MDT interviewed Mr Sachin Mishra, founder and director of bookdrappointment.com, an e-health platform designed to help patients find and make an informed choice about doctors as well as book appointments with them
MDT: Tell us about your venture.
SM: BookDrAppointment.com (BDA) as the name suggests empowers users to make an informed choice by browsing through various specialists like Gynaecologists, Dermatologists, Orthopedicians, Pediatricians and many more who are currently part of our 90,000+ Doctors across the major cities. The patients can find the specialists on basis of their affordability. Not only this, but if you are confused as to which specialty doctor you need to go then you call BDA to get the advice from their professionally trained medical staff as per your budget.
Currently our team size is 20. Our small yet able team includes my co-founder Dipen Vadodaria who worked in U.S. on Electronic Medical Records for a long time and has more than 2 decades of experience in IT industry & my marketing head. Our Data and Development teams are the backbone of BDA.
Our vision is to help patients to get best and affordable health services to their nearest place worldwide.
MDT: You have done hard work, converting an idea into a reality. Tell us about your journey since its inception. vision verses day to day management.
SM: With over 14 years’ experience in the healthcare industry and having worked for pharmaceuticals giants like Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s Lab and Emcure in various top management roles, I was aware of the fact that with over 1 million medical practitioners across India, there are many patients who do not know which Doctor to choose for their healthcare needs. Keeping this in mind, I founded BookDrAppointment.com in 2014. In May 2015, BDA made its first commercial launch in the city of Pune and is all poised to take a big leap into the bigger Metro cities in the coming months.
Being from the Healthcare background, initiating the IT Start up and bearing the huge development cost and facing certain technical issues was surely not easy. Employing experienced people under an unknown brand name was the other challenge that we faced, but we did take on the challenges head on to put the right team in place as we firmly believe that for a start up the initial team is the foundation of the business. The other important challenge to meet was the correctness of the all India doctor data collected. We realised that data collection & updation is an ongoing process in this field so we need to have a fully dedicated Data Team in place.
BDA believes in encouraging young talent and hence this team consists of young, passionate and Self-motivated employees who work with utmost commitment and ownership.
MDT: Following to the previous question, tell us the greatest support/guidance that has been there to you uptil now.
SM: Converting an idea into reality with ground level implementation is surely an uphill task. The greatest support is undoubtedly the support of my team and my family. I have always got the right direction from my mentors who have made me what I am today. Being a Technology Entrepreneur and a Product Specialist, my co-founder Dipen has immensely contributed to moulding BDA into what it is today.
MDT: Healthcare technology startups are the in thing now days. But most these don’t last long due to the lack of funding. Tell us your experience/journey/hardships in getting funding.
SM: Everyone likes reading about success stories, but it is equally important to read about failures too as it helps learn and avoid repeating mistakes. It is not only important to raise funds, but also to utilize it effectively. A clear message of ‘being ready with a product, market and customers’ is most important for an investor to partner with you and take you to the next level.
BDA, initially self-funded has successfully raised its Angel Round of Funding and now is all set for the Series A funding round. I will strongly suggest 3 important points to every new entrepreneur:
- Evaluate your idea, prepare a prototype and test in a small area before putting any big investment into it
- Once testing is done and you get good results, raise your money to build the business
- Ensure that you keep your family budget aside for a year so that you don’t stress out
MDT: Where do you think you stand with respect to the competition in your field?
SM: The online healthcare industry in India is still at a nascent stage and has the potential to grow rapidly over the next five years. The e-healthcare industry is going to boom due to increase in internet penetration and healthcare awareness among people.
The USP of this venture is to provide patients the affordable best trusted doctors for their health needs. Not Only Patients but BDA has their strong product for doctors which help doctors from getting new patients to retaining them for a long time. Our main USP is to get the local patient to the nearby trusted doctors, for which we take lot of local initiatives.
With the help of this product, the existing patients of a doctor can be a big source of reference for new patients. BDA has launched a unique PRM (Patient Relationship Management) along with features of Appointment and Profile management for doctors for their smart phones through the BDA Doctor App. Patient Relationship Management helps establish a strong personal bonding and a constant connection between the doctor and the patient.
MDT: What lies in the future?
SM: Going beyond the existing patient-doctor platform, we are looking at a lot of diverse components of healthcare that can be one day easily added to our existing doctor-patient platform. Just to give an example of a couple of many things we are doing, we are working on developing algorithms that would help us make better predictions about patients’ health even when data is not coded properly. This could prove to be the biggest boon in the healthcare environment such as India.
We are also working with local groups to see whether using the technology to capture certain health indicators and consumption data coupled with timely interventions, can help patients overcome certain hard to beat problems such as weight and fitness.