Like many other startup founders working the field of healthtech, Theresia Lumban Gaol was inspired by her own personal experience to build a platform that aims to improve how things are being run.
Her sister had fallen ill some time ago; after an unsatisfactory treatment at the hospital, her family then decided to bring her home. But they were struggling to find a quality homecare service provider.
Being a graduate of University of Indonesia’s nursing faculty herself, Lumban Gaol later discovered that the reason behind the poor quality of healthcare services in Indonesia is related to the meager wages that nurses are receiving, which may go as low as IDR500,000 (US$37.5) per month in rural areas.
She then teamed up with co-founders Monica Lumban Gaol and Alexander Horison to build Homecare24, an on-demand booking platform for registered nurses and homecare services provider.
Available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices, Homecare24 allows users to search and book for registered nurses and homecare services provider for 24/7.
Healthcare professionals listed on the platform need to be a registered nurse with at least a diploma in nursing, that enables them to perform emergency medical action when necessary.
The platform offers one-hour and eight-hour services, as well as live-in services for the duration of up to one month. It currently has 800 nurses registered, and available for users in Greater Jakarta Area.
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Despite the needs for accessible quality caregiver service in the country, running a homecare business in Indonesia is not without its own challenges.
From customers’ perspective, apart from having difficulty in securing quality homecare service, there is still a lack of awareness on homecare services itself.
“There is still a different perception between users and nurses about the service. There is still plenty of educational effort to be made in order to introduce homecare service to the society,” Lumban Gaol explains in an email to e27.
For Homecare24 itself, the remaining challenge is the fact that many healthcare professionals listed on the platform are still working fulltime in hospitals. Apart from that, getting nurses on-board is also a challenge as many of them would rather work as nurses and caregiver abroad, which promises a much greater pay.
What about regulation? There is a common belief in startup community that innovation and regulation often clash with each other; this is especially challenging for startups in the healthcare sector, which needs to carefully balance between disruption and patient safety.
To answer that problem, Lumban Gaol believes that the key lies in market education.
“Homecare24 is currently trying to educate the Indonesian society about the importance of homecare services. Once the public has been properly educated (of such services), we feel that the government may help in determining the proper regulation for homecare services in Indonesia,” she explains.
Homecare24 is currently run by a team of nine people; the startup is also funded through bootstrapping.
For the near future, Homecare24 wishes to focus on improving its products and services. In the long run, it is also looking forward to add medical doctors and physiotherapists into its offerings, and the services are currently under development.
Does Homecare24 have any plan to expand regionally, to directly compete with these startups?
“Homecare24 certainly has a great plan for international expansion. But for the time being, Indonesia remains our primary focus. There is still an urgency to educate the market about homecare services in Indonesia, and Homecare24 aims to help educate them,” Lumban Gaol ends.