Indian healthcare is a sector which requires both breadth and depth in terms of services. Every step towards improving Healthcare is going to help and it is heartening to see people from various spheres coming in to improve the healthcare systems. Startups like Forus and Biosense are doing noteworthy work in healthcare and Nephroplus is one more such effort. Founded by Vikram Vuppala, Sandeep Gudibanda and Kamal Shah, Nephroplus has done commendable work in the field of Kidney Care. Kamal himself is a patient of dialysis and him being on the founding team makes the idea more effective as he knows exactly what a patient goes through. I caught up with Vikram Vupplua to learn about how it all happened and how the road ahead looks like:
You, Sandeep and Kamal are all engineers. How did you meet and come about the idea for Nephroplus?
I had this idea that our country needed high quality kidney care centers based on my experience in the West. I came across Kamal’s blog on dialysis when I was in the US. When I got back to India, I met Kamal who himself was on dialysis for 15 years. Having a customer as a Co-Founder is a fantastic way to understand customers and helps us ensure we are patient centric. Also, I attended a workshop at ISB where I met Sandeep. He joined NephroPlus as a Co-Founder even before finishing his MBA!
What made you believe that dialysis patients weren’t getting enough care?
When I returned to India in July 2009, I travelled around the country and visited 60 hospitals to study their quality of kidney care. The state was pathetic and 30 – 40% of the patients were infected with Hep C, Hep B, and HIV viruses because of lack of protocols to prevent cross infections. It was almost as if these institutions were providing liver diseases to kidney patients and the situation was such that something needed to be done. And urgently.
How hard has it been to set up the centres? Have government regulations proved to be a deterrent in any way?
Setting up our first center was quite tough because of various reasons that included patient adoption, doctor adoption, recruiting talent and yes – red tape. But we are getting better as we expand. Things become easy when you have scale.
We have 12 doctors onboard now and we believe in partnering, not employing doctors. That is what makes working at NephroPlus different; we built the team slowly and steadily while building trustworthy relationships with everyone involved including doctors, patients, staff members and vendors.
How has the reception for Nephroplus been?
NephroPlus has received excellent feedback from both patients and also doctors. Once a doctor or patient visits us, they get to see first-hand, and are convinced by the professionalism, quality care and trustworthy relationships we build. We are able to scale only because of the overwhelmingly positive responses that we have received from the public.
Out of curiosity and as a point of comparison, how is the pricing at Nephroplus? Can the ordinary man afford Nephroplus?
Our pricing is Rs. 1,380 per dialysis session. With reference to the context, this is 30 – 40% lower than what corporate hospitals charge. Our quality is the best in the country and we have a track record of ZERO cross infections due to our patent pending innovations that no other health care provider can claim.
What are the cities you plan to enter into in the future?
NephroPlus will have 100 centers in approximately 3 years. Our aim is to see every Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 city having a NephroPlus in near future.
Know more about Nephroplus here