Right diagnosis: Training paramedics with the latest tech tools

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THE INDIAN HEALTHCARE sector presents a series of contrasting landscapes. At one end of the spectrum are India’s glitzy corporate hospital chains delivering advanced medicare supported by the latest diagnostic equipment in the big cities. At the other end are the state-owned public healthcare facilities in semi urban and rural areas, plagued by dilapidated infrastructure and lack of critical equipment, and most importantly, chronic shortage of doctors and paramedical staff. In fact, many a time, the latest diagnostic equipment or state-of-the-art operation theatre is there, but there is no trained personnel to operate these machines or provide the necessary support services.

“There is a massive shortage of allied healthcare professionals in India,” says Kunaal Dudeja, CEO & co-founder at Virohan, a healthcare edtech startup that is providing training for allied healthcare professionals, such as operation theatre technicians, lab technicians and radiology technicians. “The country needs at least 50 million allied healthcare professionals to be working currently whereas the number is less than 10 million. Approximately 90% of these 10 million are also currently untrained and uncertified,” he adds.

Dudeja set up Virohan in 2018 along with his friends Nalin Saluja (CTO) and Archit Jayaswal (CFO), with a vision to bridge these gaps and strengthen the Indian healthcare training ecosystem. “Virohan’s mission is to provide a demand-driven and up-to-date curriculum. We plan to educate over one million students by 2025, through our blended learning platform,” he says. As he explains, the idea is to convert and fix the training failure, fix the scale failure, to make the education system demand-driven, completely scalable, standardised and to make sure the desired outcomes are achieved.

So far, Virohan has trained over 5,000 students in over 20-plus cities and has a placement rate of more than 91%. Amidst the global pandemic, the company is witnessing 130% increase in students enrolled, from ~1,100 students a year to ~2,600 students for the year ended March 2021. It also witnessed an increase from 20% to 48% in the proportion of female enrollments.

One such student who has been enabled with a progressive livelihood through Virohan’s technology skill stack is Anshuman Nandeshwar, based in Nagpur, who was introduced to Virohan through his relatives and the goodwill of the company. Enrolling for a year-long radiology technician’s course at Virohan, he undertook six months of theory classes that developed his personality, enriched his knowledge and refined his professional skills. He also did a six-month internship through Virohan to equip him with industry-grade practical exposure. He interned at Galaxy Diagnosis Centre and Kunaal Hospital Manaspur respectively for three months each, where he learned about the operations and facilitation at the diagnosis centres and hospitals as well as how to use various medical equipment and maintain these. Post his internships, he was placed at New Era Hospital through Virohan’s job aggregation channel. Currently he is placed with SureTech Hospital as a X-Ray technician and is developing his skills as a CT-Scan and MRI technician as well. Throughout his professional journey, Virohan has consistently consulted and paved his way towards a progressive livelihood and enabled him to achieve a 300% salary hike since his first job.

Basically, Virohan has developed an end-to-end, proprietary technology stack to aggregate training providers and standardise operations from mobilisation, training to placements, called myClassroom kit. The classes are run by facilitators who use the myClassroom app and all students use the myCareer app, both inside and at home, which takes several data points from the class that are then analysed by a team of data scientists to provide personalised interventions to students who need them. Along with the theoritical knowledge, students are provided five to six months of practical training with renowned hospitals. As of now it offers emergency medical technician, medical laboratory technician, operation theatre technician,hospital administartion and radiology technician diploma programmes.

The startup has also built a job aggregation solution for demand aggregation and job prediction by geography and trade; it has partnerships with industry players like GE Healthcare, Siemens Healthineers, Lenskart, etc., which help give students exposure to latest medical technologies and diagnostic equipment.

According to Dudeja, Virohan has been witnessing 3X growth over the past financial years and has raised of a total $3 million across Seed and Series A rounds with marquee venture capitalists on its cap table consisting of Elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization, Rebright Partners, Yunus Social Business Foundation and Artha Leasing. It has also received an undisclosed amount as grant from the Wadhwani Foundation and ACTto expand its content library and product offerings. Going forward, Virohan intends to scale upto 160 centres across 35 cities pan-India and to train at least one million students by 2025.

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