In the time of a contagious global pandemic, a reliable telehealth system is definitely a welcome innovation. Consulting doctors in today’s world is no easy task with it taking ages to even book a slot with a good doctor. Connect2MyDoctor is a solution that makes consultations easier for both doctors and patients. It is not a replacement for the conventional care process but rather works complementary to it. It deals primarily with first time consultations, second opinion, follow up visits, medical report reviews, repeat prescriptions, home care, post procedure care etc. In conversation with Founder, Pramod Kutty, we learn more about the virtual telehealth platform and how it is beneficial to the society.
Give a brief info about Connect2MyDoctor?
Connect2MyDoctor uses technology as the mode to deliver high quality telehealth care to patients. The compelling idea is simple: healthcare demand and supply are not matched. The current model insists that patients present in person to a location of the doctor’s choice or use nonclinical tools like WhatsApp video, Face Time, Skype etc.
Connect2MyDoctor is a comprehensive virtual care platform that manages all the logistics in the care process. The platform has been designed and developed ground up to be secure, intuitive, user friendly, cost efficient and relevant.
Connect2MyDoctor address multiple use cases of connecting tertiary and primary care, remote patient triage, homecare, ambulatory care and direct to consumer telehealth.
What is the story behind this startup? What gave way to the idea of Connect2MyDoctor?
In 2015 when I had to consult a specialist for my daughter the wait period was too long due to the holiday season and busy schedule of the doctor. During this time, I spent time on Dr Google to do research on the condition and also connected with doctors overseas via email and WhatsApp. The whole experience of scheduling the appointment, making payment, sharing reports etc. was so cumbersome, that I thought that there has to be a better way to do it.
I started speaking to a few friends and realized they had similar issues to get connected with specialists, getting second opinion, avoiding going to doctor for follow up visits because of the wait period, traffic, busy schedules etc.
I also spoke to over 50 doctors to understand their side of the story and realized they had concerns on data sharing, privacy, getting remunerated for consultation, platforms being easy to use etc.
The conclusion was that the process of care was more complex than the actual care itself.
This gave the idea of building a platform for patients enabling them to be closer to care and for doctors to create a secure, easy to use, clinically relevant connected platform.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
Pramod is an experienced New Product Development Manager and Technology entrepreneur. Pramod fulfilled the responsibility of launching new products across multi channels and geographies. His core strengths have been New Product Development, Product Evangelist, Business Development, Team building and Cross functional alignment. Key areas: Mobile, Internet, Digital Health.
At Connect2MyDoctor, Pramod bootstrapped a world-class telehealth platform ground up and engaged with some of the largest multi-specialty hospitals in India and the Middle East. Prior to founding Connect2MyDoctor, Pramod had been assisted clients in Healthcare, Media and Beverages domain across Melbourne and Dubai to launch products in Web and Mobile.
Before relocating to Melbourne, Pramod worked at Omnicom Media Group (NYSE: OMC) Dubai as a Business Manager – Mobility. He managed the entire responsibility to launch the business unit, build the practice, recruit and train the team and lead the business development. The business unit went on to create several award-winning products for some of the largest clients in the network during his time.
Prior to Omnicom, Pramod was hired to launch the Asia and Middle East business at July Systems (Now part of Cisco) as Sr. Program Manager. He worked with major telecom and media companies in the region to help them go mobile. He was responsible for overall business management, marketing, revenue maximization and relationship management functions for the allocated region. He also played an active role in launching IPL (India’s most popular Sports league) on Mobile which was selected as 1st place for the “Mobile International” category at the 2010 Mobile Excellence Awards. Other finalists included Conde Nast, EA Mobile, and Warner Bros.
Prior to July Systems, as one of the first Product Managers of OnMobile, Pramod joined as an Account Manager and later then went ahead to head the Data and Messaging business.
Telehealth is a relatively new concept, could you please tell us more about it and its different benefits?
