Building access to quality healthcare: COVID-19 & beyond

(THE FINAL PART OF A TWO-PART SERIES)

Building a sustainable business 

The last three years saw us fine-tuning our business model, with several businesses recording steady growth. It is an exciting time in Practo’s history as the overall health of our company continues to get stronger.

While unique users on our platform increased to 175 million, our telemedicine solution truly took off early this year. The COVID-19 pandemic also provided the push necessary for India to embrace telemedicine, which proved to be an extremely valuable tool in ensuring continuity of care while keeping both doctors and patients safe.

Over the last six months, growth in teleconsultations went up by 10x. This means that what was considered a luxury just a few months ago, has become a necessity today. 80% of all our telemedicine customers were first-time users, while approximately 50% consultations were from non-metro cities. A high CSAT score is further testament to the quality of our service:

 

[*More than 90% of users rate Practo 4 and 5]

There are now over 25,000 verified doctors who provide online consultations on Practo. This is indicative of growth to the tune of over 1000% in just four months. These doctors enable us to provide consultations anywhere, anytime – even at odd hours, weekends and holidays. The objective is to further increase this number to keep up with the growing demand on the platform.

Our medicine and diagnostic businesses are also holding strong with consistent growth. We are adding new pin codes every day, and targeting shorter ETAs with every order. Today, we are serving 16,000 pin codes across the country and are looking to serve 25,000 pin codes soon.

Insta, our HIMS business which largely operates in the Middle East and international markets, has grown 3x post-acquisition in 2015. It remains as reliable and consistent as ever, posting strong and steady growth throughout the year, resulting in significant revenue growth and profitability. In fact, it is EBIT and cash flow positive today

Furthermore, our gross margin is at an all-time high, while burn is at its lowest. In fact, our positive unit economics, reduced cash burn, and good gross margins across products have not only boosted our operating revenue but has also given us a solid financial runway for the next few years to execute our growth strategy.

Burn rate reduced by 57% from FY 18 to FY 20

But while building an environment of trust in healthcare has been integral to our story and what we have been able to build over the last 12 years, what is going to be even more critical is how we transform as an organization from here. 

Focus on building a patient-centric healthcare system of tomorrow 

As we look at the future of healthcare, patients would be at the front, center, and heart of it. Together with our doctor partners, we will strive to achieve the following through 2020 and beyond:

1. Highest quality of health outcomes

With the objective of attaining the highest quality in medical care,

  • We will double down our efforts on ensuring Registered Medical Professionals (RMPs or qualified medical practitioners) have access to our platform, actively fighting all forms of quackery and enabling access to only genuine, verified doctors
  • Onboard more senior doctors to help train, audit and monitor quality of consultations facilitated on our platform
  • Launch new initiatives to solve for challenges on lack of clarity around various specializations and qualifications

2. Equitable access to quality healthcare, from Bengaluru to Barsi

For greater participation, especially from smaller towns and tier 2 and 3 cities,

  • We will build a multilingual interface that will expand access to quality healthcare
  • This will also enable interactions in native languages, bringing quality care to remote locations

3. Continuous care over episodic intervention

In order to ensure that care is connected, on-demand and synchronous, we will:

  • Double our focus on digitization on the provider-side to make care-giving seamless
  • Simultaneously, we will make healthcare patient-centric and preventive

4. Build a sustainable, resilient healthcare system and business

To attain our goal of sustained profitability and make a lasting difference, we will:

  • Harness technologies like AI to increase operational efficiencies and improve user experience 
  • Optimize our processes and integrate systemic improvements to create a scalable and sustainable business model that will deliver long-term value for all
  • Capture next 200 million customers by continued focus on expansion and growth

Progressing together as partners

What started as a simple SaaS company 12 years ago, has made rapid strides over the years to emerge as an integrated healthcare technology company, delivering major improvements to patient care by focusing on exceptional doctor experiences.

None of this would have been possible without the staunch commitment of all Practeons – former and current. We take immense pride in this team, where each and every member is not only the best at what they do but also have a deep understanding of the huge responsibility they carry in delivering on the mission of making quality healthcare accessible and affordable for a billion+ Indians. 

Here’s a deep appreciation for the hard work, perseverance and unwavering dedication of the 4000+ Practeons who have continued to prove the naysayers wrong, every step of the way. This is one of the toughest industries to be in, but they’ve stood against all odds to do what they’re known to do best – be a Practeon. Did you know that the word Practeon originates from being in the company of neutrons, electrons, and protons? An atomic particle which aims to contribute at the most fundamental level. Practeons everywhere, you did great! Thank you.

And while our own efforts to build what Practo is today cannot be disputed, Practo has been possible because of the overall ecosystem, inspiration, and support from doctors, hospital administrators, investors, and the government. 

The trust that customers and partners place on us, and the belief that doctors have on us to co-create healthcare ecosystems for the people is what keeps us going. 

A special thank you to our source of inspiration, our doctor partners. Change is never easy, more so in the Healthcare Industry, but we are grateful for our many patient supporters who cheered for us along the way and guided us. 

As for many others on the fence, who are yet to see the full potential of technology in healthcare, we understand it comes from a sense of commitment towards the industry, and we’re determined to work with you and help realize the true potential of technology in healthcare. A true hero in every sense, their dedication, hard work, sincerity, and care for patients is unmatched. We take a leaf out of their book and try to do what’s best for all involved, especially patients. They were our inspiration to start the company, and they continue to inspire Practo and each Practeon, every day, to do more, be more.

And finally our consumers, you are the reason for our existence. We love building products and solutions that help you in your healthcare journey. We have just begun, and while we have a long way to go, we’re focusing on solving problems, elevating pain, and eliminating friction to a point where consumers have to just worry about themselves and their health, leaving everything else to us.

Digital healthcare today is witnessing more participation than ever before, and is seeing steady growth and progress, indicated by more number of entrepreneurs, more high-quality talent, and more capital. 

We’re thrilled to work with many of them to build innovative solutions that are the need of the hour.

The industry and the country needs more hands, more innovation, and more entrepreneurs. It’s only when we have access to quality healthcare for all billion+ Indians, that the country will truly become atmanirbhar. We stand committed to the country’s agenda for health for all and will continue to work closely with various state and national governments to solve for one of the most important aspects in healthcare: access.

They say a company’s vision comes from its people’s deepest desire to solve a real problem. Our deepest desire is to ensure no Indian goes without access to quality healthcare. We will continue to chase this goal as we build an impactful company that touches the lives of a billion+ Indians. 

Signing off with a few lines from the Upanishads:

“You are what your deepest desire is. As is your desire, so is your intention. As is your intention, so is your will. As is your will, so is your deed.”  

#dogreat

Shashank ND, Abhinav Lal on behalf of Team Practo

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Practo

Practo is on a mission to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible for over a billion+ Indians. India’s leading integrated healthcare company it connects the entire healthcare ecosystem together – including patients, doctors, surgeons, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and diagnostics – to generate exceptional value and service for all, especially the end consumers.

As technology becomes an integral part of healthcare, Practo has also become an essential enabler in helping doctors understand the nuances of managing and securely storing all health data. Practo encrypts all data with 256-bit encryption, uses HIPAA-compliant data centers, and is one of the few healthcare companies to be ISO 27001 certified. Practo is present in 20+ countries, helping over 30 crore patients, by connecting them with 1 lakh+ verified doctor partners.

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