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Startup of the Week: Healthcare sector is poised to grow to US$ 280 billion by 2020: myCol

Vaibhav1Aimed towards simplifying the hospitalization experience for patients and their caretakers in India, Circle of Life Healthcare Private Limited launched an app called myCol.

Starting its journey from Delhi/NCR, myCol provides exhaustive information of more than 1300 hospitals across the city, irrespective of size and facilities, through an easy to use map based search. However, myCol is not associated with specific health care centres or doctors to promote them.

“It is our mission to provide you with the correct information and most importantly with all the information so that you can make a better decision. However, it must be noted that we shall be charging a nominal market development and service fee to hospitals where our free assistance service is provided to users to cover for the intensive personalized time spent on each case,” commented Vaibhav Singh, Co-Founder and CEO, myCol.

Indian healthcare industry

India’s health care industry is developing at a great pace and is expected to reach US$ 160 billion by 2017, according to Frost & Sullivan.

According to Singh, it is expected that the sector is poised to grow to US$ 280 billion by 2020, at an average CAGR of 21 per cent from 2012 to 2020. Of this total healthcare investment in the country, hospitals will account for 71 per cent i.e. US$ 196 billion.

“Private sector’s share in healthcare delivery is expected to increase from 66 per cent in 2005 to 81 per cent by 2015. In 2013, US$ 25 billion was the revenue share of Private hospital including Super Specialty chains out of the total Healthcare revenue of US$ 80 billion. For the same year the revenue by disease stood at US$ 38 billion for High per cent surgical interventions such as cardiovascular/hypertension/oncology etc and US$ 42 billion for disease requiring mainly Pharma interventions such as Infectious disease/derma/gastro”, added Singh.

Scope for start-ups

Singh believes that, the number of start-ups in the healthcare sector is limited but is expected to grow rapidly in the near future. However, most of these start-ups focus on the outpatient cases.

He further mentioned that, at present, there does not exist any company, which provides a one-stop solution in the in-patient domain. It is also important to mention that all start-ups are focusing on the product side of the business with little or no attention being paid to the human touch (the service element).

MycolThe beginning

The Genesis of the business lies in the results of an in-depth research, which was done by Professor Kapoor and his team on the subject of access to and adoption of technology and its impact on health outcomes. It was also tempered by some personal experiences of both the founders whereby they had a close interaction with in-patient facilities in the recent past, which highlighted the obvious gaps, which a consumer faces in today’s healthcare delivery model in India.

The research was conducted through primary survey of patients (and their care takers) in the biggest hospitals in NCR (Max, Fortis, Apollo, Medanta Medicity) using a simple questionnaire methodology. Four major issues emerged from the patient’s side such as

Lack of information regarding hospitals, doctors and facilities, put them at a severe disadvantage.

The patients and the caretakers were not given appropriate advice on the procedures involved and so ended up wasting 3 to 4 hours during admission.

In case of billing – the expectations and the actual did not meet. No one explained various parts of the bill (for example, doctors’ fees, procedure charges, consumables and medicines etc.) as a result led to mistrust and misgivings.

For the doctors: the biggest issue centred around patient compliance – follow ups, timely and regular intake of prescribed medicines, bringing complete health records post procedures.

Funding journey

The Company is privately funded with some support from HNI friends and family. The funds have been used for various segments such as office establishment costs, product development and testing, first set of hirings and design.

Singh further mentioned that, venture is now looking to raise external funding to increase the network of hospitals where the assistant service is to be made available, to hire more employees and to expand to other markets.

Mechanism of myCol

myCol is completely free for the users and the Company wants to promote myCOL as a the preferred choice of all patients and caretakers needing to visit a hospitals.

Thus, it is aimed to create a platform which is so deep rooted that several elements within the same would provide appropriate monetization opportunities for the Company.

In the near term, a nominal service fee is being charged to hospitals as ‘market development and service fee’ to cover the resource intensive assistance service being provided to patients to handle the administrative tasks at admission, insurance and discharge on their behalf.

The target group

Singh informed that, the venture is positioning myCol as a responsibility application. The biggest burden of administrative issues regarding in-patient admission, insurance, discharge and post hospital care falls upon the patient’s caretaker. These caretakers are typically in the age group of 18 – 44 years.

The target group for myCOL would be these caretakers who are early adopters of technology. With the myCOL app, through a simple click on a smart phone, a son residing in Bangalore can search for a suitable hospital for his father in Delhi. He can also book a personal assistant absolutely free to handle all administrative issues at the hospital of his choice and much more.

Team myCol

myCOL is in the process of hiring out its team and expects to be 30+ strong by end October 2015.

All customer facing tasks will be completely managed through technology whereby all employees will be equipped with smart phones to handle patient cases and queries. The entire roistering, scheduling and matching of the assistant service is being done through a proprietary admin panel that has been created in-house to avoid any logistical issues due to manual intervention.

The management team will be spearheading initiatives to expand the geographical reach to other markets and other strategic issues.

Future plans

myCol intends to roll-out its service in Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore by March 2016 and then Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune by Sept 2016. It is targeting to launch its Medical Tourism business by March 2016 with an initial focus on the Middle East and Africa.

In next one year myCol is all set to cover 1440 hospitals in 6 cities with 1296 staff strength. The venture is also planning to serve patients annually and will try to 252000 beds in its network.