The change is inevitable and at present, the Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is providing the thrust required to bring the change to the whole world and to accept the new normal to lead the usual life. It is proving to be catastrophic for the economy. However, it is also providing new opportunities for new business ventures.

In the post-COVID-19 world, massive changes are being prognosticate in the dynamics of India’s technological landscape for example prior to this pandemic situation, India was not much proactive about adopting the technology for the healthcare services, but now with the prolonged country-wide lockdown hospitals and medical professionals are obliged to incorporate the use of technology for visiting their patients virtually. Resultantly, technology is intensifying its impact on healthcare delivery and will definitely become a huge part of the healthcare sector. At the moment, patients avoid visiting their doctors physically as it increases their chance to contract the virus and alternatively, they are switching towards telemedicine. This impact would reinforce the significant changes in the Indian healthcare delivery system by evolving the telehealth and telemedicine services, which were mere bystanders before COVID-19, and would motivate the healthcare officials to fill the gaps in the contemporary system.

Telemedicine has the power to sweep away the long queues and exhaustive waiting time to meet the doctors physically, as it enables the patients to consult their doctors via telecommunication with a prior appointment. There are numerous companies that provide the platform to patients and doctors for telemedicine services, which help them to pay visits virtually and have a real-time consultation. Different companies have different strategies to furnish this facility and they offer varied services to their patients and doctors on their platform.

“We are seeing an interesting convergence in technology, medicine, social issues, and human progress”
-John Nosta (Digital Health Philosopher)

In the wake of COVID-19, when social distancing has been mandated, the government has also come up with the new guidelines to make use of telemedicine as a legal practice in India. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW), along with NITI Aayog has rolled out the new guidelines that will allow registered medical practitioners (RMPs) to provide healthcare services using telemedicine. As per the ministry guidelines, Telemedicine is:

“the delivery of healthcare services, where distance is a critical factor, by all healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of healthcare providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.”[1]

There are various organisations in India inclusive of start-ups that provide telemedicine, with years of experience older companies have become adept in their orbit of services. The foremost companies are focusing on educating the people about health and other services and on improving public health and healthcare via telecommunications technologies.

Basis our research, we have shortlisted the following telemedicine companies which are the top players in the industry based on their public reach, country rank, and other factors:

Comparative analysis among telemedicine companies in India
Company Name Country Ranking Total Visitors Services
Practo 255 47.48
Million
- Medical delivery
- Wellness and fitness centres
- Diagnostic centres
1 mg 466 26.18
Million
- E-pharmacy
- Online consultation
- Lab tests
Lybrate 534 25.18
Million
- Health communication delivery platform
- Health wiki
Medlife 1,174 2.54
Million
- Online consultation
- E- health records & E prescription
- Health products
- E-pharmacy
Portea Medica 7076 7.3
Million
- Healing at home
- Medical equipment
- Counselling
- Lab tests
  • Practo: It is the oldest telemedicine company in India. It was founded in May 2008. It solely works as a gateway for doctors/hospitals to book medical appointments or consultations, to get the insurance, to store the health records, or for medicine delivery, all through its mobile applications and website for the people who are seeking medical assistance. It allows doctors to make their presence stronger, get established further, and engage patients more deeply than ever.It has built trust in millions of people for providing genuine and healing services. It helps people by assisting them with regular health services like finding a good doctor, getting blood tests done and managing their health records or learning new ways to live healthier. Practo has its presence in over 15 countries with their consumer and software business.It had around 200,000 doctors listed with them, with 50M appointments every year. The doctors listed on their platform are verified for a medical license, qualification, and specialization. They also follow the HIPAA compliance act to maintain the patient’s privacy and confidentiality.

