Among the many challenges of the Indian healthcare system, the accessibility of healthcare and utilization of available healthcare facilities, especially in rural areas, continue to be the biggest concern. A report released by KPMG and the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) stated that nearly 75 percent of dispensaries, 60 percent of hospitals, and 80 percent of doctors are in urban areas serving only 28 percent of the Indian populace. “Most of us doctors are aware of the inequity in healthcare which is not just based on economic-ability but also logistics. 70% of the population of the country lives in locations that are far from specialized medical care. Due to the inaccessibility of specialty care, many patients in these rural areas have to resign themselves to their fate of being managed by health personnel with compromised capabilities,” comments Dr. Ketan Parikh, a senior pediatric surgeon and founder of PyraMed India.
The pandemic exacerbated the situation, as it had a significant but variable impact on different aspects of the healthcare industry, not just in treatment but in aspects like medical tourism, lifestyle modifications, and ancillaries related to non-emergency therapies. The need for intensivists and the entire support for intensive care rose exponentially. Many senior doctors avoided physical consultations leading to a spurt in online consultations. “The covid pandemic and resultant lockdown significantly exaggerated and highlighted these inequities in healthcare. The timely intervention by the government of India to legitimize and promote telemedicine paved the way,” states Dr. Ketan.
Dr. Ketan Parikh is a pioneer who took complex pediatric and neonatal surgical procedures into the easily accessible environment of smaller surgical centers and is a passionate proponent of healthcare reforms directed toward patient safety and protocol-based practices. Dr. Ketan, along with Kartik Parikh, a technocrat and an entrepreneur, founded Pyramed India to take a vital step in ensuring quality healthcare across Indian geography. Dr. Ketan says, “We empower the primary doctors with quality specialist medical consultations especially needed for the non-urban population of the country.”
Pyramed India believes in the pyramidal system of medicine wherein the primary doctor(D1) of any patient is at the core of the financial journey of every patient. “The D1 is best aware of the ideal need to consult a specialist and the type of specialist that the patient needs to consult,” shares Dr. Ketan. Over the years, many specialists in the medical field have been concentrating on very niche areas of the field, thus improving their skills significantly in these fields. Dr. Ketan adds, “Regular CMEs and other academic events enable D1s to be abreast of these developments. The D1s are also aware of the past medical history of the patient and will also need to integrate the specialist advice with future health events of the patient.”
Discerning what healthcare needs
Pyramed aims to provide a large range of these complex specialty opinions on its platform. “As a pilot, we are offering 15 stand-alone pediatric super-specialties, including pediatric surgery, orthopedic, ophthalmology, neurology, endocrinology, cardiology, and almost 9 pediatric multi-specialty clinic connections,” shares Dr. Ketan. With a Joint Video Consultation Platform for doctors and a unique pyramidal structure of consulting, Pyramed aims to reach over 50 lakh patients over the next 5 years. Through this initiative, PyraMed India gives doctors the ability to provide quality medical opinions even in the remotest parts of India at an affordable price.
Specialists in the medical field who specifically concentrate on very niche areas of the field have shared their resources with PyraMed India to become what it is today. Backed by an in-house product management team and the professional software team that is supported by Ridlr and Ola, the organization continues to grow leaps and bounds and hoping to save Rs.1500 crores for rural patients in travel, loss of pay, and ancillary costs. In addition to this, the startup also has an operational manager and a tele-support team to smoothen the consultation process. Through the partnership with top doctors and hospitals, PyraMed India offers affordable specialist / super-specialist care to those who have the greatest need and the greatest difficulty in accessing these services.
PyraMed India envisions providing accessible expert medical opinion and case-based learning to augment the skills of primary doctors, ensuring that patients are safe and have a stable healthcare pyramid. To this effect, the team strives to be more efficient as online medical consultations have become increasingly popular today. Dr. Ketan believes that commitment to patient care and patient well-being is the best ‘karma’ which rewards professionally and economically. He says, “Communication and transparency of decision-making establish a dependable rapport with the patient. Updating skills – Communication, digital, networking, etc. – are as important as updating medical knowledge.”
Being committed to work and having a sense of duty to serve the nation are some of the core values at PyraMed India. Through Dr. Ketan’s guidance, being honest to cause through word and action has taken the company to a new level. With education as the basis for development, PyraMed India continues to smoothen out the consultation process by easing access to specialist opinions and enabling local doctors to make quick and timely decisions for their patients. “We want to contribute to make India a still better country to live in. We will strive to make Pyramed accessible to all the doctors and maybe in the future to health care workers to access authentic medical opinions at the most peripheral level,” concludes Dr. Ketan.
More about Dr Ketan Parikh
Dr. Ketan has come a long way and has gained insight and experience in the medical field. Through his education and upbringing, many of his teachers and mentors have played a role in establishing what PyraMed India is today. Dr. Vasant Talwalkar, his mentor and chief in pediatric surgery, was dedicated to the deprived sections of society – economically and developmentally, by being honest and using ‘out of the box’ solutions and giving care till the end of treatment.
Dr. Y K Amdekar, a senior pediatrician, and his teacher also played a role in Dr. Parikh’s life. His need for simplicity in medical thought processes and prescriptions, along with his rational approach to patients inspired Dr. Parikh to create a platform where doctors and patients have a better understanding of each other and pave the way to recovery.