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Home / Companies / People /  Users on Practo’s platform rose to 17.5 crore led by covid: Practo CEO

NEW DELHI : Practo Technologies Pvt Ltd offers access to a specialist on its platform in less than a minute, across all specializations, any time of the day or night. Founded 12 years ago by two engineering students Shashank N and Abhinav Lal to simplify access to quality healthcare, the pandemic has only accelerated the adoption of telemedicine both by doctors and consumers. In an interview, co-founder and CEO Shashank N said that the healthtech sector is poised for massive growth in India. Edited excerpts:

What has been the impact of covid on Practo?

Over the last six months, the growth in teleconsultations went up by 10x. This means that what was considered a luxury just a few months ago, has become a necessity today. About 80% of all our telemedicine customers were first-time users, while approximately 50% consultations were from non-metro cities. There are now over 25,000 verified doctors who provide online consultations on Practo. This is indicative of growth to the tune of over 1000% in just four months. Our medicine and diagnostic businesses are also holding strong with consistent growth. We are also adding new pin codes every day and the target is to go from the current 16,000 pin codes to 25,000 pin codes soon, along with targeting shorter ETAs with every order. This business itself has grown by 2-3x since March.

How do you plan to grow this number?

We have touched 17 crore Indians but with 70 crore Indians having access to the Internet, we feel we need to grow much more in Tier 2 India. Our next focus is how do we grow our penetration and services to beyond the top 50 cities we are currently in. Although telemedicine can be accessed here, we want offline appointment bookings, hospitals beyond 50 cities to be on our platform so there is more expansion that we are doing in tier 2-3 cities to get the next 100-200 million to come on to the platform. Capture next 200 million customers by continued focus on expansion and growth

What are the new focus areas for e-healthcare post covid?

We are increasingly focusing on patients’ overall well-being by focusing on preventive health through telemedicine. Also, building a continuum of care which means having a patient-centric, integrated approach that requires a good blend of offline and online approach. Practo health plans are a good example in that direction.

Our focus over the next few years also includes onboarding more senior doctors to help train, audit and monitor quality of consultations facilitated on our platform and provide equitable access to quality healthcare, from Bengaluru to Barsi by building a multilingual interface that will expand access to quality healthcare and enable interactions in native languages, bringing quality care to remote locations.

How do you see the overall e-health sector in India growing?

Healthcare overall is a $200-250 billion market in the country, so India will continue to be our main focus for the foreseeable future. India’s healthcare system depends on private players and it is bound to grow over the next 5 years. The digital push in healthcare has been going on for last 10 years but we have made small inroads because healthcare was largely offline but covid has accelerated this by 3-4 years. It will grow multifold than the offline healthcare and this has been supported by many regulatory changes that have come out recently like the telemedicine regulations that came out in March. The government has been very clear that healthcare will be driven by technology so there is a huge push for regulatory reform in telemedicine, e-pharmacy etc – all the support by government and awareness that covid has brought to consumers and providers will help this sector grow. There will be lot of players and early movers will have an advantage but the platform that builds trust with its consumers will really move forward. It’s not capital that will win the sector. I am confident that digital health will grow 5-10% of the overall healthcare market over the next 5 years and that is a huge opportunity for players like us.

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