A super-specialty consultancy that will make doctors accessible to people over internet or phone might sound incredulous to many, but Dr Debraj Shome and Dr Arbinder Singal did not think so. After nearly two years of testing, the duo has launched www.mediangels.com, which they claim is not ‘just another e-health website’.
Singal and Shome are super-specialist physicians, who have put together a team of 300 doctors from over 85 super-specialty hospitals across 25 countries. They have a 1,500-odd subscriber base. “Within five months of operations, we have had medical queries for cancer patients to pediatric cases, all dealt online,” says Shome, adding that nearly 35 per cent of their user base is outside India.
To begin with, a patient has to register his medical history online and choose his mode of consultation. Shome, a facial plastic surgeon and founder director, explains: “We have a team of six MBBS doctors available 24x7 to address queries online, while patients more comfortable on phone can call and get their medical history updated or consult a doctor.” If a patient is not certain about the doctor and the specialty, the MediAngels’ panel of doctors based on the information provided, connects him to the specialist.
Foreign-based super-specialty doctors, mostly inaccessible to the average Indian patient, can be reached via MediAngels within 72 hours of uploading medical history. “The doctors have accurately performed virtual examination with reports, scans and photographs in place of a physical examination,” claims Shome.
Having invested Rs 1.5 crore from their pockets and Rs 2.5 crore raised from HDFC’s private equity firm, MediAngels is not a free service. The consultation fee charged for an India-based doctor starts at Rs 250, while consultation with doctors based outside India is about Rs 5,000 ($100). Realising that credit card penetration is limited in India, MediAngels will soon allow users to pay through pre-paid cash cards. “We are aware that uneven internet penetration in metros and smaller towns might be a constraint in distributing healthcare services, but that’s where we are working on our tie-ups with cyber cafes in small towns,” says Shome.
Singal says video consultation and mobile health applications in partnership with telecom providers are on the cards too. “Just as patients get prescription of treatment and test reports online, we are planning to introduce mobile health application that will replicate the online experience for mobile users.” MediAngels will introduce video consultation using a web-based software soon. It will also allow patients to store their electronic medical records online.