Revolutionizing Healthcare

“The best way to predict the future is to create it”

Entrepreneurship is the need of the hour. Today without good entrepreneurship skills, you’ll have a hard time making it big anywhere. Ideas are hot commodities these days. However just having an idea is not going to get you anywhere, no matter what Abhishekh Bachchan might say. Executing it correctly, marketing it to its best advantage and making sure it reaches the right clients are all keys to establishing any potential venture. With many budding entrepreneurs coming to the fore, India is seeing many startup-businesses being successfully launched. One such startup is Practo, the brainchild of Shashank ND and Abhinav Lal, graduates from National Institute of Technology, Surathkal.

Medicine is evolving in leaps and bounds. So are the ailments. As the population grows, so do the afflicted. And with the rising number of patients come the ever-increasing number of doctors, hospitals and clinics. All these require organization. They require some sort of a network to link them. This is where Practo comes in. Practo’s unique selling proposition (USP), is a host of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that doctors keep track of their medical cases and assist patients in getting touch with the right doctor conveniently.

In simple terms, Practo offers a database of doctors, based on field of specialization, locality, availability and visiting hours. Just like Zomato consolidates all restaurants and eateries in one simple search-engine or Expedia offers all the different hotel and travel deals in one place, so does Practo bring you an organized directory of sorts, listing all the available doctors. It allows you to book appointments with the doctor of a choice, while making it easier for doctors and clinics to manage their appointments as well. Thus Practo essentially endeavours to bridge the gap between patients and their doctors.

But booking appointments is not the only solution offered by this innovative venture. It also helps maintaining patient records in a consolidated form, as digital data that can be accessed from anywhere. This makes transferring of cases and taking second opinions easier, eliminating the arduous task of maintaining files and physical records. In short, your experience as a patient becomes a whole lot better and smoother. And why shouldn’t it be? When Myntra, Flipkart, Lenskart etc give you a richer shopping experience, Make my trip conveniently takes care of your travel itinerary, why can’t your healthcare experience be made efficient and comfortable in the same manner? In 2008 Shashank was struck by this very thought as he struggled to get a second opinion on a surgery his father was about to undergo, facing difficulty in transferring medical records and prescriptions to a doctor abroad. He realized that this was one field which was hitherto unexplored. Thus was born the idea to start Practo, aiding patients and doctors alike through its clinic management software solutions that help increase the efficiency of healthcare facilities.

Originally set up in Bangalore, the company now operates in 8 major cities in India, with plans to expand abroad. Practo offers three unique SaaS products. The startup’s flagship solution Practo Ray helps doctors register new patients, schedule and update appointments, and maintain electronic patient records. Second is Practo Virtual Receptionist or Practo Hello, which is a cloud-computing based call management system, offering a medical hotline for round the clock consulting. Third is Practo Groups which is an online forum for healthcare professionals and communities to come together. Already over 40,000 doctors are using this facility, with about 10,000 appointments being managed a day. Clinics get charged by the month, depending on number of appointments and location.

With a 4 million dollars funding from Sequoia Capital already in the bag, the venture is now looking to hit the 10 million revenue mark by 2016, and enroll 3 lakh doctors. The founders hope to foray into the US market as well, because of the advanced healthcare facilities there. With the increasing penetration of internet and popularity of online services and transactions, Practo is sure to hit it big in the coming years. Well Mr. Bachchan you did get it right in this case. An idea truly can change your life.

Kaveri Sharma

I am a student currently pursuing engineering. Reading is my passion, writing more than just my hobby. On any given day I'd rather be at home, curled up with a thriller novel than out partying. Yours truly :)

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