Home healthcare services get a booster dose

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on April 28, 2021


With more than 80 per cent people developing mild-to-moderate Covid-19 infections that require no hospitalisation, giving them healthcare services at home has become very important. Interestingly, many home healthcare firms had started operations during pre-Covid times, and their focus was mainly on chronic patients who required long-term, home-based health care support. However, with Covid-19 emerging as the biggest health emergency, they shifted mainly towards Covid management.

“Our true value is being seen in augmenting healthcare services at home in the pandemic times,” said Gaurav Thukral, Executive VP and COO of HCAH India, a medical doctor.

HCAH India, which has been working closely with the Delhi government for the last nine months, said they have specialists, including ICU specialists, working with them in managing patients through tele-ICU service. In Delhi, the firm has been offering remote monitoring services for lakhs of patients and, thus, has been instrumental in reducing the burden on hospitals that are already overcrowded.

Vaccination at home

Thukral believes that home healthcare infrastructure can also play a key role in workplace and industrial vaccinations with the vaccination opening up for people above 18 years from May 1. But, for this, they need to be given permission to offer Covid-19 vaccination, he said.

Recently, HCAH India opened an isolation and oxygen facility in Gurugram, equipped with oxygen concentrators, doctors and nurses, especially for patients whose saturated oxygen levels are between 80 to 90 per cent, said Thukral, adding that the firm is in the process of setting up similar facilities in Noida and Delhi.

“We are also overstretched now. We have been airlifting oxygen concentrators from our facilities at other cities and have now ordered hundreds of more oxygen concentrators. Oxygen availability is our biggest challenge. Our staff is also getting infected impacting our services,” he added.

Non-Covid patients

HCAH India also ramped up facilities for non-Covid patients in recent times, including home infusions, home chemotherapy, home dialysis and home cancer therapy. Similarly, many critical patients who are not getting hospital beds are seeking home ICU services.

Vishal Sehgal, President Medical Services, Portea Medical, said: “Home healthcare, outside of hospital set-up in India, was never recognised for its critical role like in western countries. With the pandemic, the industry is getting the necessary recognition in the minds of doctors and the public at large.”

“We are being thronged with requests by consumers and corporates during the second wave of the pandemic. We are offering remote monitoring services to both consumers as well corporates through teleconsultations and video-consultations to help patients recognise warning signs and to guide them on when to go to hospitals,” he said.

Health Care at Home (HCAH) India and Portea Medical are among those firms that are an integral part of the $5.4-billion homehealth care business in India. The industry is slated to growth to $11-13 billion by 2025, according to a report by RedSeer Consulting. The Covid pandemic has, in fact, accelerated their growth.

Meanwhile, there are some elder care players, too, that are very actively involved in offering health care services at home. Emoha Elder Care, set up in 2019, is one such firm. The firm, which charges a membership fee of ₹1,000 per month, takes care of the elderly who are alone at home. “We become their foster sons and daughters who take care of all their needs. We organise their doctor consultation calls, take them for medical tests, and even help them to isolate themselves when required,” said Saumajit Roy, co-founder and CEO of Emoha. Currently, there are about 700 members, 500 of them in the Delhi-NCR region alone.

Max Healthcare, which launched a vertical called Max@Home in 2017 to cater to requirements of chronic patients, said the demand for its services has grown exponentially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Published on April 27, 2021

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