Practo Aims to Make Healthcare a Delightful Experience

It hopes to reach a 100 cities across India in the coming future. Today it is used by doctors across the globe to manage millions of patients and their healthcare records every month. In India we hold over 90% market share amongst all doctors who use software to manage their practice.

Practo Aims to Make Healthcare a Delightful Experience
Practo Aims to Make Healthcare a Delightful Experience

Practo is the world’s leading healthcare platform that connects millions of patients with hundreds of thousands of healthcare providers around the world and helps people make better healthcare decisions.

The startup was founded in 2009 by Shashank ND and Abhinav Lal. The company is making waves not only by reimagining the healthcare industry but for the amount of funds it can attract from the biggest VC and investors around the world and so consistently. The healthcare platform has expanded exponentially since starting out and is one of the few Indian companies to build a product that is used across many countries. Their growth curve sings like a paean; tens of millions of patients, 200,000 doctors, 10,000 hospitals, 8000 diagnostic centers and 4000 fitness and wellness centers across 15 countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Brazil. Practo is also available in 35 cities across India.

Genesis of the Idea
The idea came about when Shashank and Abhinav realized there was a need to center healthcare on the people it was serving: the patients. Practo is the first healthcare startup to provide the full array of information and services (a full stack or Hyperloop strategy) a patient would require. Now a patient can search for a doctor, channel the doctor, find a pharmacist, purchase medicine, find diagnostic lab tests and even read health related articles by leading specialist doctors.
But Practo first started with doctors. “We realized that in order to improve consumer’s healthcare experience, we had to begin with the doctors. So we took it on ourselves to build it and in 2009 launched Practo Ray - a software product that was designed from the ground up for doctors.” It helps simplify scheduling, calendaring as well as billing and inventory management for doctors. It also helps create and manage digital health care records and prescriptions so consumers always have their healthcare history available to them - right inside the app. Practo Ray data storage is cloud-based so that the software updates, hardware requirements, data security and data backups are automated. This allows doctors to focus on what is important – their patients. “Today it is used by doctors across the globe to manage millions of patients and their healthcare records every month. In India we hold over 90% market share amongst all doctors who use software to manage their practice.”

Traction details

Over the past 8 years, we have grown to become the world’s leading and certainly the most disruptive healthcare platform that helps people make better healthcare decisions. Today we manage over 35M healthcare records, 40M appointments and over 100M healthcare searches annually. We connect tens of millions of patients to over 200,000 healthcare practitioners, 10,000 hospitals and over 8,000 diagnostic centers and 4,000 across 50+ cities and 15 countries across the world including India, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Brazil.

• In Singapore, Practo is the market leader and has listed over 6,000 doctors in Singapore which is around 80% coverage.
• In Indonesia, Practo provides the largest database for doctors. Consumers have access to over 6200 verified doctors in over 60% of all clinics across Jakarta DKI. Practo plans to expand its coverage further to the broader Jakarta Raya area covering Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi regions.
• In Philippines, Practo has over 11,000 doctors across all 17 cities in the Greater Manila area – which is over 70% of all doctors and makes it the largest doctor database in the country.
• In Brazil, Practo was launched in March, 2016 in Brazil. Through Practo’s app and website, consumers will be able to search through over 5500+ verified doctors – which covers nearly 50% of all clinics in Sao Paulo. Going forward, Practo will continue to add more doctors on the platform in Sao Paulo itself as well as expand its coverage to the broader São Paulo area. In the second half of 2016 Practo plans to expand to Rio de Janeiro and eventually to all large cities in Brazil.

Marketing plans

With regards to marketing we launched our inaugural campaign - ‘Life Mein’ in 2015 and it has been a great success. It focused on our ‘Patient First’ approach by showcasing convenience and brings a refreshing perspective with a touch of humor while highlighting every day situation where people have that moment of realization that they need a doctor. Our intent was to talk about healthcare in a manner that does not intimidate the consumer and makes it approachable, perhaps even like-able. Further we used TV, radio and social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Google) to reach out to people to inform them that such an application exists which might provide an answer to certain health issues in the communities. Our digital campaigns during Mother’s Day and Doctors Day got a phenomenal response crossing million impressions in a matter of hours. Additionally, both the hashtags #CallMomNow and #ThankYouDoctor even trended globally on Twitter.

