Full body check-up packages – 89 parameters, 60 tests. Comprehensive preventive health check-ups – buy one, get one free. Most of us have been bombarded with such messages promising to accurately assess our health status. But how do customers check the reliability of these tests, whether the prices are reasonable, or even if they need to track all the 89 parameters?
Perceiving this gap in the market, Flebo.in launched its aggregator platform offering home collection services in April 2022. Claiming to be India’s first and perhaps only digitally enabled aggregator platform for pathology lab services, Flebo, which is backed by SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh, allows customers to compare wellness packages across labs in terms of parameters and prices. It has more than 70 lab partners on its platform, including big names such as Thyrocare, CRL Diagnostics, Metropolis, OrangeHealth and Pathkind Labs. It currently offers its services in Delhi, Noida and Gurugram – with its trained phlebotomists visiting homes to take blood, urine and RT PCR samples – and plans to expand pan-India over the coming months.“The choice to compare labs is one of the biggest advantages we offer. This is especially true for wellness packages since these are being sold on the basis of the number of parameters covered, with no regard to which parameters are actually useful for a customer,” says Ashish Vikram, co-founder & CEO, Flebo.in. “Another advantage is that the customer gets to see a graphic representation of their results over time even if the test has been done by different labs at different times.”The benefits aren’t only for the customers, but also for the diagnostics companies.
Flebo provides high-quality home collection services to all empanelled labs and allows them to concentrate on their core job of diagnostic testing, explains Vikram. “We would like all of these labs to partner with us even if they want to retain their current model of providing home collection services directly,” he says. While the service is free for customers, the labs pay Flebo a commission for providing them with the test samples and booking tests on their behalf. “The commissions, along with our AI platform which allows for efficient use of Flebo’s time, ensure profitability when done at scale,” he adds. The bootstrapped platform is currently talking to investors to raise its first external round of funding.
With Flebo.in’s AI-enabled technology, it does not matter if a diagnostics firm has one reference lab or many. With its hub-and-spoke model, Flebo collects samples from all across the city along with real-time tracking of the samples. According to medical experts, 70% of the times lab results are incorrect is due to the pre-analytics, a large part of which is attributable to spoiled samples rather than a flawed testing process. With most home collection agents paid on a per-collection basis, there is a tendency to cut corners. In contrast, Flebo has over 140 phlebotomists on its rolls and is rapidly ramping up the numbers. “We also do regular quality audits to ensure all labs on the platform are of high quality. All the accreditations and certifications a lab has are shown on our platform. We provide filters for each accreditation so that the customer is free to go only for NABL-accredited labs if that is what they are interested in,” Vikram adds.
The demand for home collection of samples has gone up significantly post Covid, and hopping onto an aggregator platform helps labs reach a wider market. A study by TechSciResearch predicts the Indian diagnostic labs market, which includes not only blood and urine tests but also big-ticket tests such as ultrasound, MRI, echocardiogram and PET scan, to grow at a CAGR of 11.65% over 2023-2027, reaching $25.67 bn in size by 2027. Standalone diagnostic labs dominated the market in 2021 with a market share of 43.70% and are expected to maintain their dominance for the next five years. Flebo also aims to offer appointment bookings for other kinds of diagnostic tests, such as ultrasound and MRI, in the near future.