By Anusha Ashwin Telemedicine, which is the combination of medical science and Information Technology (IT), has created wide opportunities for delivering improved health care. The Internet now plays a critical role in enabling and providing cost-effective, instant and affordable healthcare to a widely dispersed population in India.
Catching up among other key market players in the telemedicine sector in India is Gurgaon-headquartered Doctor Insta that promises to bring doctors instantly through video-conferencing and online chat bots for consultations at a patient’s doorstep.
Amit Munjal, the brain behind Doctor Insta has had previous stints at different fortune 50 Companies at CXO level. Out of his solid experience in entrepreneurship, he knew that he was not making a mistake in returning to India from US to set-up Doctor Insta. Previously, he has held senior positions at Citi Holdings USA, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Deloitte Consulting and Johnson Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation & Kauffman Foundation.
“The idea to set up Doctor Insta occurred when I used a similar service while being on a remote island of Hawaii and the video consultation solved my problem right away saving me plenty of time and money. So, I wanted to launch a similar service in India for the overall wellbeing of people and for bringing ‘On-Demand’ preventive and curative healthcare to everyone’s doorsteps,” explains 39-year-old Munjal.
“I moved to India in January 2015 and started working on this idea along with Dr Parshant Jain. We hired 4 people who helped us in developing the apps and the website. I invested my own savings. It took us few months to create the product and conduct the alpha and beta testing before formally launching our services in 2015,” says Munjal.
Parshant Jain is the Chief Health Officer of Doctor Insta. He has more than 16 years of experience in diverse fields like practicing medicine and providing management consulting to technology companies and startups.
Enabling virtual doctors-on-demand
With just over a year in the field, Doctor Insta has quickly established a pan-India presence with consultations rendered to the most remote part of the country. Munjal justifies that Doctor Insta will create waves in the industry as in this fast paced world, beating traffic and other ordeals to get to consult a doc is quite an uphill task for workaholics as well as geriatrics. Besides, most patients, especially those that approach a physician with expertise in sexology and psychology, fearing social stigma, prefer to keep the consultation unknown to the outside world. In another instance, in patients with low immunity, contracting infections from a source within the hospital might pose a health risk. Also, patients tend to procrastinate a doctor’s visit, overlooking minor symptoms that could be possible diagnostic indicators for one’s medical condition. On the other hand, from a doctor’s point of view, telemedicine paves a way for using underutilized hospital human resources.
Now, using its cutting-edge Video Medicine Technology through Web, Android and iOS, Doctor Insta solves all the above mentioned situations. Munjal says that his highly educated and trained doctors on the panel give the best possible advice in 15-30 mins and his company’s services are available “Anytime, Anywhere” for his patients 24x7x365. “We have empanelled 40 Doctors. Each doctor can do 50 consultations a day. So, we can do around 2,000 consultations a day at this point of time,” says Munjal.
Doctor Insta has two different apps. One is for the doctors who use the app to manage their appointments, key-in their availability and other hospital related information. The other app is for the patients/users to maintain their records and for video conferencing. Unlike other telemedicine operators, Doctor Insta does not believe in charging subscription fees but patients pay only for their e-visits. Mujal has three different models for a sustainable approach to his business.
- The Business to Customers (B2C) approach where users pay a standard fee of Rs 400 per consultation with specialist doctors.
- Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C) – A hybrid model for the employers for their employees, wherein the employer pays a small ‘Per Month Per Member’ fee and the employees can consult a specialized doctor at a discounted price.
- Doctor Insta Inclusion (DII) designed specifically for rural parts of India in collaboration with companies setting-up e-kiosks. Users pay a standard fee of Rs 100-150 per consultation with the Doctor.
“A first time user can connect with a doctor in just 4 easy steps and in less than three minutes. Patients download the app (iOS or Android) or visit the website (www.DoctorInsta.com) and after initial registration can book an instant appointment with the Doctor. Patients also have an option to schedule an appointment at a time according to their preference in different specialty areas. Prescription is sent in email as well as inside the App Patient Profile. A follow-up consultation is also provided free of cost within 7 days after the initial appointment has been booked,” details Munjal.
On the pulse of business
In less than one year’s time, Doctor Insta managed to attract the attention of investors. Munjal could prove that his telemedicine company was worth an investment. Around December 2015, in a pre-Series A round of funding, the company received $500,000 from angel investor Rishi Parti and US-based venture capital firm, BrahmaX Ventures. Parti is the Founder and Managing Director of Info-X, a logistic solutions provider, while California-headquartered BrahmaX Ventures primarily invests in technology-focused companies in India and USA.
But Munjal is certainly not done with raising funds. He says that his company will soon be in news for raising additional capital, ranging between $1 million and $2 million, to fuel further growth. The funds will primarily be used for marketing, promotion and product development, indicates Munjal.
Doctor Insta is notably taking the right measures in promoting the company. Munjal explains, “We promote our company through social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Viber. We have received positive response from our alliance partners such as PayTm, MobiKwik and also through India’s leading coupon providers. We are also exploring various offline channels as well such as radio campaigns, print ads, promotional activities at malls and other engaging corporate activities.”
Doctor Insta has partnered with all the major coupon providers in India. Patients use the coupon providers’ discount for their e-visits. “The idea at this point of time is to increase customer engagement and adoption. People visit these sites to find different coupons and use them to buy our services,” indicates Munjal.
India, already is an emerging country for telemedicine business and Munjal, being a smart business man, certainly knows how to escalate his business offerings to stay successful among the pack of other telemedicine providers. Outlining the road map ahead he says, “We are in the midst of rolling out our services with different educational institutes. Under this model, the students can avail the services of Doctor Insta 24x7x365 by paying a very nominal fee per annum. It makes more sense for the students staying at the campus to gain access to doctors across different specializations, without having to leave their hostels.”
Munjal is very optimistic about his company’s growth. Although, he is faced with stiff competition in the telemedicine sector by existing players as well as emerging ones, he feels that there is lot of room for sustained expansion. “The telemedicine healthcare market in India is still in its nascent stage and has great potential to address serious health care concerns. The two main challenges faced in India is the access to good healthcare and the affordability of such services and Doctor Insta and other telemedicine company can tackle this problem,” explains Munjal.
The coming two years will see Munjal’s company gain traction as he intends to foray other developing and less developed nations in alliance with strategic partners in those countries. “There are 1 million allopathic doctors in India, each doing 50 consultations a day. There are 50 million consultations happening in India every day. In the next two years, we want to acquire just 2% of this market i.e., 1 million consultations a day,” says a confident Munjal.
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