Like the hassle-free delivery of government services to citizen, there has always been a need to smoothen the process of connecting doctors and patients. From big hospitals to large chain of healthcare providers have tried this, but thanks to health-tech startups like Practo, the way things have streamlined in the last couple of years is commendable.
Practo is no Flipkart or Ola but it has the potential to be one among them. The way it has integrated entire healthcare ecosystem in its online platform is testimony to this. Since, the launch of its services in 2009 and Practo.com in 2013, the Bangalore headquartered firm has acquired four companies – FitHo, Genii, Insta Health Solution and Qikwell and today, it claims itself to be the world’s largest appointment booking platform with nearly 40 million appointments managed every year.
“Today, we manage over 35 million healthcare records, 40 million appointments, over 100 million healthcare searches annually and connect tens of millions of patients to over 200,000 healthcare practitioners,” said Shashank ND, founder and CEO of Practo.
If you go by the words of Shashank, these figures show that the way today’s doctors and patients communicate are being changed by the unified digital platform. The old days of relying on words of mouth to visit a reliable doctor or sit for long hours in waiting areas are being replaced by mobile apps and websites that provide comprehensive information about hospitals, doctors, their specialties and patient feedback.
This technology intervention is not new, traditionally, most of the hospitals and healthcare service providers have been using standalone clinical information systems (CIS) and non-clinical information system (NCIS) leading to silos and high maintenance costs. But with the emergence of cloud technology, the potential to provide cost efficient information and communications technology (ICT) services in the healthcare industry has increased and companies like Practo are leveraging it to offer a cloud-based healthcare software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform (HSP) to deliver healthcare information services with low cost, high clinical value, and high usability.
So buoyed is the company that it has not only increased footprint to a wider markets, in fact, in recent past, the number of revenue generating streams have also increased from traditional Practo’s Ray and Practo Reach services to three more services – Qikwell by Practo, Insta by Practo, Practo Tab.
According to Shashank, each of these is a strong monetisation channel and will be instrumental in helping achieve profitability by next year. “In fact, certain parts of Practo’s business are already profitable and we are on track to achieve full profitability by next year,” he said. Since 2012, when Sequoia Capital invested $4 million, Practo has so far received $124 million funding from different venture capital firms.
Practo Ray, a cloud based clinic management software for doctors that digitises the entire practice management for which doctors and clinics pay an annual subscription has seen substantial uptake. According to Shashank, in this segment Practo has 90% market share in India and are rapidly expanding this to more markets.
Similarly, Practo Reach, a hyper local targeted ad platform that allows healthcare establishments like hospitals, diagnostic centers and clinics to advertise to the relevant consumers is witnessing pent-up demand. Now company is expanding to 100 cities in India to cover rural and semi-rural areas. “Even today, over 25% of our search traffic comes from tier 2/3 cities and towns which shows huge pent-up demand to find and access high quality doctors in these areas,” Shashank said.
In addition, Practo has forayed into OPD management with the acquisition of Qikwell and health information management system (HIMS) with Insta. Both of these are offered as SaaS model to help hospitals and diagnostic centers streamline their operation.