India’s healthcare ecosystem is deeply fragmented and this has compounded the problems that come with major calamities. While India has dealt with past incidents through spirited efforts, that’s simply not enough to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, patients are clueless about which hospitals to approach or which healthcare centres to visit for non-Covid emergencies. Accessing a pharmacy, primary or a specialty care for other illnesses has become more difficult than ever.
From doctors to pharmacists, hospitals, insurers and clinics, the healthcare chain is stretched to its thinnest. At the same time, most patients are unaware of healthcare needs and requirements, and they leverage digital healthcare platforms only when the need arises or in the case of a healthcare emergency. And here too, there’s no platform that takes care of the full chain of healthcare — i.e from tests to treatment to recovery.
Connecting this gap in the Indian healthcare ecosystem is Mumbai-based WonDRx, an integrated healthtech startup which has solutions for patients and healthcare practitioners on a single platform.
Unlike other healthtech players that offer individual or patient, doctor, hospital, pharmacy-focused solutions, WonDRx is going for a marketplace approach. As such it is competing with various leading healthtech startups such as Practo, Portea, mFine, Lybrate, Pharmeasy, Curefit, 1mg and others.
Citing Justdial, Amazon and MakeMyTrip that have transformed professional services, ecommerce and travel sectors, WonDRx cofounder Pankaj Sindhu told Inc42 that the startup is looking to take an aggregator view for various healthcare services under a single platform.
“We are bringing everything together, where patients don’t have to go to individual platforms for video consultation, online pharmacy, lab tests, etc. Also, we are fulfilling the demand of healthtech providers, alongside supporting healthcare practitioners.”
According to MarketsAndMarkets, the global healthcare IT integration market is expected to reach $6 Bn by 2025, from $3.5 Bn in 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.4%. The growth of the market is said to be fuelled by rising healthcare costs and the growing volume of data generated in healthcare systems.
WonDRx claims to have access to 8.5 Lakh chemists across the country, 20K technology labs, and 200+ hospitals to back its aggregator play. Founded in 2018, WonDRx was founded by healthcare industry veterans Pankaj Sindhu and Pankaj Agrawal. Prior to this, the cofounders have had senior management stints across companies like Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals (Merck), Ranbaxy, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Biogen, UCB and others. In 2010, Sindhu, who is also a serial entrepreneur, had founded Health Impetus, a chronic disease management startup, and Swastham Care, a diabetes chronic management company, which were acquired by Noida-based Healthcare At Home.
Doctors Like To Write, Period!
“Today, nobody is focusing on handwritten prescriptions,” — WonDRx cofounder Pankaj Sindhu.
While most digital solutions are telling doctors to start typing instead of writing prescriptions, it is not a natural action for many doctors and often takes longer than writing a prescription. That is the reason many clinical management tools don’t have the efficacy needed.
Digitising the medical prescription writing experience for doctors, WonDRx began working on developing a tool called Smart Rx Paper. This device claims to offer doctors the ease of converting written prescriptions into digital format, along with voice-recorded instructions and contextual educational videos as patients tend to forget doctor’s instructions.
This was the start of WonDRx’s journey towards integrating healthcare solutions. In no time, the company started connecting the patients and healthcare service providers, where it launched patients and providers applications. Currently, its apps for patients and providers are free. “The idea is to focus on helping the entire provider network, rather than make money at this point in time,” Sindhu added.
Smart Rx Paper developed by WonDRx is similar to an A4 size paper, which comes with a prescription pad with four colour variants, and costs about INR 70.
Healthcare At Your Fingertips
Due to lockdowns, patients today are finding it difficult to access healthcare providers around them. Looking to solve this issue, WonDRx recently launched a new feature on its patients app which helps them discover reliable diagnostic centres, physiotherapists, dieticians, pharmacists and paediatricians etc.
Covering each and every aspect of healthcare will not only improve access for patients, but also fulfils the demand for healthcare providers and support healthcare practitioners. Currently, WonDRx has about 20+ categories on its platform, including healthcare providers right from paediatricians, to gynaecologists, ayurveda, pharmacists, telemedicine and others. Recently, the company has launched a health emergency feature which alerts neighbours, nearby doctors, hospitals and ambulance services with just a push of a button.
“In these stressful times, a lot of people are getting health emergency, where they are prone to chronic diseases, choking, anxiety, depression and heart attacks, and when that happens, it is really difficult for patients to reach out for help, with this health emergency feature, we are providing users the access to emergency care,” said Sindhu.
In speciality care, a lot of patients are struggling to find access to hospitals, be it for treatments like dialysis, chemotherapy, diabetes or other diseases. WonDRx has simplified the discovery feature, where patients can specify the health conditions, and the app then shows the nearby healthcare providers based on their requirements.
Last month, the company also launched a new feature which lets patients upload their existing handwritten prescription, lab tests, scan reports and other medical reports via phone camera, thereby creating a digital record of the patient. This can be used by healthcare practitioners while consulting the patient in the future.
The Road Ahead For WonDRx
Going forward, WonDRx said that it will continue innovating its product, where it is looking to add more features, and are planning to aggressively hire new talent in the coming months. Once the product is strengthened, the company said that it will get into the next phase of funding, where it will be raising Series A round by end of this year.
Initially, started with three people, the company today has over 30 members. Backed by NB Ventures and Venture Catalysts, WonDRx has received close to $1 Mn in seed funding. Currently, it is present in 20+ cities. The Smart Rx Paper product is claimed to be used by 1K doctors, and more than 100K people are using the WonDRx app. In the coming months, the company is targeting to partner with over 10K healthcare service providers.
“Today, we are experimenting with multiple strategies, and getting customers will remain a continuous journey. As soon as the lockdown opens up, our sales team will be active again, and we’ll be aggressively adding more doctors and healthcare providers onto our platform.”