Focused on affordable healthcare, Mykare Health connects patients with small hospitals
Mykare Health is focused on affordable treatment for India’s middle class by partnering with small- and mid-sized hospitals to offer minimally invasive elective and aesthetic operations.
When Senu Sam admitted his 65-year-old father to a hospital in Kerala for neuro-brain surgery, he firsthand experienced the challenges of navigating healthcare in small- and medium-sized hospitals in India. He couldn’t access any information, digital or otherwise, about the doctor treating his father and wasn’t sure if he was connected with the right doctor.
“Also, I wanted to know whether the hospital had ever done similar procedures earlier. I was not getting any transparent pricing, the insurance process was completely broken, the bills were overtly priced and there wasn’t any post-surgical support,” he tells YourStory.
For many middle- and lower-middle-class families, this is a daily reality. Small- and medium-sized hospitals are providers of a vast majority of India’s healthcare needs, however, many of these 10-300 bedded establishments often lack quality care due to paucity of funds. As per the Indian Medical Association, the survival of nursing homes and small hospitals is important for short- and long-term affordable care.
The inability of these hospitals to dispense appropriate healthcare on time tends to drive away low- and middle-income groups, as per Sam.
“Factors such as dearth of administrative and pricing transparency, skyrocketing healthcare cost, poor patient-to-hospital ratio, and paucity of quality care are the key reasons causing surgery-related fear among patients, resulting in treatment delays and poor quality of life,” he explains.
He also realised that many patients are clueless about which doctor to approach or which facility to go to, and there’s no one to handhold them throughout the treatment journey.
In 2021, Sam, along with Rahmathulla TM (CTO) and Joash Philipose (CPO) launchedto alleviate the challenges facing 30-80 bedded hospitals through a patient-first approach.
Mykare isn’t the trio’s first venture. They attempted small-scale initiatives in healthcare, including starting a YouTube channel called ‘Doctors Story’ that captured the personal experiences of doctors and the challenges they faced. Sam says the initiative was inspired by YourStory.
With Mykare, they aim to make the patient journey seamless—from ensuring transparent pricing to managing paperwork, coordinating insurance, providing free transportation, facilitating communication with doctors, zero-cost EMI, coordinating hospital admission and discharge, and post-care support.
“Mykare’s trained and experienced counsellors are available on-site to handhold patients to overcome the fright related to lack of funds and transparency, and make their healthcare journey seamless for every common person,” the Co-founder and CEO explains.
The Kochi-headquartered startup also partners with small- and mid-sized hospitals to improve their visibility and trust, strengthen their patient footfall, and, in turn, help increase their revenue.
“The small and mid-sized hospitals, which account for about 80% of India’s healthcare facilities, along with the doctors working at these facilities, remain heavily underutilised due to poor visibility, lack of trust, inadequate administrative, or patient experience,” Sam adds.
The startup helps funnel adequate demand into these hospitals and get more patients to utilise these facilities and their resources. Mykare also envisions building India’s largest asset-light, affordable and standardised hospital network focused on India’s middle class.
Mykare offers minimally invasive elective and aesthetic operations, such as LASIK, hernia surgery, piles treatment, hair restoration, liposuction, knee and hip replacement, IVF, and more.
The company has a network of 20 trained counsellors and 800 senior doctors available on site and offline to handhold patients to ensure transparency and help them overcome any financial difficulties with no-cost EMI. Mykare has counselled 85,000+ patients till now.
It currently operates through a web-based platform and is developing an app.
“All our platforms are developed in-house to make sure the patient journey is seamless—right from first touch point platforms, sales CRM, patient experience CRM, customer experience auto updates (through AI), hospital and in-house dashboard, associate platforms, etc,” Sam explains.
The platform is free to use for both patients and hospitals.
Market opportunities and business model
According to IMARC Group, the minimally invasive surgery market in India reached $712.4 million in 2022. It is expected to reach $1 billion by 2028, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.63% during 2023-2028.
In 2023, Mykare plans to expand its reach in south India where it is active at present. It is presently active in 12 cities, including Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Pune, Bengaluru (two locations), Hyderabad (two locations), and Vishakhapatnam.
By leveraging small and medium hospitals and expert surgeons, Mykare Health is developing an asset-light hospital network of 200+ hospitals, 4,500+ beds, and 80+ team members.
It offers elective surgeries at a 20–30% discount at these hospitals compared to large hospitals and enable them to service domestic and cross-border patients, including those coming from other states and internationally, who often frequent 10% of India’s large hospitals, Sam says.
"One of the main challenges patients are facing currently is transparency in pricing. While partnering with hospitals, Mykare Health will come to terms of fixed tariff for the procedure with inclusions and exclusions. This helps the patient to have absolute clarity on the pricing before the treatment,” he explains.
While the startup is focused on affordable treatments, Sam says such out of pocket expenditures may mount a challenge in the long run. In order to make medical care more accessible and affordable (about a significant 40-50% less expensive), Mykare is expanding its offerings, including setting up an international office in South Asia to connect patients.
“The doctors are highly skilled and the facilities give a high-quality assurance, so cross-border patients can easily access small and medium-sized medical facilities with fixed and transparent pricing and end-to-end seamless care,” Sam explains.
In FY23, the company had generated a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of approximately $1.5 million—a 3X growth.
In June this year, the Kochi-based digital health startup raised $2.01 million in a seed round to build the technology for making the patient touch points seamless, enhancing the patient experience, and expanding its footprint.
While the startup competes within the affordable healthcare space, it follows a different business model.
Edited by Kanishk Singh