Ensuring Quality Care At Each Stage Of Patient’s Journey Is Significant: Atul Gandhi
In an exclusive chat with BW Healthcareworld, Atul Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Seva at Home, elaborates about the firm and more.
Seva At Home was envisioned in 2017 as a platform to match and recommend, screen, hire and monitor caregivers for people living in India and currently operates in 50 plus cities across India.
For the elderly who prefer to live at home but are having difficulty with daily tasks like cooking, moving around, or simply need company, the Seva At Home caregivers are equipped and trained to carry out these tasks and also help monitor medication regimens.
Atul Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Seva at Home, speaks in detail about the company in an interview with BW Healthcareworld. Excerpts:
How did you implement your idea into action?
Seva At Home was born out of my own personal experience as a caregiver for my father who got diagnosed with cancer in late 2016. My parents were in New Delhi at that time, and we are four brothers who live in various parts of the world, and found it quite challenging for us to be right next to him due to our own commitments. I was shuttling between Boston, Hong Kong and New Delhi to be with my Dad during his fight with cancer but we lost him in June 2018. I looked back into my care journey, and thought that there may be many more people like me who struggle to be with their loved ones but still want to participate in the care journey of their loved ones. I sat down with two of my friends and started working on the design of how we can implement this idea. It took us almost 18 months to bring this idea alive in the form of a platform first which we offered as an app to one of the premium cancer support non-profit organization to use it for their providers and patients. Currently, the non profit supports more than three thousand cancer patients and almost a hundred providers use it on a daily basis. We then worked on building a network of providers and ran a pilot in Chandigarh tri-city area to build a pool of providers that can provide quality care to the patients at home. This was an eye-opener exercise for us as the investment in skilling these providers was almost none, and most of the mom and pop home care organizations were using an approach of a body shopper and extending personnel to take care of the patients at home even though without experience, and even worse that these providers had no background check done so in some situations they were putting the vulnerable seniors in the harm's way. So, we decided to run a background check first on all the providers on our cost through a third party to ensure neutrality and extensive check that can be done by the professionals for us to be at peace when we allocate a provider to provide quality care at home. We also have developed training programs that we are conducting to provide clinical, soft and technology skills to prepare our providers to provide the best of care to the patients, and be able to communicate and collaborate with the family members who may or may not be away from their loved ones to provide comfort and a peace of mind during care journey.
How do you provide adequate training to the employees of Seva At Home?
Training in home care is quite challenging as the needs and preferences of every patient is diverse, and the expectations are very high. We listened to the providers and ran an analysis on how they conduct their activities of daily living when it comes to care at home. Nursing and nursing assistants have distinct roles with some overlaps so we focused on breaking down the clinical training accordingly. We have a cadence in place where we bring groups of providers to our training sessions, run clinical programs for care management, walk them through their rights and responsibilities and also focus on soft skills training additionally to develop traits such as compassion and empathy for all. We even set the rights and responsibilities for patient’s families to consider the providers as an extended family member rather than some stranger at their home to provide care. Lastly, we take them through our app training to ensure they are technically savvy to update vitals, activities of daily living, health related notes and to set up appointments and tasks for family members to provide complete transparency.
Ensuring quality care at each stage of the patient’s journey is of vital importance - this Seva culture is understood and appreciated by all of the Seva At Home custodians. Since the sphere of healthcare is one that requires a rapid response time, we encourage open communication lines among all employees so that no patient’s care is compromised. Regular training sessions are hosted so that all employees are comfortable with the online platform and its updates. We also work with a third-party organisation to thoroughly verify that all caretakers who are onboarded are qualified to administer care and that they clear the stringent background checks.
How do you manage to send care providers to all across the country?
Seva At Home’s services are currently available in over 60 cities in the country and we’re constantly growing. Along with a direct presence in these cities, we partner with reputable organisations and work with them to send care providers in the cities they operate in.
How do you plan to provide healthcare seva to the people from remote areas?
We work with network providers across the country and through these partnerships, we are able to offer care to patients in more remote areas. As part of our growth, we’re constantly onboarding more providers so that we can offer assistance to more people. Along with this, we have an online platform for tele-consultations with doctors and other specialists, and are in the process of strengthening it to increase the gamut of services provided.
What are the healthcare facilities you are planning to adopt in future?
Our outlook for the future is to primarily strengthen the virtual services we provide so that people across the country can get access to care instantly. This involves increasing the online and teleconsultation services that we provide and enhancing the range of specialisations. Building a robust health records platform is another goal that we’ve already started working on, since we believe it will make the administration of healthcare more seamless and efficient.
Our B2B vertical, Seva PRO, has already made great strides this year, but we plan on tying up with more corporations to cater to healthcare at the workplace and offer our services to all employees of the partner corporations. Additionally, we’re focused on building domain capabilities such as palliative care programs for cancer patients, post operative care at home, and chronic care programs for illnesses such as dementia and self care education programs for diabetes, hypertension etc.
What is the process of availing this service at home and how can a consumer get connected to the service providers?
Currently, a consumer can call our toll-free number to get in touch with our Seva representatives who will then understand their unique requirements and guide them through each step of the process. Soon they will be able to directly select a (package/service) online and receive a call-back from our team, who will then connect them with a provider based on patients needs and preferences. There’ll be a self service capability coming out soon where a family member can select, screen and hire a provider from our pool of providers and even pay them directly for the services.
Anything else you may want to share?
We are constantly improving our services on the basis of our consumers’ feedback and the need of the hour. As the company was founded on a personal experience, each aspect is treated with a seva outlook. Our mission is to offer family-like care that doesn’t compromise on quality so that even if one is living afar, they can be rest assured that their loved ones are being looked after.
As we look to the future, we are investing very heavily in:
1. Our technology platform to simplify at home care and emergency care services
2. Upskilling and quality training of our service providers
3. Building a larger team to expand national presence and grow in international markets
4. Creating a vibrant community so elders can enjoy their life to the fullest
5. Expanding our services offered to our corporate clients (currently over 35 corporations and over 200000 employees are supported by our services)