It’s just a month since Practo announced its Series C round and there has already been announcements of international market expansions. But there’s no stopping Practo. Today, Practo announced a cash and equity acquisition of Qikwell. The fourth acquisition in five months, Practo believes now they're closer towards covering the whole healthcare technology platform.
The Qikwell team as a whole will be joining the Practo team. This is in line with Practo's recent plans of touching close to half dozen acquisitions by the end of FY 2015.
Together, they intend to serve 40 million appointments in a year. Started by Krishna Prasad Chitrapura and and Raghavendra TS in 2011, Qikwell has over 100 employees and has presence across 250 hospitals in 19 cities. "With this we become a leader in the world," adds Shashank.
This, Shashank adds, will ensure there is a complete coverage of the ecosystem -- search and discovery app, SaaS based product, the HIMS integration, and now with covering the entire appointment booking space.
Krishna says that most of the time is wasted waiting to get a doctor and that gave rise to Qikwell. The idea was to ensure that a patient can meet a doctor. The answer came to the team looking at the train booking systems. He adds that with Qikwell, patients can book appointments through Tatkal systems, in advance or walk in directly like the unreserved space.
"So we have constraint based algorithm that balances the yield for the doctor and also reduces the patient waiting time," adds Krishna Prasad.
"As an engineer I knew technology and wanted to use that in healthcare. It was the vision to help people to live longer. It was a health app for health data and services. By creating a hyper loop of both the consumer and the doctor side with a single health app and the SaaS product Practo Ray was how we decided to capture the market," adds Shashank.
But Shashank says it's now about the enterprises. That's what gave rise to Practo Reach. Insta Health in this effect helps in the hospital management systems. With this Insta integration, consumers can instantly find bed availability in hospitals. Insta Health was the third acquisition by Practo, after Fitho and Genii.
Hospitals using Insta's products are now given an option to integrate with the Practo platform by giving patients the option to search, and find information about availability of doctors and instant bookings. It will also provide the patients the ability to access their health records post discharge on web or on the mobile app.
But Insta can't be in every hospital and hence Qikwell ensures the balance is seamlessly matched. Qikwell says each locality has a good doctor, so the team ensures that each of these good doctors are there on the platform and hence make it easier for patients to book appointments with great doctors. "It's the merger of two market leaders. We've looked at the West for too long, now from Bengaluru you have a number one company in the world," adds Shashank.
Shashank says that the key proprietary technologies and algorithms of Qikwell will help patients synchronise all factors of making an appointment - patients, doctors and front office staff at the hospital to reduce the patient wait time.
Several reports published by the International Data Corporation, in 2013, suggest that the healthcare sector in India saw a growth of close to USD 413.4 million.
Late last year, it was reported that Intel will be working with Michael J Fox Foundation to conduct research for Parkinson’s disease. This initiative is aimed at using the data mined from wearable devices and detect disease progression patterns. Almost every equipment in a healthcare setup can be looked at as a data-mining machine and as means of improving disease detection.
Earlier, Shashank in a conversation with YourStory, said that data plays a significant role in ensuring great customer experience. “We use the patterns of customer usage to enable him make better decisions,” he says, adding that there is a huge opportunity in using the pattern recognition data in creating better products.
There seems to be a global shift towards focusing on preventive cure and wellness segment. International health tech players are already penetrating the wearables, bio devices, and fitness segment. Even technology giant Apple has begun to take notice of the growth in the segment. In India, the preventive cure and wellness segment is growing at close to 30 per cent YOY and is currently estimated to be USD 490 billion.
For healthcare itself, the space is seeing a major change across ecosystems. There has been an increased awareness and public-private partnerships.
Will wearables and big data be next on Practo’s acquisition radar? Shashank adds that they are looking at the wearable space closely, but he cannot comment on whether it will immediately be a part of their line-up.