This medtech startup helps NRIs and Indians living abroad come back home for treatments
In developing countries people still go to doctors referred to by their friends and family. Doctor ratings platforms do not tell you about the quality of the care and solve for discovery instead of access to care. This has given rise to a slew of healthtech startups like eExpedise, which aims to provide a complete healthcare solution during the entire treatment lifecycle.
Founder Amit Sharma notes that since the health and wellness industry is currently dominated by doctors, insurance agents, and medical facilitators, the patient does not have the convenience to choose or compare the treatment plan and other healthcare-related costs. “They are left with limited choice and end up getting the wrong treatment and also paying more,’’ he says.
With a view to ensure transparency and ease, and enhance patient experience, eExpedise, which was formed in July 2017, uses technology to manage the complete lifecycle, and allows users to choose a healthcare provider according to their budget and preference of expertise. The startup works with both domestic and international patients from the query to post-hospitalisation stage.
In the beginning
Both the founders, Amit Sharma (37) and Kapil Chadha (44), had worked extensively in the insurance and healthcare sectors. They had closely seen the challenges faced by both international and domestic patients while availing medical treatment.
“Indian healthcare has evolved in the last one decade. It has the best of the medical equipment and technologies and we have world-renowned healthcare professionals. However, very less has been done to ensure patient ease and convenience,” says Amit.
With eExpedise, the founders wanted to use technology to bring transparency into and introduce customer service in the healthcare delivery system.
Amit has over 17 years’ experience in various domains, eight of which were in healthcare, insurance, and wellness. He is a certified medical and wellness tourism expert by the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) and an industry Six Sigma Black Belt.
Kapil Chadha is an alumnus of the University of Pune and has worked in the IT domain for 20 years in various sectors, including automobile, insurance, and health &wellness. He was part of the founding team at Sahara Insurance and Reliance Insurance.
The duo knew each other through mutual connections before starting up in 2017.
The startup has initiated a programme called ‘Home Country Treatment’ to target Indians living abroad, expats, students, and NRIs who are usually covered by the insurance company of the country of residence.
“While promoting India as a medical tourism destination globally, everyone is today focusing on bringing foreign nationals to India, and no one is focusing on getting our own nationals living abroad and seeking medical attention,’’ says Amit.
Hence, eExpedise Healthcare has tied up with international insurance companies to manage the complete patient lifecycle for Indians who are travelling to their home country for medical treatment.
As part of the services under the programme, the startup also helps with booking tickets, and covers the travel needs, thanks to insurance cover, thus ensuring the patient does not spend anything out of her pocket.
This, Amit explains, is a win-win situation for both the insurance company and the patient, and that the insurance company saves up to 40 percent on the treatment cost as healthcare costs here are better. Besides, “the members of this programme also get the opportunity to visit their family and get their care at the same time,’’ he adds.
The patient can choose the right healthcare provider according to their need and budget and insurance cover.
Amit says that eExpedise also arranges for telephonic and video conferencing with the doctor so that the patient travels down to India only once they are happy with the specialist.
“We provide a dedicated relationship manager for each patient to ensure there is one point of contact for them. The manager takes care of the complete lifecycle and will be personally available during the hospitalisation stage with the patient and their attendants,” Amit says.
The startup takes care of accommodation, travel and documentation support, including the medical visa. It also acts as a gatekeeper between the healthcare provider and the patient by scrutinising and evaluating bills and tests performed during the treatment to ensure that the patient is not over-charged beyond the insurance cover. Here, eExpedise ensures that both the patient and the insurance company are protected.
The startup charges service fees from insurance companies for all insurance patients and for medical travelers the hospitals are charged an administration and marketing fee.
The startup, Amit says, saves its users 38 percent of the cost of healthcare in their country of residence despite availing of top-notch medical care in India.
The startup has worked with more than 2,000 patients, mostly Indian expats from the Middle East and North America. The clients can choose from a list of 3,500 care provider partners. It operates in 11 countries and works with insurance companies and third-party assurance companies.
Amit explains that through its customer relationship management (CRM) technology, eExpedise provides a transparent platform with data points on over 300 medical treatments and mapped symptoms, and various other parameters along with cost estimates from different categories of hospitals and from multiple cities (Tier I and II) cities.
“The user gets access to an entire range of healthcare service providers and services at just the click of a few buttons on our website, and they can compare the cost of treatment from multiple hospitals in India and decide as per budget,’’ says Amit, adding that the system is integrated with insurance providers from over 30 countries, and is being currently used for medical management, wellness, and preventive care.
Currently, the startup’s revenues stand at Rs 10 crore.
It competes with the fragmented medical tourism companies in India. Amit says that in the next 18 months eExpedise wants to strengthen its relationships with 25 insurance companies and by 2020 be present in over 50 countries and work with all big international companies and government agencies.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)