VitusCare is concentrating on the 3 As of kidney care – available, accessible, affordable: in India’s Tier II and III. The healthcare startup offers quality dialysis therapy to the bottom-of-the-pyramid population in Tier II and III India. For this population, accessing the kidney care ecosystem is a challenge.
When Prabhat Kumar Srivastava’s father needed dialysis, he and his family were unable to locate a reputable dialysis centre in their hometown of Jabalpur. This trauma eventually caused Prabhat and his family to relocate to Delhi, which had an emotional toll on them.
Prabhat was well acquainted with the typical small-town issues prevalent in India, or Bharat, as he refers to it, having gone through this journey.Factors contributing to the difficulty include a lack of excellent secondary and tertiary care facilities in non-metropolitan areas, as well as diverse socioeconomic situations.
“Our goal is to give services to patients close to their homes. And when I say near their homes, I mean within one kilometre,” adds Prabhat, Co-founder and Director of VitusCare Dialysis Centres.
VitusCare was founded in July 2017 by Prabhat, Dr Saurabh Pokhariyal, Co-Founder and Director, and Pankaj Tandon, Co-Founder and Director, with the goal of providing excellent dialysis therapy to the bottom-of-the-pyramid population, which has difficulty accessing the renal care ecosystem.
Factors contributing to the difficulty include a lack of excellent secondary and tertiary care facilities in non-metropolitan areas, as well as diverse socioeconomic situations. According to Prabhat, the organisation had exceptional demand during the epidemic due to deficiencies in public healthcare systems.
Dialysis services were halted because most hospitals were overwhelmed. Unfortunately, people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who have their therapy discontinued have a significant death risk. It is an urgent requirement, and the service cannot be halted at any time.
“Patients were suffering because they couldn’t obtain dialysis. During the epidemic, all of our centres were fully operational, and we made certain that every patient was serviced throughout the whole cycle,” he says.
According to a 2018 estimate, the number of people on chronic dialysis in the country is over 175,000, with a frequency of 129 per million population. India also has one of the world’s lowest nephrology workforce densities. There are only about 2,600 nephrologists (1.9 per million people), and dialysis nurses and technicians are in short supply.
There are several disparities in access to dialysis. Two-thirds of India’s population lives in rural regions, where access to hemodialysis (HD) is restricted. According to one research, approximately 60% of dialysis patients had to drive more than 50 kilometres to obtain HD, while nearly a quarter resided more than 100 kilometres away. The expense of travel raises costs and exacerbates pay loss. Furthermore, women are under-represented, and paediatric dialysis treatments are few.
This is where a firm like VitusCare’s care model comes in. VitusCare integrates data analytics and offers an innovative delivery strategy to make dialysis care accessible and cheap in Tier II and Tier III towns in India.
Prabhat argues that much gear is necessary to run a dialysis centre efficiently. It consists of a clinical team responsible for enforcing SOPs, a biomedical team in charge of machine management, an administrative staff, and a network of delivery therapists, nursing staff, nephrologists, operations teams, and patient-experience and awareness teams. “The innovative delivery model implies that the hub-and-spoke arrangement where we have identified the optimal size and resource arrangement (manpower and equipment) for each hub-and-spoke clinic ensures better reach to patients in the hinterlands and assures the best possible degree of clinical quality without compromising financial viability,” he says.
The organisation claims to have achieved important operational and clinical savings, resulting in decreased treatment costs and improved care accessibility.
In-center HD and nephrology OPD (outpatient department) as well as consulting services are provided. In India, HD is the most commonly used renal replacement treatment (RRT) technique.
Their centres are created in collaboration with hospitals and top nephrologists. It also delivers therapy in standalone facilities and in the comfort of people’s homes (particularly for the elderly) through its home dialysis project. This also gives patients control over their treatment regimen.