docOPD: A medical concierge service that provides first line of treatment, affordable OPD care
The above case is not an isolated incident. Many patients suffer from serious medical conditions which can be avoided by early intervention, but only if the patient does not postpone a doctor visit. Many others continue to suffer in India because they simply do not have easy access to the first line of treatment which means no access to a qualified doctor and trusted diagnostic facilities. In some situations, a 5-7 days’ delay in seeking medical help is all it takes for an easily manageable medical condition to turn into a severe or life-threatening condition.
Digital consultations are no longer a novelty, but data points show a great chasm continues to exist especially in the first line of treatment. With background in healthcare delivery and healthcare technology building, Vijender Bisht and Abhishek Kumar recognised this need-gap and started docOPD which provides integrated OPD Health Services right at the doorstep.
“Digital doctor consultation is only a part of the patient-treatment cycle. Getting the patient to a timely first consultation is by itself a big challenge and the crucial time is lost resulting in not reaching the right medical speciality due to missing guidance at first point of contact in the overall healthcare ecosystem. The concept of first base ‘family doctor’ almost disappearing or being relegated to the backseat over the years has added to the problem,” says Bisht, co-founder and CEO, docOPD.
Kumar adds that many patients dither in making the initial contact with a doctor. Reasons can be many – crowded OPDs, time, travel and money costs, lack of knowledge about which doctor to go to, and many other pre-and post-consultation demands. Many patients fall off the process if post the first consultation they cannot access diagnostics, medicines or are too lethargic to have a follow-up consultation.
“The patient-treatment spectrum, therefore, starts with the first point of contact followed by tele- or/and in-person consultations, extends to diagnostics, pharmacy, and pathology services, covers the crucial counselling needs, and most importantly follow-up and care navigation. Not to forget access to patient’s (often lost) complete medical history for reference,” says Bisht.
The duo realised that for a patient-treatment cycle to be effective all links in this spectrum starting with the crucial OPD node need to be robust and interlinked. Many patients fall through the crack if even one of these aspects is left unattended.
“Therefore, we have created an end-to-end system which facilitates that elemental first contact with a doctor and then guides the rest of the process by providing related pharmacy and diagnostic services, caring through monitoring, setting up further specialist consultations and/or in-clinic tests where need be. Our system navigates the whole journey with the patient, all at the latter’s doorstep,” says Kumar, cofounder, and CTO docOPD. This happens through a subscription service that docOPD offers.
Take the example of a patient who is suffering from Typhoid, but does not know it yet. Symptoms include very high fever and an upset stomach. With docOPD the patient would be able to schedule a digital consultation with a doctor, who would, in this case, prescribe medicines to tackle the fever, upset stomach and at the same time order a blood test. This could include tests like CBC, blood culture, Widal, etc. docOPD would ensure the medicines prescribed get delivered to the patient at no extra cost and also conduct the blood test from the patient’s home. Once reports are ready, the doctor on video consultation would advise the patient on the future line of treatment. In this case, if the patient needs Intravenous therapy, docOPD can provide that at home, although at an added cost.
Kumar says what makes docOPD a unique health tech company from others with its intent to offer treatment as a solution to people’s health concerns at the doorstep rather than to sell health services. “That is why docOPD has carefully crafted treatment plans to address people’s multiple health concerns. Unlike many Medtech companies, we aren’t approaching people with selling or listing of services; we are actually bringing primary healthcare to the doorstep at a very reasonable cost. We genuinely believe that everyone deserves proper treatment at the first step before it leads to bigger health care needs,” says Kumar.
docOPD revenue model is by offering integrated OPD Plan on subscriptions or pay as you use model. “Besides, we have just set up a path lab & diagnostic in Delhi NCR to manage the whole supply chain in providing necessary and quick primary care through OPD. We plan to take it to 10-12 cities in the next two quarters and subsequently to 100 cities. Our biggest USP is to cater to a middle segment where health awareness is considerably low and needs primary care attention.” says Kumar. The pricing of subscription per person starts from Rs 250, Rs 500, and Rs 1000 for a quarter.
Enrolled with NASSCOM Incubator Program, the company offers three health tech products to cover the entire ecosystem – patient-centric docOPD RX, health analytics product docOPD Bridge and docOPD Enhance for doctors and health service organizations.
“docOPD is in the process of making the first line of healthcare treatment authentic, accessible and affordable. Founders and team are fully committed and have the right set of intention, skill, technology & execution capabilities to make it happen. We would want to pride ourselves on making India; healthier and affordable. Road ahead of us is very long, but we would make a difference in the Indian healthcare ecosystem,” says Ashish Anand, angel investor and advisor to docOPD.
But why OPD segment when there is a tilt towards specialized healthcare services in general? “Even with the OPD utilisation/person/year in India at a low of 10, the total addressable OPD market in the country stands at $26 billion in the year 2021. Growing at a CAGR of 13%, it is estimated to touch $37.5 billion by 2024. And there is a crying need in the segment with 60-70% patients delaying in getting treatment and over 90% patients needing the right guidance,” says Bisht.
The venture was incubated as a patient assistance for IPD during 2016-18 but pivoted to integrated OPD services in 2019. docOPD says it already serves employees of over 100 corporates in addition to its growing D2C consumer base. In 2021-22 it has experienced 14x growth with 25,000 OPD users.
Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.