70% of primary health care issues can be solved without the physical presence of the patient
The healthcare market in India is expected to reach $280 billion by 2020. Online medical consultation allows people to connect and consult with leading medical specialists from the comfort of their homes along with the option of future follow ups, if required. Online consultation is emerging as an effective option to offline consultation and people from any part of the country, who have internet connectivity, can have access to medical specialist within minutes. This trend is quite effective as 90% of the medical specialists reside in top 10 cities that host a mere 10% of the country’s population while 90% of our population resides in areas below Tier II and III cities.
DocsApp, the only ISO certified medical app in India, addresses this issue by connecting people across locations with medical specialists within 30 minutes through chat or a call. The app, which facilitates over 60,000 consultations per month offering 24×7 service, has been declared as the best medical app of the year 2017 (emerging category) by Amazon in association with Facebook. Users can order medicines and also book home pickup of samples for diagnostic tests using this app.
Manish Joshi of NewsBarons provides excerpts of an interaction with Satish Kannan, Co-Founder & CEO, DocsApp who stated ‘The addressable market for DocsApp is estimated to be $43B by end of 2020’.
NB: What are the challenges in promoting online healthcare in India?
Satish: Education about online healthcare and doctor consultation was a huge challenge as people were not aware about the possibility of online consultation and were also worried about the authenticity of the doctors and data safety. We also had to create awareness about how 70% of primary health care issues can be solved without the physical presence of the patient and why it is important to talk to doctors instead of doing self-medication or consulting a pharmacist. Difficulty in adopting to technology was another problem that stopped users from availing online services. To address this, we made the UI and UX of the app like WhatsApp which helped patients understand how to talk to doctors using the app. We also created a doctor profile section for patients to view details of doctors and read previous reviews before consulting them.
Satish: Yes, people are comfortable sharing their personal details on our platform as we ensure that all the data shared on the app is completely private and secure.
NB: Quality Healthcare is a huge challenge in rural India. How do you plan to reach the interiors of India with your services?
Satish: True. There is only 1 doctor for every 1600 people as opposed to the WHO standard of 1 doctor for every 1000 people. There are only 150,000 specialist doctors in India and 90% of the doctors reside in top 10 cities hosting a mere 10% of the country’s populace, the truth of the matter is that 90% of the country’s population reside in areas below the tier two and tier 3 cities.
Due to the recent penetration of internet and smartphones, people residing in rural and remote areas have access to DocsApp to consult specialists instead of travelling to metros doctor consultations.
The urban to rural usage of the platform has also witnessed a remarkable increase with 40% of the total consultations happening from rural parts of the country.
NB: What is the present geographical reach and expansion plans?
Satish: We do not have any geographical constraints. With a team of 100 members, we serve patients pan India. We have over 3000 doctors and over 3 million users on the app. At present, the app facilitates over 60,000 consultations per month and we aim to serve over 3, 00,000 patients per month by this time next year. We have plans to expand across South-east Asia soon.
We also deliver medicines and offer home pickups for diagnostic tests from over 3600 pin codes.
Our overall vision is to make DocsApp a trusted platform to get authentic medical advice easily over the mobile for patients.