The world is navigating through a global health crisis with few precedents. With little known and much left to be discovered, confronting this uncertainty has been an unsettling experience for many, including me. With COVID-19 cases surging, I’ve often found myself worrying about the health and safety of my family, colleagues, and friends.
During these moments, the best way for me to get past this state of mind is to focus on what we can do at Practo each day to help make a small difference.
Practo was founded to support those who have limited access to healthcare. During this crisis, our main priority has been to remain committed to the values that were established when we started this business. As we scale up our efforts to meet the growing demand amid a second wave, these values have become our compass for decision-making, helping us remain focused on our purpose.
Supporting you through the COVID-19 crisis
As the first cases of COVID-19 emerged in India last year, healthcare workers pulled out all stops to ensure that care was continuous, effective, and timely. One of the most important lessons reiterated during this time was that building access to effective healthcare solutions is of utmost importance.
This prompted us to adapt and evolve our products and services to address the needs this crisis presented for our patients as well as our doctor partners on the front lines. As an integrated healthcare company, we’ve been in a unique position to bring together an ecosystem of partners – including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and medical associations – to enable them to unite in the fight against COVID-19, and build the digital capability required to address these new challenges.
This synergy between various stakeholders in the healthcare industry has allowed us to funnel their solutions through a digitized channel, enabling users to schedule appointments at clinics and hospitals, consult top doctors across specialties online in their native language*, have medicines delivered at their doorstep, have lab tests performed at their homes, and more, without exposing themselves to any risk.
As we double our efforts to ensure that these services operate without interruption, we have observed that online consultations – in particular – have risen sharply since the second wave. In fact, there has been a 6x rise in online consultations in the country between March and April 2021, with 40% of these recorded between 10pm and 3am.
As we navigate this rapidly changing situation, I believe that this portends well for the country as more and more people discover the merits of online consultation, reserving hospital visits for emergency care only.
In you we trust
There is no universal playbook for healthcare organizations to follow during a pandemic. Each one has a role to play, and knowing one’s purpose and being steadfast in their mission is the best way to determine how they can contribute in difficult times.
At Practo, we have stuck close to our values and made a number of decisions backed by our purpose to ensure that all our stakeholders – customers, employees and partners – can benefit from them. This includes moving quickly to start working from home, creating new technologies to connect patients with doctors, training healthcare professionals to help them make the transition to digital, and more.
Working remotely, in particular, has been a massive shift for Practo, but the team has managed to create a beautiful symphony amidst the chaos with incredible ideas, increased collaboration and improved processes. Our team of Practeons have set an example by finding opportunities amid the challenges, and growing and evolving with the changes, and in the process, becoming more resilient.
Today, we have employees and doctor partners across the country, serving as a reminder to us about the importance of coming together as a community. The last 13 years have taught us that communication, collaboration and coordination with the government, as well as meaningful partnerships with organizations, associations and other health systems is critical in developing creative solutions to improve access and serve our communities effectively.
To conclude, we want to express our deepest appreciation to everyone who has worked under difficult circumstances to help us care for the sick in these turbulent times. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring new and unexpected challenges, our customers, employees and partners remain our priority. Lastly, take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Together, we will persevere and get through this.
Shashank ND, CEO and Co-founder