INDUSTRY

Non-profit

HEADQUARTERS

India

Daily calls

250,000

Full-time agents

10,000+

APIs per minute used

7,500

About StepOne

In March 2020, the first wave of COVID-19 hit India. As the nation found itself in the midst of a global pandemic, the government announced a national lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. During this critical time, a large-scale telemedicine initiative was the need of the hour. This would be critical to ease the load off the country’s healthcare system and provide reliable support to its citizens. StepOne arose as the pioneer of a solution that would meet this pressing need. 

StepOne is a mammoth collective of doctors, technology startups and creative volunteers who came together under the umbrella of 'Startup Vs COVID' and have joined forces to augment healthcare delivery infrastructure. Its mission is to blend technology and human resources seamlessly together to provide healthcare access to those who need it the most. StepOne partnered with Freshworks to create a robust solution that would, quite literally, stay ahead of the curve.

Building a solution that could scale as per India’s needs

When the pandemic hit India early in 2020, the country’s healthcare system suddenly came under a lot of stress. There were several broad reasons behind this:

  • Citizens were rushing to hospitals regardless of the severity of symptoms
  • Lack of awareness about the disease 
  • Lack of awareness about quarantining

To help the various state governments tackle these issues, StepOne decided to combine technology and medical expertise and roll out a large telemedicine initiative. StepOne gathered over 20,000 experts ranging from doctors, mental health professionals, nursing staff and volunteers to be its first line of defence against the virus. Citizens could call the helpline to get in touch with a professional who would provide them with reliable information about COVID-19 prevention, screen their symptoms and escale high-risk patients.  

The initiative was launched in 13 major States including: Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Punjab, Puducherry, Bihar, Maharashtra, Odisha, Nagaland, Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Manipur.

One of the earliest roadblocks that StepOne faced was that each state had its own technology platform and vendor. To circumvent this challenge, StepOne onboarded three separate cloud-telephony providers and integrated them with the state governments’ 104 helplines to make the outreach easy for citizens. Any calls that identified a high-risk individual would then be converted into a ticket. 

Tying it all together with Freshdesk

StepOne realized very quickly that their legacy helpdesk was not equipped to deal with high call volume across different platforms and started looking for alternatives. Since most tickets were going to be handled remotely, StepOne needed a tool that could manage this seamlessly for both the doctors and the patients. There were two key features that the team was looking for in a helpdesk software:

  • Enterprise-readiness: StepOne needed a helpdesk software that could match the scale on which it was operating and efficiently manage the growing number of tickets being raised each day.
  • Speed of implementation:  With cases on a steady upward trajectory, speed was of the essence. Even a delay by a single day meant that thousands of patients with symptoms could go undetected.

Freshworks was a leader in the space, had a trustworthy reputation and was ultimately chosen for its reliability and superior ease of use. Freshdesk acted as the case management backbone for the system, connecting the disparate cloud telephony systems implemented across multiple states and the common 104 helpline. An estimated 7000 APIs per minute had to be used on the platform. Despite these complex integration and migration needs, implementation was completed within 3 days and StepOne could officially go live with Freshdesk in 1 week!

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a period of unprecedented challenge. A solution that enables people to reach out for their COVID issues was needed. It had to be scalable. This was put together as Free Telemedicine by StepOne using Freshdesk. The solution helped citizens with quick, accurate, and reliable guidance on COVID and helped isolate critical cases where more care was needed.”

Mr. Munish Moudgil

IAS, Secretary

Govt of Karnataka

Reliability during the toughest of time

At the peak of the pandemic, StepOne was getting over 200,000 calls a day, which it had to route to over 8500+ doctors and mental health professionals. The professionals would then triage positive cases and monitor home quarantine cases. Freshdesk allowed StepOne to integrate the various technologies, unify all incoming calls and give agents the ability to see past history to prescribe the appropriate next steps. 

With the technology stack in place, StepOne was able to deploy multiple solutions to augment the state governments’ fight against COVID-19.

  • COVID Telemed Helpline - A high-capacity and scalable helpline with automated patient screening based on symptoms, contact and travel history. It allows the patients to reach the right expert and get a personalized consultation. This system was implemented across 9 states and within a couple of days!
  • COVID positive triage - Deployed in 2 states, this system allows doctors to identify COVID positive patients, counsel them, and get the proper care. This system ensured better use of the hospital bed inventory.
  • Home Isolation monitoring - Deployed across 3 states, this system allows doctors to ensure home-quarantined patients have access to the right medical care and mental health counselling and respond faster to emergencies.
  • Mass tele-triaging system - This system identifies hotspots based on patient screening and history and allows pin-code-based targeting to communicate with citizens with symptoms and cut the spread chain.

Apart from these, StepOne also launched the following services:

  • IVRS Covid telescreening
  • Web based telescreening bot
  • Mental Health Counselling
  • StepOne National Helpline
  • Plasma Donor Management System
  • StepOne App
  • Covid Data Pipeline
  • Prescription Module
  • Bed Allocation System
  • Vaccine reminders and monitoring

Freshdesk was integral in providing a strong reliable system that supported these efforts. Speaking about the role of Freshworks in StepOne’s COVID-19 response, Arun explains, “In terms of the technology, without a partner like Freshworks, it wouldn’t have been possible to build a fail-proof, scalable system in less than one week. With the kind of robust system Freshdesk had, in the last 11 months, there has not been a single day where it failed. Even at the peak of demand, it was rock solid.”
 

Facilitating vaccination

With the vaccination process underway, StepOne is using its infrastructure to smoothen the process across the vaccination lifecycle:

Pre-vaccination: A vaccine general helpline to provide information to callers and vaccination counselling to inform callers about important precautions and measures to take before getting vaccinated
During vaccine period: Timely reminders, monitoring of adverse effects and triaging reports of adverse reactions 
Post-vaccination: Continued monitoring of adverse effects in vaccine recipients

With the complications inherent in such a large-scale vaccine rollout, Freshdesk will continue to be a central control room to manage incoming requests and provide hassle-free support to citizens. 

The impact

StepOne’s products have already been implemented across 17 states. StepOne has touched 5 million people to date and has facilitated over 900,000 consultations. Using its intelligent triaging and monitoring system, it has prevented over 500,000 contacts that could’ve wreaked havoc on the already stretched medical health infrastructure. Freshworks’ agile, scalable software has undoubtedly played a key role in StepOne’s innovative response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted to build a solution that could spread faster than the virus itself. The country needed a tech solution that could scale rapidly and be fail-proof at all times. We could not have built this without a partner like Freshworks.”

Arun Patre

Project StepOne