[Startup Bharat] Starting with Rs 35 lakh investment, this Vadodara startup is digitising India’s healthtech sector
When it comes to any health diagnosis, it is extremely important to provide the entire patient history to the doctor, as one missed allergy or injury may result in a faulty diagnosis. A patient’s clinical data can not just help improve care for the patient in question, but also future patients.
In the Indian healthcare space, most of this data is unstructured, non-analysable, and often, unretrievable, mostly for being in the paper format, which also poses legal risks to healthcare providers from a compliance perspective.
Engineers Deepak and Pooja Gupta also had a similar personal experience around this. The couple was working in the USA when Deepak’s mother was diagnosed and treated for cancer in Vadodara, Gujarat. And in 2007, the couple moved back to India.
“During the treatment process, we realised that patient records play a vital role in defining the further course of treatment at hospitals. Taking a second opinion was a Herculean task because data was scattered across distributed systems,” Deepak says.
Thus, the duo started researching about the prevalent systems and its capabilities, and eventually, came up with PurpleDocs in 2010.
Vadodara-based PurpleDocs is a SaaS startup, that helps digitise medical data and converts it into an analysable format, helping doctors trace a patient’s medical history over multiple visits. The startup has its corporate headquarters in Ahmedabad.
Deepak says that he is a sports freak and the startups' name was inspired by the term, 'purple patch,’ which is used to denote a successful period in a sports person's career. “Purple signifies creativity and brilliance. Docs is the short form for doctors,” he says.
PurpleDocs’ flagship service (on the same name), is a cloud-based offering that allows the digitisation of patient records. PurpleDocs digitises all paper-based case sheets, indoor patient files, MRIs, CT scans, x-Rays, and lab reports, which is encrypted and securely stored in the cloud, removing the risks of losing them.
The startup allows doctors to access the records on any device, round the clock. Further, doctors get to share either the entire or a subset of the record with the patients at a click.
The startup’s Android app, MyPD, helps patients build, manage, and analyse their family’s medical history for free. It also allows patients to find nearby hospitals and chemists, share their medical records with a third-party instantly, and set reminders for medicines, follow-ups, and lab visits.
PD+, which was launched two years back, is a suite of tablet-based Android apps and web apps for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, which allows its clients to run an analysis using prescriptions and other parameters on OPD practice.
The healthtech startup provides its clients with a bucket of pricing models and plans to choose from. They have annual and monthly subscription models, where clients have to pay a one-time licensing fee, post which, it offers a pay per use model.
Hospitals and clinics also get to choose the subscription model, based on the type of hospital, clinic, and the volume of patients they encounter each day.
“UX and flexibility of our solutions ensure that doctors and hospitals adopt our solutions without any change in their processes, workflows, and systems, which they have used for years,” Deepak adds.
Additionally, PurpleDocs allows doctors the flexibility in terms of how much is to be shared with patients. “The whole focus is in reducing the consultation time while enabling patient engagement, medicine adherence, and patient education,” he says.
Co-founder and CEO Deepak has more than a decade of experience in product development. At PurpleDocs, he manages strategy, business development, overall operations, and investor relations. He has done his MS from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the US.
Before taking the entrepreneurial plunge, Pooja, who is the Co-founder and CTO of PurpleDocs, has worked as a software professional at SAP-KhiMetrics in Arizona. Currently, she manages the tech development, product design, and UX at the startup.
“We started PurpleDocs in a pre-WhatsApp era where many of the doctors we catered to were not tech-savvy. We spent a considerable amount of time educating them on the importance of securing their electronic records. We also offered free trials for a limited period in the early days,” Deepak says.
At present, the startup operates with a team of 65 employees.
PurpleDocs works in a Hub & Spoke model, where sales offices and patient-data collection centres have been deemed as spokes, and most of the data processing by the startup is done over the cloud, from its centralised hub.
Bootstrapped with Rs 35 lakh for the first five years, PurpleDocs raised Rs 2.7 crore in its angel round in 2016 from KellyGamma Funds and Lead Angels to further scale its business.
According to the co-founders, PurpleDocs revenue has gone up 4X since 2016. From two cities and 30-odd hospitals, PurpleDocs has expanded its customer base to 150 healthcare providers in 14 cities and across three states.
At present, the startup is offering its services in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. “We are also in talks with a few hospitals in Telangana, New Delhi, and Rajasthan,” Deepak adds.
The startups’ clients include single-speciality hospitals, multi-speciality hospitals, single-person owned clinics, corporate hospitals, research hospitals, and trust hospitals.
“We have covered all specialities and therapeutic areas, including diabetes, oncology, cardio, nephrology, and urology. We have more than 60 lakh health records on our platform and every month we add a few lakhs,” Deepak says.
The startup recorded a revenue of Rs 2.3 crore in FY19. Currently, PurpleDocs is looking to raise about $3 million to accelerate its growth in the sector.
According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the healthcare market in India is expected to reach $372 billion by 2022. Further, the number of doctors increased to 1,154,686 in 2018 from 827,006 in 2010.
This allows PurpleDocs a huge market to explore, where it competes with the likes of Doxper, Healthplix, and Docon in the ePrescription space.
However, Deepak believes that the startup has a differentiator to offer. He says,
“None of the players has a comprehensive offering of managing, retrieving, and analysing paper-based patient records, diagnostics data, and digital OPD prescriptions.”
Moving forward, PurpleDocs plans to expand to more than 50 cities pan-India, as well as cater to foreign markets in Southeast Asia. It is also exploring to add Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities to drive patient engagement and predictive analytics.
“We also plan to enhance our patient app by integrating it with wearables for real-time monitoring,” Deepak adds.
(Edited by Suman Singh)
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