A World Bank report pertaining to a study of medical practitioners found that the average doctor in a public primary health centre in Delhi has around a 50-50 chance of recommending a harmful treatment for five common conditions.
The report highlights the horrific condition of healthcare in India – a country where health literacy is among the lowest on the world map.
In a nation where consumer health information is also the lowest, Ravi Virmani, former COO of Max Healthcare, thought of providing information therapy to patients – which refers to prescription-strength information, tailored to the patient’s needs.
As COO of a reputed private hospitals’ chain, Virmani would receive endless calls from family, friends, friends of friends and acquaintances enquiring about the best doctors and hospitals for treatment of different diseases.
He was also aware of the rampant unethical practices of doctors who often also did not provide satisfactory health solutions to patients.
When Virmani exited the hospital, he thought of addressing the existing challenges and filling the gap with an online solutions product.
In 2014, he launched Credihealth, a medical assistance company that gives guidance to patients from the first consultation onwards, through the entire hospitalization process.
There are quite a few incidents which speak volumes about the company’s work.
A young Kashmiri boy desperately needed a bone marrow transplant and doctors at Jammu hospitals had given up hope.
In a desperate attempt, his parents flew him to Delhi. Completely clueless about how to go about the treatment and whom to approach, a random Google search brought them to Credihealth.
Responding to the criticality of the situation, the team of the startup identified the leading hospitals in Delhi in accordance with their financial capability, made emergency bookings and appointments on their behalf and got the boy admitted to Dharamshila Hospital for the transplant.
The operation was successful and he returned home in around 15 days.
There are several such stories about the fledgling company’s contribution to society and the healthcare ecosystem, it says.
“We are offering a comprehensive medical application to users, such as patients and caregivers, who can take detailed notes on treatments, access literature, book appointments, avail tele-consultation and video-consultation facilities with doctors and calculate expenses,” said Ravi Virmani, Founder and CEO, Credihealth.
He explained that in order to provide much-needed financial assistance at a very competitive price, Credihealth also forwards loan applications to all banks and NBFCs for the necessary approvals.
Currently, the healthcare platform claims to engage around 5 lakh visitors every month. “With our tie-ups with 630 hospitals, we have successfully served over 2,50,000 patients in the past three years,” said Virmani.
Hospitals provide biz
Credihealth has a business model where it charges a subscription and market development fee to hospitals and provides all the information on the site for free. At the same time, the site also becomes an additional sales channel for the hospital, which is one of the major aspects differentiating the startup from its contemporaries.
The company claimed to have earned Rs 6 crore in revenue and generated gross revenues of Rs 50 crore for hospitals up to FY 2016-17. It has also maintained 18 per cent month-on-month growth during the year.
Immense market potential
Virmani believes that healthcare delivery, which includes hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostics centers, and pharmaceuticals, constitutes 65 per cent of the overall healthcare market which is worth $100 billion.
The Indian medical tourism industry is pegged at $3 billion per annum, with tourist arrivals estimated at 2,30,000. The industry is expected to reach $6 billion by 2018, with the number of people arriving in the country for medical treatment set to double over the next four years.
“Of this overall healthcare market, considering our mission of reaching 25 cities with a penetration of at least 20 hospitals in each city, our potential market size is close to $7 billion,” said Virmani.