Patna-based Medishala, a tech-driven healthcare startup, provides online healthcare facilities through telemedicine and video conferencing to hinterland “Our aim is to bring doctors to the people, instead of the other way around,” says Rituraj Swamy, 24-year-old Co- founder.
Started in October 2018, Medishala is founded by Suman Sourav, Rituraj Swamy, Mohammad Amanullah and Prince Kumar, hailing from Samastipur, Siwan, Ranchi and Hilsa respectively. Batchmates in BIT Mesra, Patna, they came up with the idea when they saw their batchmates in Patna receiving frequent calls to book doctors’ appointment, from their relatives residing in different parts of Bihar.
“During our research we found that about 70% of the patients visiting city hospitals come from rural areas,” shares Suman Sourav, Co-founder, Medishala.
Medishala is run by a team of 25 people with 350 doctors on board including general physicians, dentists, psychiatrist, oncologists, neurologists and surgeons.
Considering the problem of low-speed internet, irregular electricity supply and tech illiteracy, the healthcare startup has set up ‘Appointment Booking Centers’ in rural areas. “We collaborated with the pharmacies to book appointments on behalf of people, as people in rural areas, in prefer pharmacy as an alternative to Doctor in emergency situations,” Said Prince Kumar, Co-founder, Medishala.
“Two years hence, Medishala has opened ‘Appointment booking centers’ in more than 70 Panchayats,” adds the co-founder.
Medishala claims to stand out from its competitor Practo and 1mg, with their ‘Digital clinics’. It is a Medishala center where attendants help people connect with doctors online and provide additional services using IoT equipment. “IOT equipment helps doctors get live pulse rates of the patients online, they can also carry out ECG tests of the patient in the clinic using the device. In a few months, Clinic will also provide digital X-rays within minutes, making the treatment efficient,” shares Amanullah, Co-founder, Medishala.
“We now have ‘Digital Clinics’ in Samastipur and Barahiya, we are planning to open five Digital Clinics in four months,” adds 24-year-old Co-founder.
Quacks are the biggest competitor of Medishala in rural areas. “Rural population is highly inclined towards the traditional alternative practice of visiting Quacks, who exploit them heavily, costing their health,” shares Amanullah.
The startup used a door-to-door campaign to reach out to the villagers. “We get 6-8 patients in Digital clinics on a daily basis,” shares Amanullah. Based on the patient’s health, the doctor calls them for diagnosis to the city or prescribes medicines during a virtual consultation. The founders claim the consultation fee varies from Rs 60 to Rs 200, depending on the doctor.
“We aim to work towards bridging the healthcare gap between the urban and the rural areas,” says Rituraj Swamy, Co-founder, Medishala.
Medishala, started with undisclosed amount raised from friends and family, now earns its revenue from consultation, transactions from medicines, lab tests, insurance, pathology checkups and arrangement for ambulance services.
They claim to have more than five hundred patient visits per day, on their app, the healthtech startup eyes further to set up forty e-clinics and thirty-six telemedicine clinics with an anticipated benefit of around one crore in the financial year 2021.