Smile, the dentist is coming home

| Updated on: Dec 11, 2015
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The homecare market is active, with existing and new players sensing an opportunity

Your visit to the dentist is not the most pleasant experience. But that could change if you are a Mumbaikar as dental services are not just moving to a place close to you, indeed, they can come to your home.

Nightingales Home Healthcare expects to start its South Mumbai clinic in January, and dental-care is one of its many speciality homecare services.

Any procedure not requiring general anaesthesia --- oral hygiene checks, denture fixtures, a simple root-canal --- can be done at home, says Vishal Bali, Co-Founder Medwell Ventures, which run Nightingales. The services will be priced on a par with that in a clinic, but at the convenience of your home, he says.

Over the last several months, the homecare market is bursting with activity as existing players Portea Medical and Nightingales grow their footprint, Health Care at Home (HCAH) ups its visibility and new-players like Clove Dental venture in. Apollo Hospitals’ recent entry into homecare further endorses the opportunity and need for healthcare services at home.

The differentiation is between critical care in a hospital and chronic care; and healthcare at home is not a substitute to a hospital, Bali clarifies. Nevertheless, the segment is seeing different models and specialities.

Subscription-driven Nightingales provides care for Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis patients care and physiotherapy services. It’s not just the elderly, says Bali, referring to young people who take physiotherapy.

Having successfully run a homecare service in the United Kingdom, Charles Walsh, co-founded HCAH, India, along with Gareth Jones, Anand Burman (Chairman, Dabur) and Gaurav Burman, says India is different and ideal for homecare. Having started in Delhi, with services in some North Indian cities, HCAH has entered Mumbai. “India gets the opportunity to leapfrog over us and go straight to the 21st century,” he says.

Their services include setting up an ICU, cardiac care, oncology, post surgical care etc. The patient has a digital file, says Vice-President Gaurav Thukral and every decision has a digital trail of accountability. Services are priced about 15 per cent less than a hospital, he adds.

Portea Founder K Ganesh observes that the healthcare infrastructure is virtually non-existent beyond tertiary hospitals. Portea was born from a need at home, when it became difficult to get a doctor to home and the nurse was from the unorganised sector. Over two years now, Portea is in 24 cities and four Malaysian cities. Its services include care for the elderly, post-operative care and physiotherapy.

With the economy, the disease profile grows. And looking to catch it “at the first point of contact to the un-sterilised world” is Clove Dental, which recently started Clove@home. Chief Executive Amarinder Singh explains that between the mobile dental clinic and the dentist with portable drills, X-ray machines and a chair (developed for the Armed Forces) – your teeth are taken care of at home.

While there is no disputing the convenience of homecare, experts caution patients to be aware of the complexity of their condition before they go in for the several services coming to their doorstep.

Published on March 10, 2018

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