Technology driven businesses involved in healthcare are on a rise in India. In the world’s second most populous country, scaling up and penetration might be tough, but high yielding. While there are startups like Practo and Lybrate which are aiding people to discover the right doctors around them, an upcoming app startup myCOL is trying to simplify the process of hospitalisation for patients and caretakers.
Founded in 2014, New Delhi based Circle of Life Healthcare Private Limited is a technology enabled healthcare startup, which aims to simplify in-patient healthcare delivery solutions in emerging markets, through its mobile application ‘myCOL’. It helps users to search information regarding hospitals, doctors or procedures. It provides verified and unbiased information of all medical facilities through a map based search. And soon it will allow its users to book an on-site assistant to help them at different stages of hospitalisation.
The company was started by Mudit Kapoor and Vaibhav Singh. Previously, Mudit was an assistant professor of Economics & Public Policy at the Indian School of Business. Earlier, he was consultant at the World Bank in Washington DC. Vaibhav has 17+ year experience in consulting, private equity and advisory at KPMG, Kinnevik Sweden, Mckinsey, and The Xander Group.
“Our vision is to democratize healthcare and remove the fear which patients and caretakers feel when approaching a hospital for an in-patient procedure. Having been through personal experiences at hospitals in India, all our team members understand this and want to make a difference so that your next visit to the hospital is stress free,” said Vaibhav Singh, Co-Founder and CEO.
The Company is focusing on the NCR market for the pilot and has aggressive plans to roll out its service to other markets, nationally and internationally, shortly.
What Problems is it Solving and How
Getting admitted into a hospital is not without its own hassles, especially for those who require some assistance. Gathering medical history records, insurance coordination with the hospital, finding the right doctor, awareness of the right treatment are some things that people face. The company is trying to provide help in these areas.
It a provides a personal health assistant to users who will take care of all their administrative needs in the hospital. It offers a solution to maintain a patient’s health records, bills, prescriptions and reports. With the help of its Android app, patients can access and share their health records anytime, anywhere. The app has a reminder feature which allows user to schedule a medical appointment or test or any medication.
Its primary services involve a database of medical facilities and practitioners on its app, assignment of a personalized assistant to each user requiring hospital admission. This assistant, as the company says, helps in all admission/administrative formalities to take the patient from the comfort of his/her home to the hospital room. Additionally it helps in insurance coordination, discharge & post discharge assistance as well.
While there aren’t technology companies offering personalised assistance for hospitalisation itself, there are many startups/companies which are operating in healthcare sector and have an OPD focus including Practo, Zocdoc, Ziffi, Lybrate, Helpingdoc, Credihealth, Qikwell, curofy, Praxify, and Doctrz among others.
The Company is completely privately funded with some support from HNI friends and family. The funds have been used for office establishment costs, product design, development and testing as well as for hiring new talent. The Company is now looking to raise external funding to increase the network of hospitals where the assistant service is to be made available, and the new capital to hire more employees and to expand to other markets.
Response received till now
The company claims that the response has been overwhelming from test patients as well as public and private hospitals. Apart from resolving some basic issues for patients, myCOL provides a service to hospitals as well, by removing asymmetry of information which exists regarding hospital beds and thereby helping improve the occupancy levels as well as the overall market for hospitals.
The startup is completely free for the users and the company wants to promote themselves as a preferred choice of all patients and caretakers needing to visit a hospitals. In the near term, a nominal service fee is being charged to hospitals as ‘market development and service fee’ to cover the resource intensive assistance service being provided to patients and to handle the administrative tasks at admission, insurance and discharge on their behalf.
Future Plans or Growth Strategy
The Company is headquartered in New Delhi and expects to set up branch offices in all major cities of India shortly. It intends to roll-out its service in Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore by March 2016 and then Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune by September 2016. It targets to launch its Medical Tourism business by March 2016 with an initial focus on the Middle East and Africa.
Market Size and Opportunity for the Startup
Indian health care industry (which includes hospitals, medical infrastructure, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, health insurance and medical equipment) is developing at a great pace and is expected to reach $160 billion by 2017, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.
In the near future heavy investments by private sector are likely to contribute significantly in the development of India’s hospital industry. It is expected that the sector is poised to grow to $280 billion by 2020, at an average CAGR of 21% from 2012 to 2020. Of this total healthcare investment in the country, hospitals will account for 71% i.e. $196 billion. With startups like Practo doing well, such companies which are also taking care of hospitalisation do seem to have scope in the country.