait for more time till the pandemic recedes?
We are going to expand. Because we think that preventive healthcare is going to be big in future. We will continue to focus on giving doorstep services and preventive healthcare in the future.
How big is your team now and how many are working on the technology aspect? Also, how artificial intelligence is leveraged in providing diagnostics services?
As far as the use of AI is concerned, we are leveraging mainly in three areas. Firstly, we are using it for route planning. It means which will be the shortest route to reach the client. Second area is the clinically derived algorithm. So, there is a layer of interpretation that we do, which are done on anonymous data. Then, corporate houses ask us to do health check-ups of their employees. For that, we use a level of clinically approved algorithm. We have a seven-member technology team and we are around 40 people right now including feet on the ground.
Are you breakeven now? If not, when are you expecting to be breakeven?
From economic perspective, we are breakeven now. At the aggregate level, we are constantly investing on expanding capacity and on our technology team. So, we plan to be breakeven soon. Our plan is to reach 100 cities in India, and we are also working on certain new technology like micro-sampling. Through this technology, we can reach out to tier-II and tier-III, IV cities using the courier service. In another two-three years, we will be able to use that technology.