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BENGALURU: Online doctor consultation platform, Mfine, is seeing fresh demand from states with lower doctor-to-patient ratio since India went under a strict lockdown on 25 March, said a top company executive.

The startup said it has witnessed an eight times increase in demand for online consultation in the last four months, mostly from the top 10 cities including metros and tier-1 towns. The platform also saw new user signups and consultations from users in states such as West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand, where the doctor-patient ratio is the lowest in the country.

The health ministry on 27 March had urged people to take advantage of telemedicine services during the lockdown. Usage of online consultation apps and medicine delivery services have been on the rise as both clinics and patients perceive it as safer than visiting outpatient departments (OPDs).

Apart from startups, large healthcare chains have also been stepping up online consultation features. In May, Fortis Healthcare rolled out online consultations for patients in 23 hospitals across its country-wide network.

“More than 50% of our business is currently coming from super speciality segments, while some specialities such as gynaecology and paediatrics, mental health have also seen an improved demand during the lockdown," said Ashutosh Lawania, co-founder, MFine, in an interview.

At present, Mfine offers online consultations across 30 specialities through a partnership with over 500 leading hospitals in the country. The app currently handles more than 10,000 consultations every day.

The startup’s business model involves partnering with hospitals instead of aggregating individual doctors on its cloud platform. Specialist doctors from these hospitals are assisted by Mfine’s artificial intelligence (AI) system, improving their efficiency.

Apart from direct-to-consumer user cases, big corporates and MNCs have also been stepping up healthcare and insurance options for its employees.

Mfine said its app is now being used by over 200,000 corporate employees and their families for preventive health checks, mental health consultations and advanced screenings. The MFine corporate product has seen strong growth in the last two months with more than 35 organisations partnering with the company to offer virtual OPD consultation benefits to their employees.

Corporates, depending on their headcount, can buy consultation packs that can then be utilised by employees or in some cases family members. Once the given pack gets utilised, the company can refill the same.

Users get a valid prescription at the end of a consultation and can get medicines delivered using the MFine app’s medicine delivery service. MFine also allows a physical follow-up with the doctor at hospitals with no additional costs.

The three-year old startup was founded by Lawania (Myntra co-founder) and Prasad Kompalli, a former business head at Myntra. The founders were later joined by Ajit Narayanan, former Myntra chief technical officer, Arjun Choudhary, former Myntra head of growth marketing.

The startup has raised over $25 million till date and has 300 employees in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

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