Shashank ND, Founder & CEO, Practo discusses the need of dependable information about healthcare professionals in conversation with Romiya Das of Elets News Network (ENN)
What is your opinion on the emerging mHealth market in India vis-a-vis global market?
Mobile is the largest platform in the history of mankind. India is the second largest telecom market and this presents a huge opportunity to help people get better healthcare. This is our mission at Practo to help people live healthier, longer lives globally. Having our presence in multiple countries has given us considerable insights into the industry and we broadly find that the challenges across various countries are similar. With our overseas presence weâ€™ve found the same issue catering acute shortage of dependable information about healthcare professionals.
What according to you are the challenges and opportunities in mHealth industry?
Information asymmetry is the biggestÂ challenge of Indian healthcare. It is not really about how you communicate with the doctor but fundamentally, how do you find the right doctor for you? Providing detailed, credible information on doctors enables people to make better decisions on which healthcare practitioner they want to consult. Our Practo Feedback enables verified patients can provide feedback on their experience with the doctor which is helpful when people are finding the right healthcare professional â€“ suddenly instead of 1-2 friends telling you the right doctor, you can read hundreds of verified patients are saying about a doctor and decide which one you want to consult.
Secondly, the other challenge is that healthcare information is not digitised and hence is not available at all times. This also means that most consumers donâ€™t really have a comprehensive healthcare history which can often lead to incorrect or suboptimal diagnosis and treatment. With Practo Rayâ€™s cloud based SAAS practice management software for doctors, we enable them to manage their practice (scheduling, billing, and inventory) and most importantly – create and share digital records with their patients and patients can in-turn share them with others if they want. It is used by doctors to manage millions of patients a month. We receive over 25 per cent of our traffic from tier II and III cities. Hence, there is massive need for people to get detailed verified information about doctors.
Do you see the need for any policy changes to facilitate the growth of mHealth in India?
We work closely with various stakeholdersÂ including the government and welcome the â€˜Digital Indiaâ€™ and â€˜Make in Indiaâ€™ initiatives which, we are sure, will propel digital health to a billion Indians.
What are the most pressing trends in the mhealth sector?
The most important trend in the healthcare sector is digitisation as digitising information will help patients to get information about the right healthcare practitioner whenever and wherever they want. This is not just limited to doctors but to hospitals, clinics, wellness and fitness centers and professionals as well. Digitisation of the practice and establishments to ensure doctors can focus on patients, and consumers have a seamless experience across finding the doctor, interacting with him and getting their healthcare records digitally including prescriptions as well.
What are Practoâ€™s current operations in India and expansion plans for upcoming years?
Practo is the largest healthcare platform in Asia. Currently, we are present in 35 cities in India and countries including Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia. Presently, we are listed over 2,00,000 doctors, 10,000 hospitals and 5,000 diagnostic centres. Over the next few months, we will expand to cover 100 cities in India, be in 10 countries, grow our team from 1500 to over 2500, and continue to launch more products across curative, medication, preventive, wellness, fitness and more making Practo a single health app for all health and fitness needs.