An aggregator of in-patient healthcare providers and hospitals, the New Delhi-based startup helps international patients get reviews and cost of services of different hospitals before availing medical service in India.
Dr Gautam Sethi joined Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, in 2013. Every day, after lunch, he would visit a coffee shop and it is here that he met co-founders Dr Priyank Tyagi and Dr Shubesh Tyagi. After they started meeting regularly, they discussed the idea of starting up on their own. Though all the three worked in different departments, it was Shubesh, who was already in international marketing for Apollo Hospitals, who made a concrete decision. The trio decided to focus on medical tourism, a sector that is largely driven by middlemen and agents at present.
Thirty-one-year old Gautam Sethi (an alumni of IIM Indore) was heading Apollo’s maternity hospital. He had also played a pivotal role in establishing tele-medicine services. Priyank Tyagi (35), directly involved in strategic course of the organisation and its day-to-day operations, was working with the managing director and was part of core senior management team. Shubesh Tyagi (34) was heading Apollo’s international marketing foray into Russia CIS and Eastern European Markets. Dr Shubesh, who did his MBBS in Russia, had an added advantage for understanding the market better.
Journey so far
From a handful of hospitals in the beginning, MedMonks has now tie-ups with over 500 hospitals and 50,000 doctors. Patients can get information about the accreditation of hospitals, their key specialities, the infrastructure, clinical programmes, and the doctors and their profiles. Most importantly, the patients can read how their fellow countrymen, who had visited India, reviewed these hospitals and doctors. MedMonks has served patients from over 54 countries so far. The company’s travel desk and on-ground support also helps patients with logistic arrangements such as medical visa, air-tickets, budget hotels near hospitals, and free translation services.
MedMonks’ medical operations team ensures patients get an overview of their respective clinical treatment in the hospital of their choice. Apart from ensuring timely and personalised medical services, the team also steps in when there is a change in treatment plan or discrepancy in the promised service or costs. It helps in making medical travel smarter and better. At MedMonks’ platform, patients can compare destinations, verify hospitals, treatment options, technology, cost, previous patients’ feedback, and much more. This is supported by a highly-efficient guest relations team led by experienced physician executives to ensure patients make an informed choice and are served well through their stay. The product is running on a robust search algorithm that lets the user get personalised results, which will be close to real-time recommendations.
The previous patients’ reviews capture all salient aspects of a patient’s medical experience. “We plan to power these reviews with a smart algorithm too. The cumulative score and effective draw of each review is determined by a number of parameters, which will ensure the results are unbiased, yet holding their own persona. This will ensure the people belonging to the same culture or region can easily relate to the reviews and can decide on their healthcare providers,” says Priyank.
According to a report by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in October 2017, the Indian medical tourism market is expected to grow to $9 billion by 2020. The current market size is about $6 billion. MedMonks competes with other players in the market such as PlanMyMedicalTrip, MedECube and HBG Medical Assistance. The company has delivered services to over 3,000 patients till date, generating a business of Rs 8 crore. In 2018, its month-to-month growth has been an attractive 40 percent. “We charge a small amount from the hospitals for providing services to international patients. For some countries, we charge a small fee from the patients against high quality services,” says Gautam. “We were offered the highest amount of funding in Summit, an annual startup event of the IIM Indore calendar. We got a direct entry to The Vault Show, where we were offered funding of $400,000. Eventually, we decided we would be better off raising an amount of $100,000, focusing on consolidating operations and strengthening our online platform, which we did from the promoters of Nuberg Engineering Limited, one of the biggest EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) players in the world,” he adds.
“Today, various medical tourism platforms have emerged, but what makes us stand apart is that we are doctors turned into professional healthcare executives, looking to bring a positive change in patients’ lives. Our aim is to make a platform that is so efficient and seamless, that it makes our existence redundant,” says Shubesh.
Gautam says: “Our future plans and prospects are inclined towards adding more medical tourism destinations other than India like Singapore, Thailand, Germany and Dubai, and simultaneously building a much-needed proposition for the domestic Indian market.” The company has a target to provide services to 10,000 international patients in FY 2019.