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Mon, 20 Nov 2017

Northeast Today

VizitDoc Aims to Bridge Rural and Urban Healthcare in Northeast

VizitDoc Aims to Bridge Rural and Urban Healthcare in Northeast
November 08
17:35 2017

NET Bureau, Kingson Chingakham

Most of the services provided by the new start-ups are ideally concentrated in the Tier-I cities. Due to lack of infrastructure and investment, Tier II and III cities have failed to reach such services. For example, the app based services like cab booking, healthcare and food are all booming in the bigger cities. One reason why it has not worked properly in Tier II and III can be the difference in the lifestyle. VizitDoc, a start-up in Assam, is constantly working towards closing down the gap between the rural and the urban healthcare. Currently, it is catering services in Silchar, Karimganj and Hailankandi.

Initiation of the Idea

S. Koushik Debroy and Ashish Singh, the co-founders of VizitDoc, noticed the trivial problems in scheduling appointment with the doctors. People across the region find the process of consulting the doctors more cumbersome and worrisome than the disease itself. Those who come from the rural areas in the hope to get themselves treated lend up struggling to fix appointments with the doctors. The process gets very hectic, as patients and the families start lining up in queues as early as 3 am outside the popular clinics and doctors. Therefore, the patients who needs rest, ends up standing in queue.

“I noticed this problem and discussed it with my friends and family. After a lot of discussions, my brother and sister-in-law motivated me enough to pursue it. Soon, we started the ground level research by talking to doctors and a lot of people outside clinics. Finally, after 6 months, we started VizitDoc in May 2017 and two months later launched a beta version of our first product,” says Koushik while talking to Northeast Today.

S. Koushik Debroy                                                                S. Koushik Debroy

The research revealed that the average ratio of doctors to patients in India is around 1:1700 and the ratio increases significantly in the rural areas to the disadvantage of the patients. This struck the co-founders to connect the rural population with VizitDoc, to provide convenience in healthcare services.

Challenges

The rural populations are not comfortable with the technology due to lack of awareness, training and infrastructure. To sensitize the population with the technology was itself a big challenge. Since a large chunk of the population was not well connected to the internet, VizitDoc realized that the services have to be made opened both online and offline. Offline payments have been very challenging. But the organization is hopeful for a successful turnaround rate with the help of its payment partners.

To solve these challenges, the start-up came up with a plan to implement their strategies in phases. The first and the current phase aim to bring 300+ doctors and clinics on board. It has been difficult for the start-up to include sales to doctors and clinics and making them believe in their services and products. Meanwhile, in order to make it easier for the users to get accustomed, a very basic and clean interface has been created.

In the second phase, the start-up is looking to create awareness and utilising the product for more than just booking an appointment. This will help to penetrate more rural areas and work towards the realization of their objectives.

Operations

VizitDoc is a bootstrapping venture as of now. It started off with initial investments from the pockets of the co-founders. The revenue source is from the consumer. On every successful appointment, there is an additional booking fee. Basic features like doctors and clinics to list their profile are free for all. The startup is planning to roll out a premium version for doctors and clinics to add additional features to their profile. As of now, the booking can be done on the websites and also through offline voice calls at the particular assigned number.

S. Koushik Debroy added, “We came up with three products, one being “vizitdoc.com” which is the consumer website for booking an appointment and is already operational. We have two more products in our current roadmap. For the doctors, VizitDoc manage and for clinics “VizitDoc clinic“. These three products will ensure that the appointments are always synced up with everyone involved and eventually will create an hassle-free medical record.”

Ashish Singh                                                               Ashish Singh

Expansion

VizitDoc has managed to bring 80+ doctors on board in just 6 months. Currently operational mainly in Silchar, Assam, the startup is planning to start their operations in other parts of the Northeast region by the third quarter of the next year. S. Koushik Debroy said, “According to our study, 70 per cent of the population of India live in the Rural areas. Our target audience in the entire country is more than 300 million users who have access to phones. In North East alone, our target audience is more than 30 million out of which more than 11 million users have access to internet. With the introduction of low rate mobile phones and internet data, these numbers are expected to increase significantly in the following years.”

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