Photo - Mobile App to Book Appointments with doctor for rural India.
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Mobile App to Book Appointments with doctor for rural India.

India, Delhi
Market: Artificial Intelligence
Stage of the project: Operating business

Date of last change: 06.03.2020
Min investment
$  696.150
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Total required
$ 1.180.865
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Idea

BigOHealth is a AI based mobile App that enables underprivileged rural population to find healthcare providers, book appointments, and receive the right treatment, thus bridging the gap between marginalized populations of rural areas to health care service providers. Also supports emergency care to people residing in far flung areas through teleconferencing with doctors 24 hrs a day.

Current Status

We have booked over 6000 appointments in the last 6 month and have empanelled over 100 doctors on the platform. BigOHealth helps the people associated with it to get their treatment, from locating a suitable doctor, to finding the locations for most affordable medicine shops, diagnostic labs, saving 3 days of adult working days and $125 in total.
In primary research, we found that every family visits doctor’s clinics at least 5 times in a year, and in total spends $125 in direct costs for acquiring general healthcare, which is equivalent to a month of income of the family.
BigOHealth platform will eliminate this cost to healthcare entirely.

Problem or Opportunity

More than 66% of the population in India, live in rural areas. Nearly 86% of all the medical visits in India are made by ruralites with the majority still travelling more than 100 km to avail health care facility of which 70-80% is born out of pocket landing them in poverty.
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are one of the poorest states having more than 250 million people, surviving on less than $5 a day.The targeted population is one of the most underserved segments in terms of healthcare. As an example, the maternal mortality rate in the state of Bihar is 165 per 100000 live births, which is the highest in the country with negligent focus on women care & elderly care.
In the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the population is primarily active as daily wage earners and in agriculture work. It costs a day of wage to seek a meeting and diagnostic with a doctor, another set of 3-4 days to get the tests done and have an actual sit-down with the doctor. During this period, they not only lose their wages, but more importantly, the illness becomes severe due to delayed recognition and treatment.
In the primary research conducted by BigOHealth, we found that to get an appointment with qualified and experienced doctors, people need to travel more than 40-50 km at 3 am in the morning from remote areas to city and queue for 5-6 hours at the doctor’s clinic, only after that they could hope to get the appointment.
Furthermore, emergency health requirements usually end sorrowful, since meeting the professionally qualified doctors or simply being able to speak with one is impossible at the late hours. People in need of help in remote areas usually end up going to unqualified medical professionals, which leads to mistreatment, severe complications or in few cases death. As per recent data, Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in Bihar and Jharkhand is 165 per 100000 live births and Infant mortality rate (IMR) in Bihar is 35 per 1000 live births. One of the major causes behind this is not being able to consult a qualified doctor at the time of emergency. Out of the 3 million women who get pregnant every year in Bihar, 6500 die from complications.
According to a Health Workforce analysis published in a Report of WHO (Geneva 2016) and based on decoding the census data, as many as 57.3% of doctors in rural India did not have a medical qualification and they are one of the biggest causes of health complications, and untimely death of patients. Millions of villagers depend on unqualified medical practitioners as the first line of medical treatment as there are no other solutions to consult a qualified doctor remotely. Continued dependence on unqualified practitioners is fraught with dangers of incorrect diagnosis, irrational drug uses, resulting in the spread of multidrug resistance.
We have also identified the issues of lack of timely recognition of health issues affecting the treatment and facilitating the chances of the spread of communicable diseases. People engrossed in livelihood activities that barely support their hand to mouth requirements, avoid paying attention to healthcare needs, especially for females and children.
Women and old age people facing early health problems in remote areas are ignored by family members and neighbours. As a result, they suffer from serious disease and in some cases, they lose their life.
The aforementioned issues affect lives, economic parity, loss of livelihood, and mistreatment.

Solution (product or service)

The BigOHealth innovation helps patients to search and book instant online appointments with doctors with zero hassle via our app or a common mobile number and save their time by 5-6 hours in the process of getting an appointment. The app integrates location-based doctors, diagnostic labs and medical shop list aggregation and lets users review and book instant online appointments with verified doctors, diagnostic centers and order medicine quickly and easily. The server lets both sides interact seamlessly, increasing the doctor accessibility and reduce the time taken from diagnostics to treatment.
This concept is based on the first-hand experience of the fact that the user group of smartphones in Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh have grown exponentially; as an average smartphone is available for less than $80, and the smartphones users in India is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.9%, according to an ASSOCHAM-PwC joint study.

