The Indian healthcare space is in crisis. Malpractices such as demands for unnecessary tests from doctors, lack of transparency and fake medication plague the industry. To top this, the ratio of doctors, especially specialists, to patients is dismal, standing at around 1 : 1700 according to a study conducted in 2013. A new mobile-based video consulting platform for patients across India, seeDoc, aims to address these shortcomings in the system. seeDoc allows patients to connect with the best doctors in the country over mobile networks.
“We realized there is a huge gap in terms of providing good, transparent healthcare for families in India,” said co-founder, Vivek Bansal who along with Jaideep Singh started the company. “There are various malpractices and little focus on providing good primary care. I wanted to see how we can apply our technology backgrounds to solve accessibility and transparency issues.”
seeDoc brings together technology such advanced video, mobile, voice and artificial intelligence with the experience and expertise of leading doctors with at least 10-15 years’ experience from across the country. The focus is on making available the highest quality medical care in a trustworthy and transparent manner anytime, anywhere.
A comprehensive primary healthcare portal, seeDoc provides complete care from when a visitor shares his medical concern until they receive a satisfactory treatment plan from a leading doctor. Using the medical consultation application, users can ask questions to leading doctors, choose to go in for a video consultation, have medication delivered at home, and even have diagnostic tests done from home, all this while having their complete medical records in one place. seeDoc makes no money on the prescription drugs or lab tests that diagnosis or treatment calls for.
The founders are both Silicon valley serial tech entrepreneurs who decided to return to India, only to be frustrated with the healthcare system in the country. Upon seeing the potential of technology and healthcare in India after rigorous and deep research into the market conditions and opportunities, Vivek Bansal and Jaideep Singh set up business in early 2015, after assembling the technology and marketing teams along with the team of doctors. Vivek and Jaideep have been at the helm of startups in the United States earlier (Jaideep is Co-Founder of the search engine Spock which was acquired by Intelius and Bansal held senior positions at Globescan after it purchased his software startup Ficon Technology), and this experience has helped them overcome several hurdles and avoid gaps in the know-how.
seeDoc functions from 8am-10pm and doctors respond within a timeframe of two days but urgent healthcare is a priority to them and they are looking at going 24/7 soon. With over 750,000 downloads to date, seeDoc is soon approaching the one million mark. “This is validation that the opportunity is indeed very big.”, says Vivek. They have handled around 25000 video conferences so far, conducting roughly 500 conferences on a busy day. Users can ask a question by text for free, while video consultations range from 300 to 800 rupees, depending on each provider’s location and level of experience. Today, they consult in the areas of dermatology, sexual health, pre and post-natal issues and diabetes management apart from their core business area of primary health. seeDoc also works with top specialists in the areas of cardiology, pediatrics, internal medicine and gynecology.
Many startups are already using video conferencing to aid patients by providing quick access to economical healthcare. seeDoc’s competitors include Lybrate (which is funded by Tiger Global), and iCliniq. The company plans to differentiate by making sure all of its doctors see patients regularly so they are guaranteed a steady income through the platform. “One of the key aspects of our business model is to keep utilization of doctors high”, says Bansal. He says that all of seeDoc’s doctors presently see around 30 patients a day, or the current maximum.
The venture has been run on the founders’ own capital thus far. Now, however, they have received funding from early stage venture capitalists, the details of which will be made available through a press release to be held in June of this year.
“Having taken the past year to build a scalable platform and thanks to previous experience, most issues have been handled”, says Vivek Bansal, Co-Founder, seeDoc. “We are now looking at increasing focus on more patient engagement and at monetizing the same.”
The types of engagement will be tailor-made according to the age, demographics, and symptoms. Also, chemists, lab partners, and pharmaceutical companies are being roped in to increase the value and brand proposition of seeDoc. Given the size of the market, it is a multibillion-dollar opportunity that awaits seeDoc. Primary Healthcare Management is estimated to be a $280 Billion market by 2020 with current per-annum growth rates pegged at 15%. seeDoc is looking at raising further capital ( to continue to remain the market leaders) to invest into brand building and customer engagement. “However, the biggest value addition we bring to the healthcare landscape remains our capability to provide video conferencing with some of the best doctors in the country”, says Vivek.
In the future, they will be looking at entering the South East Asian market.