This husband-wife duo aims to make hospital discovery simpler with Hospital Suggest
Hospital Suggest works as a virtual hospital based on marketplace, where it enables digital interactions between healthcare providers and patients.
Startup: Hospital Suggest
Founders: Smita P Kumar and Prassant Kumar
Year it was founded: 2016
Problem it solves: Healthcare discovery
While dealing with a chronic disease or an emergency medical situation is stressful enough, the task of finding a hospital, a good one at that, often leads to more worry. Smita P Kumar faced a similar situation while helping her mother, Vidya, find a good hospital.
A diabetic, Vidya was suffering from a chronic kidney disease, and finding the best healthcare treatment for her was turning out to be a challenge. With various consultations with several specialists, Smita came to realise that in Mumbai, most senior nephrologists had a different suggestion for treatment, and as a patient, one cannot really take a snap decision with so many conflicting opinions. This was an eyeopener for Smita, who realised there was a yawning gap in the healthcare discovery space in the country.
Despite working in the healthcare industry for over a decade, Smitha found it hard to find the right treatment that was convenient, reliable and affordable. She could only imagine the plight of others who have no background knowledge of the industry. This revelation led her to team up with her husband, Prassant Kumar, to start Hospital Suggest. The primary aim of the platform is to bring a change to the healthcare industry by equipping patients with enough information about and choice of healthcare providers. It presently offers its services only in Mumbai.
Founded last April, Hospital Suggest works as a virtual hospital based on the marketplace, where it enables digital interactions between healthcare providers and patients.
“We have understood that the patient is extremely focused on what he is looking for, and does not want to experience an information overload,” says Smitha.
So, Hospital Suggest tries to crystallise the information and provide what is pertinent to the patient. As a platform, it works as a marketplace, and functions as a digital communication space holding personal health records, as well as a health assistant. It, therefore, helps patients during their entire course of treatment, irrespective of whether they sought an online or offline consultation.
Working of the platform
Once a patient is registered with Hospital Suggest, she can view her healthcare treatment/surgery plan on the website. Previous medical history, copies of latest diagnosis, case papers, medical reports etc., need to be filled, and Hospital Suggest, on the overall screening of the records, comes up with a recommendation of the best hospitals for her treatment.
The patient can then go through all the recommendations provided and select the best hospital and then inform Hospital Suggest.
“We then generate a discount code for that selected hospital where the patient desires to get treated or have her surgery done. Healthcare service providers, on getting complete information of care seekers online, connect with them for further consultation and offer solutions to the patients,” says Smita.
Solving the discover and connect problem
In India, connecting and following up with a doctor is a daunting task as 80 percent of the healthcare infrastructure resides in top 20 cities. And unavailability of personal health data and medical records compound the situation.
With its technology and proposition, Hospital Suggest aims to disrupt the Indian healthcare market through remote consultation, continuous care, follow-up and second opinion using chat, audio and video solution for better connect between healthcare providers and receivers.
According to several reports, India is emerging as the world capital for diabetics and patients of chronic illnesses. This validates the need for a system that can help a patient in continuous care and remote consultation.
“Keeping this in mind, we are creating experiences on Hospital Suggest. For example, with a self-help tool like ‘Cost Estimator’, we take a user’s desired treatment and cost as input and try to answer the top questions on his mind - treatment cost, total cost, best doctors, best hospitals,” says Smita.
A crowded market
While the team refused to share their revenue details, Hospital Suggest works on a B2B model, where it provides hospitals with bulk patient leads, including leads of those in the similar ailment category.
However, in an environment where there are several healthtech startups, the test is to stand out. Over the past two years, the healthcare segment has seen the mushrooming of several significant players.
Whether it is Sequoia-backed 1mg, Tiger-backed Lybrate, Netmets, Matrix-backed Myra, Bessemer-backed PharmEasy, the consultation, online pharmacy, and discovery space is fast growing. This is because the ratio of penetration of patients to doctors is far lesser.
Currently, Hospital Suggest’s services are available through an Android app, where a user can see profiles of doctors, compare their experience, expertise and even connect online with medical specialists.
“We are solving the time-per-consultation gap and reachability, and are one of the foremost products in India to launch in-app video consultation with e-prescription and other features build into it to enable digital consultation from anywhere, anytime,” says Smita.
Going forward, Hospital Suggest aims to add multiple specialities across allopathy, homoeopathy, Ayurveda and naturopathy. Genome-based diet plans and medications are also on the list. It is also looking to add symptoms-based search, real-time doctor consultations, health recommendation data engine, health device and wearable integrations.