The concept of TELEMEDICINE isn’t new or unfamiliar, but it seems to only NOW be reaching a critical mass, building towards the tipping point at which mass adoption takes hold.
As mentioned earlier, today the process of care is far more complex that the care itself. For a 5-10 min consultation with the doctor, the whole process of making arrangement at home, work, traffic, parking, waiting period at the doctor’s office etc.
We truly believe that care is best given in person, but care provided via telehealth is truly complementary to the care process and never a replacement. Most suited for first time consultation, second opinion, follow up visits, medical report reviews, repeat prescriptions, home care, post procedure care.
In the initial days one of the patients from Dubai who used the system sums up the benefits/experience – Pramod, I have bought tickets online, ordered food online but never have I imagined that I could consult with my doctor from Tirur, Malappuram sitting in my living room with my family. Thank you very much for supporting us.
What advantages do a Hospitals (Doctor) gain by associating with you?
Connect2MyDoctor is a fully integrated telehealth platform enabling hospitals to:
- Stay connected with their patients across video, voice and chat
- Create a virtual profile for their doctors
- Enable patients to schedule or request appointments, submit detailed appointments, make payment across 93+ global currencies
- Branded presence across Web, iPhone and Android
- HIPAA compliant and ISO 27001 certified security standards
- Create group consultations session with patients (for upto 20 participants)
- Detailed live reports on performance
- Record consultations for future reference
- Enable the office/reception staff to support the lesser tech savvy patients
- Extend telehealth solutions to home care, connect with branch/referral clinics, first response care, in patient care etc
Could you tell us more about AHPI and your association with it?
The Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI) has selected Connect2MyDoctor (C2MD) as its preferred Telemedicine/Telehealth Partner.
As part of this association, 10,000+ Member hospitals and clinics of AHPI are invited to take advantage of this collaborative arrangement by working with Neev Labs (via Connect2MyDoctor) to improve their own respective services and outcomes for patients via telemedicine
By working together, AHPI and Neev Labs (via Connect2MyDoctor) aims to provide practical benefits and improved value for all users, hospitals, administrators, doctors and ultimately the patients.
Could you tell us about how the platform has been received since 2016? Has it seen an increase after the pandemic?
2016 to Early 2020 we were working with around 800 doctors across 20+ specialisation. While the hospitals and doctors loved the product and the flow, they were not ready. Post Feb 2020, we have been flat out with receiving calls from almost all the hospitals and doctors who we had presented the solution to see how we can help them go online immediately. This led to onboarding many hospitals and the consultations have hit the roof. Nearly 95% of the users are first time users who are using mobile phones or computers to consult a doctor. The users are from both urban and rural areas and across all age groups. The consultations have grown over 100% with partners hospitals and clinics.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
While the technology existed long ago, this is all about consumer behavior and change. Both of which takes time to see a difference. We interact a lot with our users to understand their experience and learn from their feedback. Until they experience it once, it is difficult for them to realise virtual consults with their doctors are possible, is convenient and is close to life like experience. Once they realize this, they visit the doctor in person only when it is required, and care is just a click away.
The cases are very similar with doctors, the difficult part is to get them onboard and do the first consult. Post their first consult and they are satisfied there is nothing stopping them, they manage their own schedule, receive payments in advance, do the consult, review the reports, create prescriptions and set up follow up appointments.
The doctors and hospital partners have been a great support in our growth and act as co-creators of the platform. We work closely with them to understand their requirement and these inputs go into the product feature development and roadmap
How many Doctors do you have on board at the moment and have you partnered with hospitals?
Today we work with 35+ hospitals across India, UAE, Bahrain, Turkey, Oman, Australia, and Azerbaijan. We have onboarded 2000+ doctors across 35+ specialties.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Apart from myself, the leadership team comprises of
Nelby Joseph – The CTO and Co-Founder – Been long time friends
David Wright – Director Strategy, Introduced to us by our investor
Nitin Mohandas – Director Partnerships, Introduced by a good friend
And 10 Team Members who been with us through thick and thin
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