One of the earliest services to go online was banking, and a major factor was the working hours of banks, that collided with those of their customers. Online banking started in New York in 1981 when four of the city’s major banks offered home banking services using the videotex system. Three decades later, we see many services that have reached the WWW, and people are still conjuring up novel ideas to help consumers.
One such innovative concept is Mumbai based MyLabYogi that makes use of the internet to help you conduct a pathological test from the comfort of your home/office. All you have to do is login to MyLabYogi, select the tests you want to conduct, provide you information, and choose a lab from the partner labs. A MyLabYogi technician visits you at the address and time provided, collects samples for testing, and transports them to the chosen lab in temperature-controlled containers. The reports after the test are available on your MLY account, that also archives your reports to provide easy comparison for subsequent tests.
All this for a small fee of Rs 75 per test, COD, or as they call it, Cash on Home Visit. Online payment is being worked upon and an online payment option at mylabyogi.com is not far away. MLY also provides the option of ECG at home at a price of 300 bucks.
MyLabYogi is co-founded by Novella Lawrence and Aneesh Khanna, health care professionals with more than a decade experience in the healthcare industry. They have a young team of 12 employees, out of which 7 employees are technicians and logistics officers. They also have a Quality and Processes department, headed by Dr Smitha Gawde, a PhD in Human Genetics with a Post Doctoral from University of Cincinnati.
Currently you can avail of MyLabYogi only in Mumbai, where they have 7 partner labs, but this will be soon scaled up to other metro cities. Apart from the online booking, you can also call their helpline number to request a test.
Here is a conversation with Novella Lawrence, co-founder, My Lab Yogi:
PI: How did you come up with this idea? What kind of a feasibility analysis did you do before building the service up?
MLY: Mylabyogi.com was set up with the objective of ‘Simplifying Diagnostics’ for the customer. Very early in our careers we realized that ‘Standardized Customer Care’ was something that was grossly missing in the overall Healthcare Sector. We were of the opinion that the last mile service delivery of Healthcare could be improved by leaps and bounds with the right focus and energies. With “Customer Empowerment” and “Convenience” as our primary goals, Mylabyogi aims to empower the customer with educated choices and information about his diagnostic requirements.
PI: When did you launch My Lab Yogi? When do you plan to let go of the Beta label?
MLY: Mylabyogi was launched end Jan 2012. The beta Label would be used for another month and removed once we add a few more features to the website.
PI: How does your sample-collection team pick up samples in a temperature-controlled container? Also, how you manage pick ups from all across Mumbai in Rs 75? Does it include the courier cost for the reports?
MLY: Our team of trained Phlebotomists visit the customer’s location of choice to collect his samples. The samples are then packed and sealed in temperature regulated containers with frozen gel packs are then transported to the lab. Our field team are on Motorcycles and are recruited from various parts of the city and hence we are capable of covering the entire city of Mumbai. A nominal charge Rs. 75/- is collected as a fee per visit. A courier report is made available to the customer at Rs. 20/-. The visit charge is just a token amount that covers the collection material costs and part of the travel costs.
The field team is also empowered by a mobile Field application which enables to back office to track the movement of the sample “real time” from the customer’s home to the laboratory.
PI: Do all the partner labs provide testing for all the tests mentioned in your list? Do they have direct access to the application to track/generate reports for users?
MLY: All our partner Labs are capable of running most of the pathology tests listed, on the website. As per the industry practice, some special and super special tests are outsourced to a referral laboratory for processing. The labs do not have access / ability to track customer reports. The reports generated from the lab are emailed to us in confidence and the same is uploaded to the customer’s account. The reports are available online to the customer through his account at any point in time once uploaded. The customers have the facility to track the status of their samples through their web logins as well.
At the moment, the lab partners do have the facility to track the number of samples they have received in a specified time period through our application.
PI: Do you have a technical team to maintain the mylabyogi.com portal?
MLY: The portal maintained by a stand alone IT company as of now.
PI: How are you funded?
MLY: We are currently funded by the co-founding team’s personal funds. We do intend to raise some angel/seed capital which will propel the pace of growth and expansion across the metros.
PI: How has been the traction so far?
MLY: The response has been very encouraging. We are averaging at about 6-7 visits a day.
PI: What are you future plans?
MLY: We are aiming to scale up our operations in the following areas:
1. Expand to cities like Pune, Bangalore, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and other metro cities where we find a need for such a service.
2. We also intend to add more services to our bouquet of home diagnostic services.
My Lab Yogi is an interesting application to ‘Simplifying Diagnostics’, by bringing professional diagnostic solutions to your doorstep. If you are in Mumbai, and want to conduct a blood test, do give MyLabYogi a test and let us know.