AT A time when e-commerce has made the services of personal trainers, tutors, carpenters and plumbers available on demand, can the services of a doctor remain unavailable online? Mobile-only healthcare start-up DocsApp promises access to a qualified doctor at half-an-hour’s notice, at any time of the day or night. The start-up, founded by Satish Kannan and Enbasekar Dinadayalane in 2015, offers a chat-based model for patient-doctor consultation that does not need prior appointments or waiting longer than 30 minutes.
“Two apps that have penetrated India without the need of training are Facebook and WhatsApp,” says Satish Kannan, co-founder and CEO, DocAspp. The interaction medium on DocsApp is similar to that of WhatsApp,
connecting a user base of more than 3,50,000 patients and 12,000 doctors. The chat-based platform aids in maintaining doctor-patient confidentiality and the latter has 24 by 7 access to the doctor.
“In addition to consultation via chat and call, we will also enable video calling for user with high speed internet connectivity in the next couple of months,” he says.
Docs App gets around 45,000 patients every month. Its rivals in the healthcare segment include Practo and Lybrate. It lists only doctors with an MD degree and at least five years of experience across 12 specialties—gynaecology, psychiatry, cardiology, sexology, ophthalmology, infertility, general medicine, dermatology, dentistry, neurology, paediatrics, and gastroenterology. The consultation fee on DocsApp ranges from R100-500, depending on the specialty.
Under value-added services, DocsApp provides lab sample pick-up across 3,000 locations in the country where the lab reports are delivered on the app interface. Through back-end integration with the DocsApp platform, doctors get automatic access to the reports. It has tie-ups with Thyrocare, Apollo and SRL Diagnostics for the service. DocsApp has tie-ups with Apollo Pharmacy and Netmeds to sell medicines prescribed by the doctors. It can fulfill delivery within four hours to 80 cities but requires 3-4 days to deliver medicines to the remaining cities.
Pharmacy services of the company fetch 20% margin, while Kannan pegged the commission on lab tests at 10%. Commission on consultation fee is the highest and forms the lion’s share of the revenue. Kannan declined to share the revenue figures but said that it clocks 30% growth in revenues month-on-month. It hopes to be profitable by March 2019.
The most popular form of payment on the app is via debit cards, followed by mobile wallets and credit cards. It has also introduced a modified version of carrier billing which can be used by patients who do not have access to debit/credit cards or mobile wallets. It has tied up will telecom operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Aircel which deduct the amount payable from the user’s talktime balance on his mobile phones, Kannan explained.
In May 2016, DocsApp raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Japanese venture Capital firm Rebright Partners and Facebook angel investors Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan. The start-up plans to raise its next round of funding in the second quarter of 2017, with the capital to be allocated towards marketing and scaling up operations.