Telemedicine collective StepOne makes it to Aarogya Setu Mitr

CHENNAI: StepOne, a volunteer-driven telemedicine collective, has become an empanelled partner for telemedicine consultations on Aarogya Setu Mitr, an ancillary service on the Aaroya Setu app that enables free tele-consultation for those with COVID19-like symptoms.

Launched in March 2020, StepOne represents the largest number of nationwide volunteer doctors, 21 startups, and active citizenry to power state government helpline numbers to combat Covid-19 and mental health issues.

“In March when we ideated StepOne, our simple mission was to keep people at home, to support them in overcoming their fears and uncertainties with regard to COVID-19 symptoms," said Rahul Gupta from StepOne. "Tele-screening is the fastest and physically the most distanced way to identify suspects and guide them to self-isolate so that they don’t infect more citizens or our healthcare workers."

He said that it is an inclusive solution that works across geographies and is 'device-agnostic,' as citizens can call using feature or smart-phones.

StepOne operates in seven states including Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Nagaland.

The helpline records the citizen input on symptoms and travel history, assigns a priority flag based on which they get a call back from the doctor powered through cloud telephony. The IVR has been localised for every state and is currently live in English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi and Nagamese.

In the last seven weeks over one million calls have been triaged, and 70,000 tele-consults undertaken by over 6000 verified doctors. The consultations have led to the identification of over 3000 high-risk patients, for whom the respective state governments have taken appropriate action.

The initiative also has set up the technology backend for mental health helplines in the states of Punjab, Odisha, and Karnataka due to high anxiety levels and mental trauma owing to challenging economic and health conditions.

StepOne was also the first Covid-19 combat project to get a grant from the ACT Fund, set up by various venture capital firms and entrepreneurs to support initiatives fighting against the infection. The initiative received a grant of 25 lakhs from ACT grants and a matching contribution from Omidyar Network India. The funds are being allocated to cover infrastructure expenses such as telecom, and servers.