US-based global healthcare major Abbott has launched ‘a: care’, a digital platform for consumers and doctors to interact on health-related issues, fix appointments and also connect to epharmacies for making medical purchases in India.
Interestingly, Abbott’s app has added elements of gamification such as quizzes, surveys and recognition programs to support patients, doctors and pharmacists throughout their healthcare journey, from awareness and prevention to staying motivated. It is currently focussing on addressing diabetes, thyroid and osteoarthritis treatments.
Customers are also incentivised and given points as they progress in their gamified learning, and that the points can be used to purchase medicines, etc.
A cursory glance on a: care app suggests that customers are provided with 50 points during the sign-up process. However, the points cannot be used to purchase any Abbott-related products, as it wants to be neutral and has said that its initiative will not be monetised.
The app has currently on-boarded epharmacy 1 Mg on its platform, who is just like a seller in ecommerce platforms. But, for all the customer purchases, he/she is redirected to epharmacies website, respectively. For physicians, the platform offers virtual learning tools from international experts, along with medical-related knowledge materials.
According to Abbott India head for pharmaceuticals, Jawed Zia, all personal information shared by the customers on the platform are being vetted by a panel of medical experts and that Abbott will not access the data being generated nor will it sell any of its products via a: care app.
While India’s new FDI ecommerce policy permits the ecommerce companies to enter into transactions with sellers only and on business-to-business (B2B) basis, the current draft data policy mandates that data fiduciary to ensure storage of at least one copy of a user’s personal data on a server or data centre located in India.
Zia said that Abbott’s a: care app will abide by the prevailing laws in the country that affect the company. The app is also available in Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam, Russia and Brazil.
With this initiative, Abbott will compete with the likes of healthtech startups including Practo, Netmeds, MedGenome, and Curofy. Abbot wants to create a user base of 1 Mn in five years for the a: care app.