Normally, people in India do not seek professional assistance; instead, they contact a well-known hospital, which may be 25 minutes away. But that might be set to change as now dethroning Zomato’s 10-min delivery, Hyderabad platform is aiming to provide ambulance in 8 mins.
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The announcement last week by restaurant conglomerate Zomato of a 10-minute food delivery service garnered a lot of criticism, with some claiming that what India truly required was a 10-minute ambulance service. A Hyderabad-based medical emergency response platform now aims to achieve this in only eight minutes.
StanPlus currently offers to respond to emergency calls in under six seconds and supply ambulances to patients within 15 minutes, thanks to its network of over 3,000 ambulances. Prabhdeep Singh, the firm’s founder and CEO, is now attempting to lower the ambulance estimated time of arrival to eight minutes after securing a new round of $20 million investment in January.
Singh told ThePrint that he felt powerless while he was out of the nation and his parents were faced with a medical problem. “A lot of us have been in such situations. We often do not know how to respond, whom to call, or even where the nearest hospital is,” he said.
“The major problem in cities is that people often call the hospital for the ambulance, and most of the time that is not the nearest hospital. That is why the ambulance takes so long,” he added.
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Whilst working for a pharmaceutical company’s cardiology section in 2015, Singh saw there was a high requirement for such an ambulance service. “People spend a ridiculous amount of money to secure an ambulance,” he remarked.
StanPlus’ services are currently available in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Raipur, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata. Kanpur, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune are among the ten Indian cities where it wants to develop in the near future.
Their ambulance fleet consists those operated by the corporation as well as those operated by other ambulance services as partners. “In future, to scale up services, we will look at partnering with governments,” Singh said.
‘Combining tech with care’
Singh emphasized that the necessity is for emergency management and response overall, not only for maintaining an ambulance service. Outside of a hospital, he added, there are three aspects to reacting to a medical crisis: figuring out what is wrong, administering urgent first aid or treatment, and then transporting the patient.
“Our service has products on all three verticals. The service starts from answering the call. We combine tech with care,” he said.
When questioned how the service will deal with unforeseen roadblocks like traffic, Singh responded that traffic is not the largest issue in enabling the ambulance to arrive on time. Rather, the issue is that people choose the wrong location.
People do not seek professional assistance; instead, they contact a well-known hospital, which may be 25 minutes away. He pointed out that while New York City is typically crowded, ambulance response times are shorter there because the 911 system is centralized.
“Our hope is to become the 911 service for India, where a person can call and tell us the emergency and the kind of insurance they have, and we send the nearest ambulance to take them to the nearest hospital,” Singh said.
The way this service will function, according to Singh, is through agreements with companies or event planners, so that no one has to pay for the ambulance.
“We will generate a dedicated helpline number for the staff of a company. In case of an emergency, the staff will know which number to call to get help to their office, for example,” Singh explained.
Currently, the hospital or businesses who join up for the service for their employees pay for the ambulance travel. The cost is not borne by a person.
“We do not want the individual to pay. We cannot do 8- or 10-minute pick-ups if the transactions or negotiations take place at the individual level. The system is only viable if the company bears the cost for its employees,” he added.