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Through Portea, We Aim To Provide A Holistic Solution To Diabetes Management: Meena Ganesh

India has over 50.9 million people suffering from diabetes and likely to go up to 80 million by 2025, India is on road to becoming the 'Diabetes Capital' of the world, says Meena Ganesh, Co-Founder, MD & CEO, Portea Medical. She speaks with BW Businessworld on critical factors like credible information sources, poor access to medical advice and overall ignorance about the disease were the reasons that Portea InControl was introduced to address such issues.

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What is the concept behind Portea medical? What is the objective?

Portea Medical was started in 2013 with an intention of focusing on outside of hospital healthcare. While India has seen significant investments in the hospital space, the healthcare system outside hospital has seen less disruption. 70% of healthcare needs are address outside of hospitals and this is a large part of any healthcare ecosystem. Hence, we decided to focus on this area and build a leading consumer healthcare brand.

Currently, we are present across the country and serve patients in the following segments, post-hospitalisation care, Chronic disease management and healthcare management for the elderly.

Portea a comprehensive healthcare service provider for all healthcare needs of a patient at home. The company covers everything from doctor visits, physiotherapy, nursing, long term care to lab services, pharma delivery, and equipment/devices rentals and sales Since inception, Portea has completed more than 3.5 million patient visits across 16 cities in India including Bangalore, NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Jaipur, and Indore. We manage about 150,000+ patient visits each month and work with more than 70 leading hospital partners, 15 pharma majors, and leading insurance companies in India.

It was only last year that we introduced the Portea health prime (a membership service for senior citizens to help them manage their health over long periods) and ICU at-home services, both of which have received tremendous response. 

Your focus is on the diabetes’ management? What is your thought on the health crisis-diabetes- that is looming large in India?

India has over 50.9 million people suffering from diabetes. And with this figure likely to go up to 80 million by 2025, India is on road to becoming the 'Diabetes Capital' of the world. Furthermore, increasing financial and professional burden drives most patients towards neglecting their health even after being diagnosed with the condition. The major reasons for this include lack of time and credible information sources, poor access to medical advice and overall ignorance about the long-term impact of the disease. Keeping in mind this need, we recently introduced Portea InControl, a comprehensive diabetic care programme which is subscription-based. Through this, we aim to provide a holistic solution to diabetes management and address the above-mentioned barriers.

We also aim to bridge the gap between patients and quality medical assistance by bringing together Diabetologists and nutrition counsellors over a tech platform. The platform allows healthcare providers and nutritionists to remotely monitor patients, assess their condition and work with them to bring about positive health outcomes. We are targeting to achieve an outreach of at least 50,000 patients in the first year of launch.

What are the solutions that you have for the people suffering from diabetes?

As mentioned earlier, Portea InControl is a subscription programme that we launched and within the first six months, we have had over 12,000 patients subscribing to it. As part of this service, Portea offers a OneTouch Verio Flex glucometer + testing strips+ diabetes health coach (virtual) to every customer. The decision to adopt a programme rests with the customer.

Even though diabetes management may appear to be a big challenge, Portea’s simple step-by-step approach towards self-discipline can help you achieve it with ease. Our programme combines two important parameters -- regular monitoring and health coaching in order to help people to not only comply with their treatment regimen but also to manage their condition better. Besides, the programme also helps in detecting early signs of any related complications.

How do you differentiate your health management?

Apart from the fact that we have a well-established network across all major metros as well as Tier 2 and 3 cities, we have an in-depth understanding of the fact that chronic disease management requires right monitoring and self-discipline. This has helped us create patient-centric programmes which helps them take complete control of their own health – this is true for everything from eldercare to chronic disease management. Our multi-pronged programmes are also completely customizable. 

We work with over 50 large hospitals as their exclusive partner in continuity of care, which adds to our credibility. As an industry, we have also come up with standards of how healthcare should be provided at home, with an organisation called QAI. Thus, the quality of care that we provide is as per standards. The extended care continuum is gradually maturing in India and this augurs well for us ahead given that we already have standards in place.

What is your plan to scale up Portea and what are the areas that you would like to scale up in the health sector?

Portea has been seeing a 30% to 50% growth year-on-year. We have only touched the surface of outside of hospital care in India and we see significant growth in each of the geographies that we operate in currently. We are constantly reviewing the needs of our patients and keep building new offerings based on their requirements. We see our chronic and elderly care growing significantly in the years to come, as it is aligned with the demographics of the country. The largest growing population in the country are the 80 plus, followed by the 60 plus. The number of people suffering from chronic diseases is growing rapidly too. We see this driving our continuous growth.