The Indian healthcare sector is slowly but steadily gearing up for a more efficient future; a future, where the gap between healthcare services and consumers diminishes, and mismanagement in services becomes less and less. PolicyBazaar Group’s latest venture, Docprime, is a step in that direction. The newly launched venture aims to connect patients with doctors in real time, bridging the gap between need and fulfillment through technology and offline networking.
In an interview with The Tech Panda, Ashish Gupta, CEO of Docprime, says there is a true digital field in India that is transforming the health ecosystem, however, the primary challenge in digitising the healthcare sector is the same as one faces in trying to digitise any other sector, that of trust.
“Whenever you start digitally, there is a massive question asked of why people should trust you, and I think that is the first block that has to be solved. Once that is solved, you can you keep providing more and more services and make it as conducive as possible,” he says.
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He says what is required is to build a complete ecosystem where different systems talk to each other, so that no matter where the customer is, the customer information is available. “The clinic-management solutions today are quite broken in the sense that they’re not integrated with each other. Many of them do not even work online, so that only the clinic has the information, while the customer has no updates. The ones that have customer updates are often siloed for a few doctors only.”
He however does predict a lot of innovation in this sector, since it is currently highly dependent on manual operation. “The ecosystem is getting a lot of players, who are coming up with a lot of technology and automation to make a consumer’s life easy as well a doctor that much more efficient, such that they can also build a more successful business.”
How it started
PolicyBazaar has made a name in the market of insurance, specifically, retail, health, term, and motor insurances, currently occupying 90% of the market share in India. However, Gupta says health is still a highly under penetrated market. While almost everybody in India who are digitally savvy and have health insurance on their mind were already coming to PolicyBazaar, the company wanted to go up the funnel and reach out to more customers.
“We wanted to take it further and make our brand available to consumers who are thinking and consuming our health services right now but may not be thinking of insurance yet,” he explains.
While they thought of building a concierge service, they shelved the idea, when exploring the market, they realised that there was a much larger play available and without any serious players.
“There were a couple of players but none of them looked very strong when it came to customer fit and servicing the customer. The concept of Docprime not only makes the market completely available, but is also aligned to give long-term benefit to PolicyBazaar and can be an independent unit in itself,” he says.
How it works
Docprime is essentially building an AI-driven consultation platform that will have real doctors at the back end. Their aim while designing the process of Docprime was to digitise and automate as much as possible.
“To digitise any market, its various fragments have to be analysed. The healthcare sector too has many fragments like, basic consultation, discovery of doctors, availability and access to tests around you, health records, so on and so forth. We looked at each of these components and thought of how to digitise them,” he says.
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Docprime plans to try and automate processes, such that they can become a person’s free family doctor, who can confirm whether the person has a casual problem or a serious one. The platform also provides the service of digitally diagnosing up to a point, after which the user can take it forward. In the case that digital is not a good enough medium to diagnose the problem, the system can refer the problem to a doctor. The platform offers online services for discovery of doctors or of a person who could assist better, lab tests, etc.
The USP of Docprime lies in the fact that it comes with an array of technology that was built at PolicyBazaar. Gupta, who has been working as the CTO for PolicyBazaar.com, says that the new venture will inherit its parent’s model of supporting their customers for free.
“As a DNA, we really understand consumers well and know how to support them. Our biggest USP is that we have built a lot of technology with a services mind set. We have never charged the customer and are always available for them. That is the tech plus services that PolicyBazaar offers, which typically is not available in healthcare,” he explains.
Promising similar quality in service as its parent, Docprime too has a chat module on their primary page. Gupta says they want to show their commitment that they are happy to spend and build the resources as well as back it up with technology, so that the costs are under control.
While the first version of DocPrime has already been released, from the perspective of training, the system will train the engine over the next six-eight months. They intend to build the entire ecosystem of clinic-management ability to seamlessly transfer data between doctors, labs, and any other ecosystem providers. They are trying to introduce an ecosystem that will allow free exchange of information, digitisation, and transparency, such that consumers can benefit.