There are 290 million active internet users in rural India. Recent affordability and volume-based revenue models adopted by telecom companies have increased the average user group by 4-folds. It can be fairly said that every family has now at least one smartphone user. Due to these innovative penetration of internet services, Bihar registered the highest growth in internet users across both urban and rural areas, registering a growth of 35 percent over last year. BigOHealth is riding on this momentum to scale the online platform adaptability amongst people to facilitate the booking of healthcare services through our online-mobile-based app.
Currently, the BigOHealth service is being used by 6000 people and 100 doctors, saving time of patients by 5-6 hours, reducing wage lost and reducing the uncertainty of being attended by the doctors.
The app is available in local/regional language (Hindi) and the user interface of the application is designed according to rural population and is sufficiently interactive to let people from every stratum of society benefit from the services. BigOHealth team is working to develop and include an AI (Artificial Intelligence) based voice assistants in local regional languages in the app to increase the user base amongst the first-generation smartphone users as well as women and elderly people.
BigOHealth is providing teleconferencing and videoconferencing with doctors available for 24hrs all days of the week, to facilitate the emergency requirements of the population residing deep inside unconnected villages. The user can immediately talk to qualified doctors instead of visiting unqualified local medical practitioners in late hours. This will help to save the lives of the sick population and also focus on reducing Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR).
BigOHealth has a team of qualified professionals which audits the healthcare professionals from different specialization before enlisting them on the platform. This exercise ensures enlisting only qualified professionals on the platform and advertently reduces the money an

Competitors

Practo, Justdial and Medcords are the major competitors of BigOHealth.
Among them Practo is majorly focused in tier 1 cities. Practo lists both audited as well unaudited doctors, and doesn’t emphasise on providing their platform to only authentic practitioners. According to a Health Workforce analysis published in a Report of WHO (Geneva 2016) and based on decoding the census data, as many as 57.3% of doctors in rural India did not have a medical qualification.
BigOHealth is the only online platform that has a team of qualified healthcare professionals to audit the doctors in rural areas before enlisting them on the platform.
Practo does not sync the online and walk-in appointments in real time. Due to this, after scheduling an online appointment with them, Patients still have to wait in queue at the doctor clinic, as there are already walk-in appointments at the same time.
BigOHealth eliminates this problem with an IoT (Internet of Things) based device that sync the online and walk-in appointments in real time to give the exact number of crowd (both online and walk-in) at the clinic while booking online appointments.

Medcords is a startup working for rural areas of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, two different states of India, providing video consultation with doctors from the cities. They tie up with local pharmacies and make those pharmacies a teleconferencing point, people can come to these teleconferencing centers and have video chat with doctors.

The pharmacists have already tie-up with some hospitals in the cities, and the doctors almost force the patients to procure medicine from such establishments, accruing higher healthcare costs, and needless medicine consumption.
Another disadvantage of Medcords is that there are no services concerning emergency healthcare, since these teleconferencing centers are only open upto 8 pm.

BigOHealth has an independent chat platform, which can be downloaded by anybody and a person can consult with doctors 24 hours a day. BigOHealth is also planning to partner with ASHA workers (a community health worker instituted by the government of India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) to give late hours consultation with qualified doctors from cities to focus on reducing the Maternal Mortality Rate in rural India. Every village in a rural area has at least one ASHA worker, mandated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt Of India.

Such practices have never been introduced amongst the people and therefore acceptance and integration of this service is not going to be easy, to mitigate this, BigOHealth strives to inculcate the behavior change model and awareness initiative through 228 healthcamps and awareness programs in next 3 years in villages and schools to inculcate adoptions and integration of the online platform usage.
BigOHealth has a viable opportunity to integrate the services in targeted catchment areas, and development of revenue growth streams on volume model, through user charges from the medical practitioners.

Advantages or differentiators

Primary differentials of BigOHealth from competitors are 24 hours a day teleconferencing, audited health practitioners, and empanelment of authorized medicine shops and syncing device.

Money will be spent on

1. Technology Enhancement
2. Team building
3. Media and Marketing

Team or Management

Risks

1. Behavioural change of patients: The biggest challenge that we face in our project is making the behavioural change of our customers. The targeted population is aligned with the conventional system of locating a suitable doctor, and “pursuing” them for the treatment.
2. Lack of infrastructure: Bihar and nearby states lack severely in terms of proper infrastructural support for people to seek treatment, and procure prescribed tests, and medication.
3. Social positioning of doctors: Since long, the doctors have been positioned as lifesavers, and this is true in some cases, however, in a large number of cases, people end up getting treatment by unqualified, overcharging doctors, and due to social obligation people aren’t able to question the delay in their treatment or the extra money that they have to shell out for even basic treatment.
The program will initiate hand-holding in terms of bringing the benefits of this initiative to the doorsteps of the population. Organize health and awareness camps to present the humane face of the doctors among the population, and gradually eradicate the feeling of immense gratitude in people for healthcare service providers, so they’re able to demand right healthcare, and suitable medicine.
In the past few years, internet penetration has increased in rural areas, and people, especially in the age group of 9-30 years are well accustomed to the usage of the internet and other online services. This helps the initiative indirect integration of users and service providers on our platform.

Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment

Incubated at Nexus Startup Hub, U.S Embassy, India
Incubated at Indian Institute of Technology, Patna.
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