Living life with a chronic illness that needs regular attention can be stressful. Traditionally, patients relied on the 'pen-and-paper' method to keep track of their medicine schedules and doctor appointments. But small slipups could have drastic consequences. This is where modern day technology, the likes of Cooey, can swoop in and save the day.
Cooey is an end-to-end health monitoring app leveraging IoT for chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and weight management. As a ‘health vault,’ it can capture health vitals, medicine list and lab reports. Based on the data collected through the app and smart devices, it helps analyse and provide insights of vital signs for patients and doctors. Cooey has so far clocked over 75,000 downloads, with about 60 percent of its users coming from India, while the rest are spread out over Middle East, USA and UK.
Cooey was started in June 2015 by Manu Madhusudanan and Prabhakaran T.P. after they had firsthand experience of what many chronic patients go through in India. At one point, Manuel daughter caught pneumonia and he also noticed that his mother, who has high blood pressure, would note down her vitals on paper. As the healthcare sector requires highly accurate data, Manu and Prabhakaran felt that the whole process needed to be digitised, starting from the patients. So they tried to conceptualise a solution for the recurring needs of patients.
After market research and speaking to doctors and patients, the duo launched Cooey as a third platform- engaging patients on the health management system and providing targeted services to them. Manu said,
Till now, health IT includes Hospital Information System (HIS) and other products/apps but there is still a missing last-mile link, i.e., engagement with patient.
Cooey consists of a six-member team and the startup is currently bootstrapped, but looking to raise an external funding round in the near future. Currently, the app is free to download and use, but the company is earning revenue through sales of its blood pressure monitor and smart body analyser, available on e-commerce platforms. Once it reaches a certain user base, Cooey plans to explore other monetisation channels, such as monthly subscriptions for users or a freemium model with premium features.
Currently, Cooey is looking to partner with more online pharmacies, home care services and labs to give a better experience and more choice for its users. Talking about their future plans, Manu said,
There are lot of possibilities to introduce IoT in healthcare in a non-intrusive manner to better monitor vital signs and provide doctors with accurate historical data. We are exploring other IoT devices like smart glucometers, vests and toothbrushes.
1. Measure and monitor: Users can either enter that data manually or rely on smart devices like Bluetooth-enabled BP monitors or smart body analysers that auto log the medical data. This can be shared with the doctor or loved ones.
2. Chat-based query and order: Through Cooey, users can get their health-related queries answered over chat and also place orders from nearby pharmacies. For older users or those not very comfortable typing, the app allows voice-based commands through their personal assistant, ‘Maya’.
3. Engage: The data collection from the device, recurring medicines and lab reports are used to create a dynamic profile of the patient according to their current health condition. This analysis can be used for providing personalised insurance services.
4. Hyperlocal targeting: Cooey also enables health service providers to send targeted offers to customers based on their location. This helps local service providers increase their conversions rates. This is another revenue source for Cooey to leverage.
The entire healthcare market in India is estimated to be worth around $80 billion and a large portion of it is offline. Having a digital record of healthcare data makes it easier for doctors and patients to understand patient histories in case of emergencies. There is currently a lot of interest in IoT and the benefits of ‘quantified self’ and ‘life logging’ with digital glucometers and wearable devices like Fitbits and Apple watches. India is estimated to have about 130 million hypertensive and 75 million diabetic patients, and hence there is a big need for disruption in this space.
Healthcare is seeing a lot of interest from both entrepreneurs and VC communities. ‘Consultation on demand’ platform DocsApp raised $1.2 million led by Rebright Partners. Lybrate, which had raised a $10.2-million Series A round from Tiger, Nexus and Ratan Tata in 2015, also offers consultations over chat and video. Then there are many startups in the medicine commerce space like- Myra medicines, Med-x and even Tencent-backed Practo.
The ability to track upto three vital signs (BP, blood sugar, weight) in a single app either manually or through smart devices enhances the appeal of the app. Cooey also provides an engaging experience with mini quizzes and relevant information through blogs in the app.
With a four-minute introduction video in the beginning and a variety of features, the learning curve can be steep for non-tech savvy users. While Cooey has included voice-activated commands, this feature is still in beta and didn’t always produce accurate results.
The app currently has three major tabs-Home, History and Offers, while some of the other important features require a lot of scrolling. So, including more tabs or sub tabs for easier and quicker navigation would be helpful.
Cooey is a well-thought-out and executed app that can help diabetics, blood pressure and obese patients regularly monitor their health and take immediate action in case of emergencies. With a variety of revenue models to tap into, Cooey has interesting value propositions for a variety of parties in the healthcare space. It will be interesting to see how they go about further expanding their services and offerings and make the lives of patients easier.
Check out their website and download Cooey here