This AI-based telehealth startup is providing a platform to enable healthcare access from anywhere, anytime
In India, access to quality healthcare has always been a challenge. The COVID-19 outbreak further highlighted the gaps in the healthcare industry. However, the pandemic also provided a solution to this problem — the digital transformation of healthcare.
While digital disruption in the healthcare sector was already underway, the pandemic bolstered its growth and revealed the potential of digital health services in ensuring healthcare for all.
Along with telemedicine services, people also realised the importance of health monitoring, maintaining electronic medical records, online medicine delivery, among others.
Connecticut-based Docty.ai was founded by Patricia Diaz, Ramya Subramanian, Opo Herrera and Laxman Bennabattula in 2018 to provide digital health services under one platform.
is a global telehealth startup that provides doctor search and appointment services, online consultations, medicine delivery, electronic medical records, remote monitoring, and symptom pre-screening services among others — all under a single platform.
The startup, which is now present in India, was launched in Colombia last year, and recently expanded to South Africa as well.
Prior to starting Docty, Ramya and Laxman had co-founded an IT company named Arka Information Systems in 2009. However, in 2018, the duo realised the disparity in healthcare access and wanted to build a solution to give it back to the society.
“We live in America, but our parents and families are back in India. We have always been worried about their health...this was sort of growing in our heads back in 2017 and 2018. We already have an IT services and solutions company, so we thought let’s do some research, use the people in our teams and see what we can put together. We built a platform keeping the patient in the centre,” Ramya tells YourStory.
Illustration: YS Design
End-to-end digital ecosystem
Ramya explains Docty was launched with a vision to ensure healthcare anywhere for anyone. It has been designed to keep the patient in the centre and provide them with all the support required.
After onboarding the platform, patients have the option to add their family members and their medical records on the platform, which can be easily shared with the doctors. Apart from this, they can use the AI-powered symptom checker to pre-screen themselves and analyse if they need doctor consultation. For mild cases, it will suggest a relief solution to the user, and in case one needs medical help, it will suggest the best doctors for them to consult.
Ramya says, “Patients can now consult a doctor online, and the doctor will already be aware about the symptoms as the records are available on the platform, and they need not spend an hour just talking to patients about their symptoms. So, users will get 15-minute consultation, which will be absolutely spot on without wasting any time.”
“During the consultation, the doctor will be able to see the patient’s emotions, but only the doctor gets this data. We have an emotion index on our platform which captures the patients’ emotions -- if they are smiling, sad, or in pain. It captures all those emotions and the doctor is able to analyse what the patient is going through. We put this in place to analyse mental health,” Ramya explains.
Post consultation, the doctor will share electronic prescriptions with patients and they can order the medicines from the integrated pharmacy partners and get their medicines delivered home.
However, with Docty being a global platform, it needs to be compliant with data regulations and rules by geolocation.
“One of our key USPs is that within six weeks, we can customise our platform to suit any geo-location. We only need that time to make sure that we are complying with that geo location’s legal and healthcare standards,” she explains.
Image Credit: Docty
Business and more
Speaking about the business model, Ramya reveals the startup operates on a pay-as-you-go model, and one can also opt for subscription packages. She clarifies that one can download the application and use its symptom tracking services for free, but they will be charged when they opt for doctor consultation.
At present, the bootstrapped startup has 400,000 users across the world and has 1,000 doctors registered across 20 specialities. In India alone, Docty has 600 doctors listed on its platform and has around 2,200 users from the country.
“It is different in each country. With respect to traction, it’s the LatAm region that is at the top. India being a mature market and due to its population takes more time. But having said that, in India, within two months of going LIVE, we saw tremendous interest and sealed quite a few deals," she says.
According to a recent report by Praxis Global Alliance, The Indian online doctor consultation market is expected to reach $836 million by FY 2024, growing at a CAGR of 72 percent. The market was valued at $163 million in March 2021.
While there are several notable players in the telehealth sector such as Practo, 1mg, mFine, iCliniq, and myUpchar, Ramya believes that Docty’s ability to offer all services under one roof keeps it ahead in this game.
Speaking about future plans, Ramya says, Docty’s aim is to ensure healthcare for everyone, everywhere. To achieve this vision, the startup is looking to expand its services in every corner, especially rural regions, to ensure healthcare delivery.
“Within the next two years, I can easily see us expanding to at least five new geolocations. I really want people to feel the ease knowing that healthcare is for all,” she says.
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