In India, healthtech startups are a thing. A miserable healthcare system, rising population, and poor access to specialists have essentially opened up a whole new world of opportunities for startups. Since 2007, health tech startups in India have mopped up about US$486 million in funding, according to Tech In Asia data.
Predictably, these trends, coupled with the relative success of Practo, have spurred a bunch of companies to look for ways to fix the country’s otherwise broken healthcare system.
One player in this sector is TopDoctorsOnline, which launched its Android-based app in August this year. What makes it interesting, however, is its lofty but achievable future plans.
To differentiate itself from rivals, founders Anand Chatterjee and Bharat Bhardwaj have decided to up the ante and roll out bespoke healthcare packages on their app. Work is in progress, but they’ve given themselves eight to 10 months to see this through.
“We are creating a health grid for the user. This tracks her details, contents she has looked up, results of her checkups, her profile,” Anand Chatterjee told Tech In Asia
Health grids online
TopDoctorsOnline likes to imagine itself as the Google, Amazon, and Whatsapp of the healthcare world, all rolled into one.
Once on the app, you can chat with one of the 15 general practitioners they employ (so they are dedicated to answering questions), ask for specialized checks from the 50 “super specialists” and 10,000 doctor partners on board, book your ambulance service, a hospital bed, or get a partner lab to schedule a test at home.
Now imagine all these details are stored in one place, with dedicated doctors monitoring your health through test results and checkups you book on the app. That’s what Anand and team are going for.
“If we know one of our users is pregnant, it means she will need pediatric care in nine months. The idea is to provide her a pediatric package then. That’s what we are building towards,” Anand said.
But don’t doctors need to see the patient in person to diagnose them?
We are in discussions with investors currently to raise close to $5 to 6 million right now.
In some cases, sure. But what could be working for the startup is the fact that Indians are now more likely to fall ill from chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, or respiratory troubles, than from acute one like Polio or Tuberculosis.
The World Health Organisation says India needs immediate action to scale up cost-effective interventions for chronic diseases and injuries, which are the leading causes of death and disability in the country.
These chronic diseases often need constant monitoring and tests to help keep track of a patient’s progress, which is what Anand and team are looking to ride on.
“The patient can send her test results to a specialist, who is watching and monitoring your reports constantly,” Anand said.
If the doctor then diagnoses for a physical check, they can book appointments.
TopDoctorsOnline originally began as the MediSurge Group, which is a business-to-business offering for telecom carriers. Those health tips and tricks texts Vodafone sends users? That’s handled by MediSurge.
That part of the business was bringing in enough money to fund the app operations till now, but as the company plans bigger things, they are looking for more money.
“We are in discussions with investors currently to raise close to $5 to 6 million right now,” Anand said.
Well, consultants Frost & Sullivan are expecting India’s healthcare information technology market to hit US$1.45 billion in 2018, up from US$381.3 million in 2012.
It’s a wait and watch for how much of those dollars TopDoctorsOnline can snap up.
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