Starting on March 24th, 2020 as one of the first private labs to be authorised by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to conduct Covid-19 testing in India, Suburban Diagnostics - a pioneer in the medical diagnostics arena now completes six months, testing over 3,00,000 patients for Covid-19. From establishing dedicated and distinct centres for Covid and non-Covid tests to setting up drive- through centres and multiple molecular bio labs, Suburban Diagnostics has witnessed a major transition, upgrading infrastructure, technology and operations drastically to be playing a pivotal role in the nation’s corona war. Suburban Diagnostics has also been the only lab to provide an online booking facility with a testing algorithm to ensure a contactless experience at the centre.
“We realised that our role is going to be extremely crucial in the country’s war against Covid-19, which led us to act on the front foot. The challenge was to accommodate maximum within the available resources and hence, building the necessary infrastructure and SOPs has been our first step to fight the crisis by reducing the turnaround time. We continue to make necessary additions to increase our capacities as the situation gets demanding by the day”, says Mr. Sushant Kinra, COO, Suburban Diagnostics.
With the Covid-19 tally crossing over 63 lakh cases in India, the company foresees expansion and infrastructure development as key to being a major contributor to the Covid-19 crisis in the country. In order to speed up the process of testing, which would, in turn lead to a better recovery rate, additional molecular bio labs have been set up by the company in Mumbai and Pune in August 2020, functioning 24x7, in multiple shifts. Starting with 200 tests daily in March 2020, the company has increased its capacities with manpower, as well as infrastructure, to be conducting 4000 tests daily, as of today.
“During the onset of the pandemic, it has been a huge learning curve to be tackling challenges, right from training our staff to work as Covid-warriors amidst the fear and crisis situation to the procurement of PPE kits and swabs. We are extremely thankful to our staff and their families for their understanding and support during these life-threatening times. We have witnessed Covid-heroes in our organization, who, in spite of falling prey to the virus have extended further support, along with their families. This has been invaluable and overwhelming for us”, he added.
Serving as a backbone in overcoming the crisis in Mumbai’s Dharavi area with their testing facility, the company has also efficiently met with BMC and ICMR rules and regulations regarding data management. A special data management team was deployed to meet the turnaround time. “We have been working with BMC teams that are spearheaded by India’s true COVID hero - Assistant Municipal Commissioner, Mr. Kiran Dighavkar and it has been a humbling experience for all of us at Suburban. Arranging testing camps and explaining the purpose of testing/tracing to the people of Dharavi to calm their nerves and timely reporting helped to contain the virus in the most critical zone of India”, added Mr. Kinra. The company was also amongst the first labs in the country to start a drive- thru centers in Mumbai. Before visiting the drive-thru collection center, one has to simply book online, fill up their details as required by ICMR and make payment. At the drive thru, the customer while seated in his/her vehicle can display the online booking on his phone and get the test done.
The company has extended testing facilities and devised guidelines to help businesses and MNCs embrace the new normal across various industries namely healthcare, government institutions, shipping, aviation, entertainment, corporates and hospitality. The company is also serving as the only service provider at the Mumbai International Airport. They have facilitated extensive home visits with dedicated Covid and non-Covid technicians at homes as well as housing societies.
Currently their antigen testing is powered by smart technology- an app developed by the company for Antigen testing at BMC sites that helps capture all ICMR mandatory details. This fast-tracks the entire process, from registration to sample collection to report readiness within just 15 mins helping the company to support all BMC camps for antigen testing.