21 August 2015 13:17:11 IST

Healthcare services, at the click of a button

HelpMeDoc helps make doctor appointment, payments and book tests and medicines, online

Consulting a doctor isn’t easy. First, you have to wait in queue at the clinic or hospital. Then, when you do manage to get the appointment, running around to the lab for tests and then later at the pharmacy is a Herculean task!

Wishing there was an easier way that could help you with these issues? Enter online healthcare platform HelpMeDoc, a one stop platform that aggregates all healthcare needs ranging from booking a doctor’s appointment, to making a payment, listing diagnostic centres and pharmacies.

“We aim to ease the hassle of medical visits by saving the waiting time at clinics. You can look at the various doctors listed on the website and choose, as per your convenience, the budget and area,” founder Suvro Ghosh says.

Doctors and laboratories enter their details through the backend, which the patients can view on the portal. They can search, book online and get a confirmation through SMS and email. Apart from paying the doctors upfront, they can also pay online.

Prior to this venture, Ghosh has had stints in HR and even structural steel design and detailing.

About HelpMeDoc

Suvro Ghosh

Incepted in 2012 by Ghosh and his partner Manish Saxena, it currently caters to Delhi-NCR, with over 6,500 doctors and 70 diagnostic centres listed on the portal. The pharmacy listings, they say, will be launched soon.

“We are working on our mobile app as well. Once we raise some funds, we will upgrade our website, increase brand awareness and expand our reach. Punjab, Kerala, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune are emerging markets, which we are want to tap,” Ghosh says.

As more stakeholders hop on the platform, Ghosh adds that the rating system for doctors is also expected to evolve. Patients can review doctor services, giving them between one and five stars. Another area of focus for the start-up is mental health. “We currently have 35 psychiatrists on our platform. This is also expected to grow in the future,” he said.

Funding model

The company, at present, is bootstrapped with an investment of close to ₹80 lakh. Patients can sign up for free. It earns revenue through selling software to doctors, selling health cards to patients, and via discounts from diagnostic centres. “We offer four kinds of health cards, that are targeted at individuals, families, corporates and senior citizens. They cost between ₹1,500 and ₹3,500,” he says. The cards help maintain medical records, help book appointments, make payments online, etc.

The company also provides ‘DocPractice’ — practice management software — to the doctors on a yearly subscription basis, which allows them to maintain and keep track of their prescription, bills and appointments, digitally. They can be accessed at any time.

HelpMeDoc is set to close its first round of funding, worth $2-4 million. “We are in active talks and expect to close this process soon,” Ghosh says. “Once we close the round of founding, we aim to increase the team strength from current 10 to at least 50, to increase reach in other areas,” he adds.

The difference

This isn’t the only company in the online healthcare segment. Start-ups such as La Renon Healthcare, Practo, Plexus MD and Zywie have successfully managed to raise funding.

“We stand out, because unlike others, we have doctors, diagnostic centres as well as pharmacies on our platform. We also plan to include health insurance in the future,” he says.

The healthcare market is huge and there is enough space for every company to operate, Ghosh believes. “Healthcare in India is very unorganised and honestly, it is a mess. Remote areas don’t even have pharmacies, and there is no data available at the national level. Players such as us, aim to organise this market.”

As the market evolves, the company plans to increase the presence of overseas doctors in the platform. Overseas doctors could use videoconferencing to interact with patients anywhere in the country, he says. “I am a firm believer in the power of the Internet.”