One of the trickiest things many consumers face when it comes to healthcare and hospitals is the numerous available options and finding the right kind of facilities when it comes to surgery, healthcare, or the credible doctors. Driven by a personal nightmarish experience, an Indian startup decided to come up with a way to help others find credible healthcare and surgery options available in the market.
"It all started when with a hellish experience when I was doing some research to find the best cardiac hospital for my father's CABG (coronery artery bypass surgery)," said Amit Bhagat, founder of Surgerica, who shared details about his startup in an e-mail. "Then this idea came to create a place where credible information can be curated, and we launched the site on April 18, 2013."
Surgerica touts itself as a platform where you can research a medical condition, and find credible and curated results. It's an ecosystem comprising all stakeholders--doctors, hospitals, and patients--and you can determine exactly how much the treatment would cost before you approach healthcare providers.
The website aims to solve these problems, which Bhagat said are common issues faced by consumers:
Specific treatment is either unaffordable, inaccessible, or unavailable in the home city or country, pushing people to seek treatment by traveling to another city, state, or even country;
Lack of pricing consistency and information of medical procedures in the industry;
Getting a treatment plan from multiple hospitals is time-consuming; and
No option to compare and choose available services.
While the site currently doesn't have a direct competitor, Pokitdoc.com offers somewhat similar services by providing cost estimates of medical treatment. However, it does not provide consultation features such as e-consult and video consult, which are available on Surgerica.
Bhagat said the site's primary target audience are consumers looking for treatment information and who want to consult doctors online before stepping into the hospital or clinic. He said its services can meet the needs of anyone who wants to identify the best hospital or doctor that fits his pocket.
Extended service modules can also be used by hospitals to manage patient queries and maintain regular followups with the patient, he added. Currently, Surgerica lists information on hospitals in India, Singapore, and Thailand.
It uses content shared across major social media networks to acquire customers and also is in talks with a few companies to roll out a paid employee health benefit scheme. Currently, the startup has 25 to 45 user signups a day and already has over 350 hospital facilities. It will be adding 15 such centers every week, Bhagat said, adding that plans also are underway to launch a mobile app.
He outlined some key features provided by the startup:
Treatment Connect: It enables users to view a brief opinion, provisional line of treatment, and an estimate of the medical treatment so patients can plan in advance their finances. It also provides credible insights to help users make informed decisions.
E-Connect: It offers doctors' opinions and information on treatment plans.
Video-Connect : Delivered through partnerships with hospitals, this video consultation service aims to help increase patient trust and clear doubt, especially if the patient chooses to travel to another city for consultation.
Inbuilt Knowledge Bank: A patient can check cost estimates from Surgerica's database comprising different medical procedures, free of cost.
In a nutshell, the Indian startup aims to provide services to help consumers curate information and compare quotes between hospitals before choosing the most suitable healthcare service.
According to Bhagat, Surgerica is looking to raise seed fund. The team plans to launch a "Q-Desk" for hospitals, clinics, labs, and pharmacies, offering features provided by marketing automation software--including electronic medical records--designed specifically for healthcare services delivery.
The startup is also planning to maintain an online review and rating system where a patient can directly review the services of the portal, hospital, and doctor. This adds transparency across the entire system as well as allow patients to connect with others who receive the same treatment.
It is also looking to simplify the healthcare process to help immigration authorities track and monitor international medical tourists, by maintaining real-time online status of the patient which will be made accessible to the authorities through a special portal.