With Curefy, the physician is always on callAparajita Choudhury
With over eight years of experience across Healthcare, Retail and Equity Research, Raghav Sehgal embarked on his entrepreneurial venture RxVault, which maintains patient-centric Electronic Health Records (EHR), in July 2013. Despite gaining 20,000 users, user-growth was not satisfactory and monetisation was difficult. That is when he and friend Mayank Agarwal came up with the idea of Curefy.
While working in Healthcare, Raghav realised that emergency room doctors have a lean period of 10-15 per cent during shift hours . He says that these doctors are all MBBS degree holders with a few years of work experience, and qualified to be primary care physicians.
Raghav realised that if this lean time could be aggregated by leveraging technology, it would solve issues with doctor accessibility and the inconvenience incurred caused in going to a clinic for minor ailments.
Our research shows that about 80% of cases require a General Physician consultation. Further, 60-70% of these cases can be remotely diagnosed without really visiting a doctor. These 80% General Physician consultations, by volume, also account for 55-60% by value of the OPD consultation market in India.
After indepth research on the inaccessibility of doctors, Raghav found that the $6 billion Healthcare market is highly fragmented. General physicians and primary care providers are still largely ignored by other players as they are mostly focused on specialists.
The founders invested $50,000 from their own savings in Curefy. For any Healthtech startup, the initial challenge is to gain the trust of the patients, and so was the case with Curefy. But, today, it has done over 1,300 consultations via phone (pilot) and the app.
He says, “ We ensure our users can instantly talk to doctors from the best hospitals in India, 24x7, in under 1 minute. We started off as a phone line and launched the app a couple of weeks ago at TechSparks 2015. We have over 98% customer satisfaction rate and over 34% repeat users. 76% of the consultations are related to general ailments like fever, body pains, flu, minor injuries, etc. The remaining are related to sexual and mental health. Over 65% of our calls have resulted in specialist referrals.”
Building relations between patients and doctors
The search for specialists takes up a lot of time. However, with Curefy, they can save time by interacting with the general physician based on trust factors such as hospital and educational background. To leverage the power of Curefy, users need to install the app and login with a one-time password. Once logged in, the tech team figures out the location and connects the user to a physician from the nearest hospital. If nobody is online nearby, then it searches for doctors available across India to provide a consultation.
Curefy has a monthly consultation capacity of over 30,000 consults. Raghav says that these consultations are delivered by a highly qualified curated set of doctors from around 25 major hospitals across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore.
This is a closed, secure online wallet, which users have to prefill with a minimum balance of Rs. 100 to initiate a consultation. Users can add money into the Curefy wallet through their accounts with other wallets or through a payment gateway. All the discounts, cash backs from promo codes etc. are directly added to the Curefy closed wallet. While users have free consultations till 31st December 2015, they can add cash back to their Curefy Wallet by sharing their invite code and referring friends.
According to Raghav, Curefy does not charge the doctors. Wheras users have to pay Rs.100 for five minutes and then Rs. 10/- per minute after that. The payments are deducted from their Curefy Wallet after the call based on the duration of the consultation.
As a part of the promotion, all users will get unlimited consultations free of charge till 31st December 2015. Raghav says that they will activate the paid consultations from January 2016.
By 2017, the startup aims to witness 10 million app installs with 17.5 million consultations and expand to the top 100 cities. In terms of revenue, they hope to reach $40 – 45 million.
Bird's eye view of the Healthtech market
The per capita expenditure on Healthcare is estimated to increase to $89 in 2015 from $61 in 2012. The market size in India was estimated to be $ 75 billion during 2012-13 and is projected to reach $280 billion by 2020, while hitting the $160 billion milestone by 2017. Today, it is considered one of the largest sectors in India, both in terms of revenue and employment.
In 2013, net investments in the Healthcare sector stood at $1.86 billion, and $309 million for 2014. From January till July 2015, the Healthtech segment has attracted $3.37 in foreign funds which is almost half of the total overseas flow into the domestic capital market.
By leveraging technology, the startups have brought healthcare to your doorsteps, whether it is general physicians, specialists, doctors, prescribed medicines, etc. But who emerges ahead, with all the startups in a tug of war, trying to grab a bigger pie remains to be seen.