[The Turning Point] How a personal loss motivated these entrepreneurs to start an Uber for ambulances

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Losing someone you love is the hardest thing to deal with. It leaves a vacuum and that unsettling feeling when someone you love is no more. Something similar happened with Ravjot Arora when he lost his grandfather in 2010. What unsettled him was not just the demise but because the family could not get a proper emergency service on time.

At that time, the family did not know which ambulance to call or how, and by the time the family got him to the hospital in their car, he was no more. Ravjot decided to turn his grief into something useful and started researching more about medical emergency services in India. This eventually led him to start Medulance along with his friend Pranav Bajaj in 2017.

The Delhi-based healthtech startup is an ambulance and paramedical services aggregator that was started to increase the reliability and access to ambulance services in India.

Similar to Ola and Uber’s technology, Medulance enables users to book an ambulance using the mobile app and the nearest available ambulance will be assigned to the user in order to ensure minimum turnaround time for emergency care.

“Organisations such as Ola and Uber already existed at that time and we too wanted to leverage the new technologies such as geolocation, the proliferation of mobile phones, etc., to save a few more minutes of the time in emergency response,” Pranav had said earlier while speaking to YourStory.

The co-founder explains that Medulance’s technology platform connects users and ambulance drivers directly. The startup enlists government, hospitals, as well as private-operated ambulances on its platform after checking its compliances, paramedical staff, drivers, the medical infrastructure, etc.

“After starting up, we realised there is also a need to give a voice of trust to the customers and thus we launched a 24*7 helpline number where people can talk to our executives and get help on the kind of ambulance needed, and when they can get the ambulance,” says Pranav. Its GPS-based technology platform ensures the nearest ambulance is sent to the user and ensures timely emergency services.

Medulance operates on B2B, B2C, and also on the B2G model. For the B2B model, the company works with hospitals including Manipal, Columbia Asia, and Fortis, and with several organisations such as HCL, Schneider Electric, among others to help them provide emergency services to their employees.

Since inception, Medulance claims to have been able to assist over 2.5 lakh lives with the help of an ever-growing aggregated fleet of over 5,000 ambulances. “We have also signed over 25 clients under the MeduAlert program that provides emergency response services to more than 20 lakh employees across the country,” says Pranav.  

The second wave of Covid-19

With India becoming ground zero during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, topping 3-4 lakh daily infection cases, inefficient use of ambulances has compounded the misery for the people, with each minute of delay in starting emergency treatment reducing survival considerably.

In this hour of crisis, Medulance has entered into a Public-Private Partnership model with the Government of Delhi for about 100 ambulances. It has also collaborated with Donate Oxygen India, Quase, Harmony House India, and has equipped ambulances with oxygen cylinders, ventilators, and Bi-PAP machines. It also has Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances with paramedic support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) ambulances with ventilators and doctors on board.

In the long run, Medulance is looking to improve the emergency infrastructure across cities and expand its fleet of ambulances to 10,000 in 40 cities by 2025. Medulance is currently providing service in 22 cities with a fleet size of almost 5,000 ambulances.

“Eventually, we would also like to launch a healthcare superapp for organisations where employees will not only have access to emergency services, but will also get assistance including paramedics, healthcare at home, emergency medicines, etc,” says Pranav.

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