Additionally, on World Cancer Day and Women’s Day we had renowned doctors on Practo Consult answering questions live. During this we had tens of thousands of people who asked us questions via Twitter. This led to our partnership with Twitter wherein users can now get their healthcare queries answered in real time via the @AskPracto handle. Users can Tweet to @AskPracto and they will get responses in real time from verified doctors and experts via the Practo Consult platform.

Challenges faced

When you aim to redefine an industry the challenges are many but that also helps you in getting better. At Practo we believe that, the challenges help us in getting better and they also throw up an opportunity to innovate and build something innovative. We realized that, amazingly, despite all the technological advancements that this era has witnessed, Healthcare is one of the last industries to be completely transformed by technology.

When we started building Practo Ray, the biggest challenge (apart from gathering insights about what would be useful to doctors) was how to build a hyper-responsive product in a market where internet penetration was low and speeds not as good as what we see in many other markets. We literally counted (and still do) our performance in milliseconds to see how responsive and fast our product is and how quickly it can provide the relevant information to the user.

The other challenge or scope of opportunity which we saw was that initially there was no software or application that was made specifically to address the problems of f healthcare providers. We decided to change this and build a product that was designed from the ground up only for doctors- Practo Ray which is available on Android and iOS caters to healthcare provider’s better patient relationship management on-the-go ability for appointment management, patient database, and patient file management. We kept Practo Ray cloud based so doctors didn’t have to worry software updates, hardware requirements, data security and data backups. This allowed them to focus on what is important – their patients. Practo Ray is also available for specialist, which will provide better tools to healthcare providers and significantly improve patient care for some of the biggest healthcare issues plaguing our country, including controlling lifestyle diseases and ensuring immunizations for infants and children. Today, we are the world’s largest appointment booking platform with nearly 40 million appointments managed every year and connecting millions of patients to over 200,000 healthcare providers, 10,000 hospitals, 8,000 diagnostic centers and 4,000 fitness and wellness centers across 50+ cities and 15 countries. This holds testimony to the fact that we have the capability to not only sustain ourselves but push the boundaries by brining ground breaking innovation that helps consumers make better healthcare decisions.

Services offered by Practo

In addition to Practo Ray, Practo also offers an array of other services like Practo Search, Practo Tab, Qikwell by Practo, Insta by Practo, Practo Consult, Health Feed, Practo Order. Practo basically aims to be the only service a patient or healthcare professional or enterprise (hospitals, diagnostic labs and clinics) would need to know of.
• Practo Search- Verified, free listing for healthcare providers
• Practo Ray- SaaS software for clinics and doctors to digitize patient records and billing
• Practo Tab- Hardware product used by doctors to manage their practice. Strong demand from rural/remote areas with poor connectivity.
• Qikwell by Practo- Enables hospitals better manage patients, enables enterprises to track efficiency across their various hospitals.
• Insta by Practo- Complete SaaS based hospital information management solution (HIMS) software for hospitals
• Practo Consult- tele-medicine service
• Health Feed- Free access to high quality health content written by doctors
• Practo Order- Pilot project; enables medicine management for entire family

Funding Status

Practo so far has raised a total of to $124M, one of the largest in the world of Digital Health.
They received $4M Series A from Sequoia Capital in July 2012, $30M
Series B from Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners in February 2015, $90M
Series C from Tencent, Sofina, Sequoia India, Google Capital, Altimeter Capital, Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital Global Equities and Yuri Milner in August, 2015. Among its assets it counts a few acquisitions as well: FitHo acquired in April, 2015, Genii in July 2015, Insta Health Solutions in September-2015 for $12 million and of course Qikwell in September, 2015.

Future Plans in Mind

Speaking of their future plans of expansion the founders say they plan to use the next 12 months to increase number of enterprises and SME level healthcare institutions present on the platform while strengthening the full stack of services already offered. Practo also hopes to reach a 100 cities across India in the coming future. With five monetization channels planned for they hope to be profitable by next year.Through it all their goal according to the co-founders is to “make healthcare a delightful experience for the user by making it incredibly easy for them to make better healthcare choices.”

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