Practo’s USP

Before putting any data on their plaform, theey verify it rigorously to build trust with their customers.Feedbaccks are also verified on thee prior basis so that patients can make informed and better decisions. The Doctors can also see and reply to patient’s feedback, help patients to build trust. Doctors are able to manage their patient’s health records from different clinics digitally with their unique product “Practo Ray”

  • 1mg: It is primarily an online medicine provider and was founded in 2015. They provide accurate, authoritative & trustworthy information on medicines and assist people to use medicines effectively and safely. 1mg delivers medicines and other health products at home in 1000+ cities across India from licensed and verified pharmacies. Once making their presence as an online medicine provider, they also started providing lab tests at home and telemedicine service as well. As they have already gained trust as an online pharmacy provider, it became easy for them to make their presence in the domain of telemedicine services.They provide an unlimited free consultation with the verified doctors within 30 minutes. Since they started practicing telemedicine on their platform, they have 20 verified doctors listed with them and have done around 30L+ consultations. They are compliant with industry standards to ensure that all the patient’s details are secured privately to maintain confidentiality.

1mg’s USP

As per ttheir CEO, they are the Wikipedia of medicines in India – brings people to the platform for information as well as purchase, they have a much more customer acquisition model.

  • Lybrate: It was founded in 2013, and it was India’s first mobile healthcare communication and delivery platform. It helps the patient to make informed decisions about health and makes the doctor consult seamless and smooth. It provides a wide range of services to both patients and doctors. To patients, it provides a platform to ask queries for free or get into one-on-one interaction with doctors on an online payment basis. They also post health feed from healthcare experts, aimed to keep the patients healthy and fit. To doctors, they ensure that it enhances their practice effortlessly and increases their popularity in the online community and in the medical fraternity by getting recommendations from their patients as well from peers for the fine services they provide. Lybrate also allows doctors to manage their patient’s information from different clinics with an online multi-specialty telemedicine platform. They have 90K+ verified doctors on their platform.

Lybrate’s USP

They provide doctors with a clinical management system (CMS). This management platform assists the doctors in managing their daily strenous tasks like scheduling their appointments or meetings, patient’s health records and their billing details and also helps with payment reminders and have a dashboard with their clinical performance data.

  • Medlife: It was founded in 2014 and aims to make healthcare accessible and affordable in the country. They address all the health needs with their online consultations, medicine delivery, lab test, and health record storage services. They have collaborated with online digital payment portals like FreeCharge and Mobikwik. Online consultation with a doctor can be availed in 1 hour and is available 24/7. They follow a stringent selection process to get the verified and experienced doctors, highly rated by patients on their platform. Only those doctors are assigned who have consistently received positive patient feedback. They serve in 29 States and provide around 30+ specialties with around 1000+ doctors listed on the platform and have consulted more than 10 million customers.

Medlife’s USP

It provides free e-consultation services through which patients in need can tele-consult with numerous doctors, specialists and physicians all over India.The team of pharmacists also counsels and informs patients on their medications which brings doctors, pharmacists and customers closer together.

  • Portea Medical: It was founded in 2013, and it provides home healthcare services that include primary care, chronic disease management, physiotherapy and counseling that aim to make primary healthcare more accessible, affordable, and accountable to the patients. They provide various services including doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists for home visits. With new regulatory guidelines, they’ll now prescribe medicine as well, until now they were only providing consultation over the phone. All the practitioners who provide home visits have had their backgrounds and medical knowledge verified by senior doctors. With this initiative to provide essential healthcare services at home, patients are able to stay in their homes longer, save money, and have peace of mind. They have their services in around 16 States and have served around 2.5 million patients. They have partnered with 50 hospitals, pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

Portea’s USP

They provide home visits by medical professionals who claim to conduct these at nominal costs thereby potentially eliminating the cumbersome ‘queue’ system that is geenerally involved with conventional doctor / hospital visits.

Are we missing any divergent company? If you know any other telemedicine organization that is making a huge difference in the healthcare space, let us know in the comment section below.

Composed by Disha Soni & Dr Prateek Malhotra

InnoHEALTH Magazine

Author InnoHEALTH Magazine

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