Twenty-seven-year-old Kunal Kishore Dhawan will remind you to take your medicine on time everyday.
His novel idea, aptly named Navia is a health manager app which claims to address a growing and an often overlooked problem in the healthcare industry — treatment adherence and compliance.
According to Kunal, 40 percent of patients do not adhere to prescribed regimens, while 20 percent of prescriptions go unfulfilled. In the US, lack of adherence leads to about 125,000 deaths every year.
“We are a health technology company focussed on improving clinical outcomes among patients through increased compliance and adherence to prescribed treatments,” says Kunal, CEO and Co-founder of Navia.
Kunal is a MS in Biotech Management from Carnegie Mellon University, USA. During his three-and-a-half-year stint at Fresenius Kabi India, a global pharmaceutical company, where he oversaw the strategy and business development, he learned about the issue of treatment adherence and compliance in the healthcare industry.
He quit his job last September and began building the product. In January 2016, he launched the first version of the app, which will ensure patients take their medicines on time and follow the treatment adherence and compliance.
“We have evolved immensely from January till date. The first version of the app had just one feature — medicine reminder. In September this year, we launched the newest version of the app which offers a holistic package, including medical profile of patients, treatments and doctor details and soon-to-be-launched medical services. We have also offered our service for doctors,” says Kunal.
What’s in the app?
The patient-facing mobile application is a personal treatment manager. It allows patients to manage and track their prescribed treatments through medication reminders, follow-up reminders, medical report storage, and logging of body vitals and side-effects.
In the doctor-centric service, the app is linked to a dashboard for doctors. Through the dashboard, doctors can create and generate prescriptions which include medications, investigations and follow-ups. They can also view body parameter data, diagnostic reports and any other information being logged by the patient.
Additionally, it allows for the doctor to communicate with the patient by sending messages or broadcasts directly to the patient app, which are visible as notifications.
A record of all activities done from the patient and provider sides is stored, thus building the electronic medical record of the patient.
Adding more features
The app will soon launch a ‘Caregiver’ feature. It possesses the facility of creation of treatments for loved ones or an individual under care. The created treatment can be seamlessly pushed to a target user, and monitored regularly without having to request for physical data.
Besides, its next step in product development includes introduction of an online pharmacy and online diagnostic components – both of which will be done through strategic partnerships.
Kunal with Shourjo Banerjee (another co-founder) have been bootstrapping platform. They have so far invested Rs 25 lakh in the company.
With a current team size of seven, the android platform claims to hit over 9,000 downloads with a user-base of 1,200.
Kunal says that in B2C, customer acquisition is very expensive and slow. During the course of eight months, the platform has evolved itself from B2C to B2B2C in its offerings.
The platform is already offering a subscription-based service to doctors. According to Kunal, 35 doctors have already subscribed.
Besides, it also plans to provide services to pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and hospitals, which will all be subscription-based.
“Through our app services to pharma companies, we will be able to give them analytics on the consumption of medicines in the market,” says Kunal.
He adds that the similar analytics to insurance companies will also give them a fair idea on patients’ health.
Healthcare app market
Kunal says that, according to the MCI, there were 764,000 registered doctors in India at the end of 2015. These practitioners attend over 200 million diagnosed chronic patients in the country – a number which is steadily rising over time. There are over 65 million diagnosed diabetics and an additional 20-30 million pre-diabetics, around 100 million hypertensives, 40 million asthmatics, with one million new cancer cases and 2.5 million tuberculosis cases diagnosed every year. There is a huge opportunity in the chronic disease management space in India.
MyHealthSaverz, MediAlert and Medisafe are some of the platforms in the medical reminder category. Besides Health Impetus and Cure Instant, among others, offer services to pharma companies.
According to a report released by India Brand Equity, the market size of the health sector in the country, which was estimated to be $75 billion during 2012–13, is projected to reach $280 billion by 2020.
Tencent-backed Practo is among the leading players in this space, having acquired multiple startups such as FitHo, Genii, and Qikwell. Practo has also entered the online medicine ordering segment. Accel-backed Portea and Tiger-backed Lybrate are other established players.
Besides, the e-pharmacy space is already crowded with players like Netmeds, mChemist, Medd, DeliMedi, CareOnGo, and MediDali.
Besides patient-centric startups, some doctor-centric platforms have also come up. Curofy and Buzz4Health, medical networking apps that power communication between doctors, are other solution providers in this area.