We get this question often – Why did you start Sparsh? How did you decide you want to start a chain of dialysis centers? What inspired you? Well the answer is bit of a letdown – “serendipity”.
“There are two ways to become an entrepreneur. Either you have an Idea that doesn’t let you sleep or you have a job that you do not want to wake up to. Well we followed the latter way.” Both Gaurav and me wanted to start something meaningful during our MBA and chanced upon dialysis. The first idea was to build dialyzers for India market to reduce cost of dialysis. Infact we won many BPlan competitions with this idea. It all sounds so silly now. But as we dug deeper into the industry we realized that “dialysis service delivery” had a huge demand and supply gap.
We interviewed many nephrologists and hospitals and all had the same answer – People can not afford dialysis. But as we spoke to more and more patients a different truth emerged. Yes dialysis is expensive for many patients in India but not because dialysis service is expensive for them. It is because of the indirect costs associated with it. Dialysis as a therapy is required every two to three days. For patients in smaller cities, who do not have options, have to travel to nearest city with dialysis center. Many have to stop doing jobs to get dialysis done. Now thats expensive! Then there is travel, loss of pay for a companion and eventually all this leads to the biggest cost – loss of willpower to survive.
Another issue is the Indian healthcare system which is geared towards acute healthcare. If you need a heart surgery or a knee transplant – you can get it done in India. World class infrastructure exists in the Tier – I cities to deliver such care. The hospitals build to provide the best service to patients and believe that the patient will travel to them to get it. The only problem is “chronic care vs acute care” like little like “buying vegetables vs buying a refrigerator”. Although you will visit many showrooms in your city and read up all possible reviews before zeroing on your favorite refrigerator, but when it comes to vegetables you will not go through so much trouble and order it from your nearest vendor. Indian healthcare providers haven’t grasped this insight about chronic patients. Due to this thinking of The distribution of dialysis centers/nephrologists in India vs the distribution of patients is highly imbalanced as shown in the picture below.
Sparsh was created with a vision to close this gap. Even our moto is “Quality Dialysis, Within Reach”. We decided to take dialysis closer to patients by opening dialysis centers in Tier II and Tier III cities. We are attacking the real source of the problem – Inaccessibility. By making dialysis accessible, Sparsh makes it affordable as well!