This startup is disrupting the healthcare sector with affordable daycare surgeries
Arjun Kumar, Arun Kumar, and Sidharth Gurjar realised that India’s thriving healthcare sector is one of the largest markets in the world. Within the sector, they noticed that surgery was a core component. With over a decade’s experience in the consumer internet space, the trio had been working together for six years before deciding to launch their dream project together.
While there have been huge technological progress made on the daycare surgery space, this was unaffordable for the bulk of the country due to the current cost structures and business model. “After a lot of research, we found surgery was an area of huge concern. It drove a lot of people into poverty because of the high cost involved. And that was what we aimed to address,” explains Sidharth.
Bridging the gap
Almost 55 million people are pushed into poverty because of healthcare expenses. “We have one of the highest out-of-pocket expenses in the world when it comes to healthcare. While the government is doing its bit, it is important that private players also step in with new ways to bring down costs while improving medical outcomes,” says the co-founder and COO. A sense of uncertainty and fear looms large when it comes to surgical treatments. Striking the balance between ‘must get well vs not spend a fortune is tough. This balance can only be achieved with what is known as ambulatory care centres or day-care surgery centres.
Sidharth explains that innovation and advances in clinical approaches and technology have enabled numerous procedures to migrate into the ambulatory care or daycare setting. This also makes the entire process more affordable as these centres are usually specialised surgery centres that do not take on the burden of large real estate costs and inflated staff requirements. This also makes a lot of sense for insurance companies as their payouts reduce.
The Medfin model
Today,offers patients access to the latest surgical or treatment procedures at the most affordable prices in a hassle-free manner. Through their unique business model, the team offers surgeries across departments from ophthalmology to orthopedic.
The Medfin model was planned keeping the patient at the centre. Once a patient enquires about a procedure, the Medfin team briefs them on the latest procedures and the best doctors based on their location. Post that, they connect patients with their patient doctors in their clinics. Once they meet the doctor, get the tests done, they will be told if they need surgery at all. If the patient has insurance, Medfin will check the insurance with the hospital and inform them how much they will have to shell out. “We try to bring it as low as possible. We have pretty large deals with some of the best hospitals in Bengaluru,” adds Sidharth.
The post surgery consultation is done for free. Every patient is assigned a personal care coordinator throughout the process who ensures that the patient does not have to run from pillar to post. Right from finding the right doctor, to scheduling appointments to insurance processing, everything will be taken care of by a Medfin care coordinator.
As today’s patients rely mostly on online research, the team realised the need to have a strong online presence. Opting for the .in domain name was an obvious choice. “We are proudly Indian, and we are built for India. It only made sense that we take a .in extension to bring credibility to the brand,” says Sidharth.
Like Medfin, many such brands which have targeted the Indian audience specifically have benefitted largely from the .in extension. With the help of the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), it has become very easy for enterprises to avail themselves of a .in or .Bharat domain, which in turn helps them grow their businesses considerably. Not only is it affordable, but it can also be availed in 22 Indian languages.
Medfin has 13 clinics across Bengaluru and is also operational in Pune, Chennai, and Hyderabad. A robust team of 130 employees and 75 doctors work across these four cities.
But it wasn’t a bed of roses. Sidharth remembers how they received a lot of push-backs from hospitals and doctors, who told them there was a certain price point that was attractive to them. The team also had to deal with the resistance from their partners when it came to bringing that price down. “Through the years, we were able to bring that price down by 30 - 40 percent. How do we do that? From the hospital's point of view, we actually make use of the excess capacity available there. With doctors, we give them an extra number of patients. But this was not easy, at least not the initial year and a half,” he says.
Medfin aims to get only the best experts on its platform. “There is that little bit of churn that takes place every quarter to ensure that we have the best doctors who are perfect for the latest procedures and are available at the lowest cost possible,” adds Sidharth.
The startup is looking to expand to another 10 cities over the next couple of months. Medfin also plans to expand its departments. “Urology, kinesiology - all these departments present a massive opportunity. So that's the kind of expansion we want to see going forward in the company,” he signs off.
The ‘Shaping India Inc's Online Growth’ series chronicles the journeys of startups and SMEs in India and how creating an online presence on the .in or .Bharat domain powered their success stories.