The 25 years of friendship between Sastry Chemudupaty and Venkat Suravarapu paid off and led them into the bond of entrepreneurship, but not in a way they could have predicted. So how did the exchanging of their families’ awful healthcare experiences in early 2014 result in a business idea?
When Venkat returned to India from the US in 2013, he had to find a doctor for his wife’s thyroid problem. Starting from finding the right doctor to long queues and the difficulties of getting tested at diagnostic centres, Venkat recalls how tedious the entire experience was.
On the other hand, there was Sastry’s father, a diabetic and hypertensive on whose right kidney a tumour was detected. Without giving up hope, Sastry consulted 15–20 doctors to reach the decision of not removing the kidney. But the entire process took him almost three months.
These two incidents provoked them into building a platform where health records are automatically stored and accessible to doctors and family members. After a few months of researching the scope of opportunities, Universal MedRecordz Private Limited was officially launched in September 2014. Its products include MedRecordz, LabRecordz, DrRecordz and OptiRecordz, targeted to specific customer segments.
The Hyderabad-based startup is an integrated electronic platform of mobile, web and client applications connecting healthcare providers such as diagnostic centres, physicians, dentists, eye clinics, hospitals and pharmacies with their consumers.
When the two friends arrived at the idea of providing a comprehensive healthcare solution, it triggered several questions in their minds. What if the lab test prescription could be sent automatically to the patient’s preferred lab? How about the automatic transfer of lab test results from the diagnostic centre to the doctor? What if the doctor could digitally write a prescription and send it to the patient’s preferred pharmacy?
MedRecordz is a consumer mobile application which allows users to book appointments, consult doctors online, get test reports delivered at home, manage health records, order medicine online, access health information, and purchase health insurance online.
LabRecordz is a patient record management solution targeted at diagnostic centres which can automatically inform customers when their lab reports are ready, deliver reports to the consumers who have the MedRecordz mobile application, make lab reports accessible online via web-browser to those customers who do not have the mobile application, send automatic reminders to customers with chronic health issues, and deliver reports electronically to those doctors who have the DrRecordz mobile application.
DrRecordz is an application which allows doctors to manage and track their patients’ records and clinic operations over a mobile phone. The key features of the app include patient registration (walk-in and telephonic) and appointment management, online booking, automatic SMS reminders to patients for future visits, sending prescriptions automatically to the patient’s preferred diagnostic centre, and receiving lab test reports directly from the diagnostic centre.
OptiRecordz is a patient record management solution targeted at optometrists. It includes features like customer registration, customer order history, notification to the customers when the order is ready for pickup, and reminders when the customer is due for the next check-up.
“As of October 2016, these products are almost fully functional and we are now going commercial with them. Another product, RxRecordz, is currently under development. This order-management application for pharmacies will connect them directly to consumers and doctors, using MedRecordz and DrRecordz applications,” says Venkat.
He further added that MedRecordz has nearly combined 10,000 users. LabRecordz is currently being used by over 85 diagnostic centres in Hyderabad. In less than 18 months, the company has created and delivered over 1,25,000 identifiable health profiles and is currently storing nearly one million reports. DrRecordz is already being used by over 100 doctors.
An alumnus of IIM Bangalore, Venkat has lived in the US for 14 years and has had work experience in market analytics and research in the North American Power market. Sastry has worked as a software engineer at Infosys and Eastman Kodak for about three years. He co-founded Vicisoft Technologies Private Limited, a company specialising in enterprise content management.
Universal MedRecordz was bootstrapped with an initial budget of Rs 50 lakh and so far Venkat and Sastry have invested Rs 1 crore of their own money. An additional Rs 50 lakh has been infused by a friend of theirs.
Since the duo lacked prior experience in the day-to-day operations of diagnostic centres and doctors, they had to develop contacts with healthcare providers. Though a few turned up, they were not able to understand the software which can address the current and future needs.
“As a result, initial product development involved some trial and error — we had to develop basic/early versions of the software and test it in the market, rather than test the concept in the market and develop the software in that order,” says Sastry.
The MedRecordz mobile app is free for end consumers whereas labs, doctors, pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals pay the subscription fees. The startup also charges transaction fees for enabling transactions through the MedRecordz marketplace. In future, it will charge pharma and insurance companies and third-party agents by sending data analytics on customer segmentation, customised demographic, market forecast, and market intelligence.
“Since we have just gone commercial, we do not have established growth in month-on-month revenue. We earned some revenues during the beta phase, but they were nominal,” says Venkat.
The startup at present has seven employees. By early 2017, Universal MedRecordz expects to expand operations to Bengaluru and Chennai and by 2018, the target will be top country's 50 cities. In terms of revenues, it expects to earn Rs 15 lakh in 2016–17, Rs 10 crore in 2017–18 and over Rs 60 crore in 2018–19.
According to IBEF, the healthcare market in India was worth close to $100 billion as of 2015 and is expected to touch $280 billion by 2020, clocking a CAGR of 22.9 percent. Of the overall market, the healthcare delivery sub-segment accounts for 65 percent.
Speaking about the competition, Venkat says while there are players trying to replace the existing LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) to facilitate online reports, MedRecordz can coexist with existing LIMS of the diagnostic centres to provide online reports for the end users. Practo and Lybrate have practice management solutions for doctors, similar to DrRecordz. While Practo’s solution has been in the market for quite some time and has the brand image, DrRecordz has made inroads into many doctors’ clinics, replacing PractoRay in Hyderabad. Lybrate is a new entrant in the Hyderabad market.