Till last year I was like any other young Indian medical practitioner! I had spent almost 15 years into medical field right from my admission to MBBS to achieving postgraduate degree in Obstetrics & Gynecology and spending few additional years for training myself in advanced areas like cancer surgery and laparoscopy. I was in practice for more than 5 years and my career seem to have taken correct path. My work was increasing day by day. I was earning a good reputation in area of my practice. Being a young professional I wanted my practice to be full of technology. I wanted to use IT tools to the fullest extent. So I started searching for appropriate digital health products and my mail box was flooded with so many sign up requests. I used to receive countless phone calls from various doctor listing sites, second opinion portals, wellness companies & online consultation services. The bait was that my profile will be seen by millions of people which in turn will increase the patient footfall. Obviously I was supposed to pay a hefty sum to these online services , many incentives were to be offered to the patients like giving some concessions/ being available for a chat when a patient wants and what not. Some of the online services were not even showing up any of my clinic phone numbers , obviously to make sure that all the online patient traffic gets routed through their call center numbers. So much so that a marketing person of a big brand in E health had guts to say that ” gone are the days when doctor’s publicity will be through his happy patients, now who ever tops online listing will attract more patients.” Was this that I was looking for in E health? As a consultant what I wanted was a product which will manage my existing patients effectively and help me connect with them in a secure way through out their treatment period. I was searching for a solution which will enable me store my practice record in efficient way without making me spend a lot of time or making me do a lot of typing effort. What I wanted was an effective communication channel, an authentic doctor friendly specialty specific medical record service, some analytical tools which will go beyond telling me how many patients came to my clinic and how many of them came through a particular web service. What I was being offered were advertising tools without any regulations or ethics.
The marketing executives did not know if such online consultations were legally valid? As a doctor we are being advised by medicolegal experts not to opine or prescribe anything to the patient on phone call/ SMS/email etc, but that did not seem to bother any of these companies. I wonder is digital healthcare space in India becoming another “cut practice market” where a doctor pays money to be on top of the list and keeps paying every year to be on top ? I am one of the few doctors who do not do any sort of “cut practice” (unfortunately a rare species now). But ironically digital health solutions had nothing else on offer. Shocking enough was the quality of the database of these “listing sites”. The information was not appropriate – to the extent that even a person – so called specialists in acupuncture and naturopathy topped the list of Infertility specialist! But wait, wasn’t it obvious that this was a “ paid listing effect?”
This is the current state of digital health care in India. The market is flooded with such products , many of them are big brands with great funding. None of them is really providing real solutions for doctors, patients or hospitals. The companies may have great technology resources, high quality management & marketing people but I doubt whether they have any one person who knows and can perceive what doctors,practicing in India, today, want from digital technology?
My meeting with Gunjan Jain, ( CEO, Vytal Healthtech Pvt Ltd) was a turning point. She being a senior person in healthcare industry understood and perceived the need to change the way healthcare sector was being handled. With her over a decade of experience in technology giants, she could provide the right backdrop for developing a focused,scientific solutions tailor made for Indian doctors. We decided to collaborate technology with medical practice experience and founded Vytal Healthtech with a mission to develop a product which will join the three cornerstones of healthcare: Patient , Doctor & Healthcare services ( Hospitals/ labs/ imaging services and pharmacies). VYTAL ( a mobile app) and VYTAL – Connect ( Specialty Practice management solutions) focus on seamless, end to end experience.We are away from any kind of doctor advertisement and thereby shaping our business model on the revenues generated by virtue of doctors paying to top the list. In fact we have a policy of reviewing any person or establishment before becoming our associates ” Vytal partners” & if it fits into the quality criteria , the association is without any “entry fee”. Our first product Vytal – mobile app is out for free download. The app has special focus on Pregnancy and Child care. We intend to work in certain areas like oncology/ kidney disease/ diabetes/ heart disease, in which patient would have to be connected with the medical facility for a long time. Analytical solutions will help the patient and the doctor to optimize the treatment and to measure the outcomes. Online Transcription service is backbone of Vytal app and Vytal connect. This is a unique service for Indian Doctor-Patient who still create and maintain medical paper record. Indian doctor even in the highest class of hospitals generally gives a paper to the patient at the end of visit. We offer online transcription of this record through a simple process of “click & upload”. Visual medical transcription is a unique service offered by both these platforms.
Birth of VYTAL was an exciting journey! It is a symbol of how a revolution can happen when technology is combined with the real time experience. We doctors have to be entrepreneurs to get what we want from the digital technology. We must join hands to make digital health space of people, for the people, by the doctors – who care for people!
-By Dr Gouri Gore
MBBS , MS – Obstetrics and Gynaecology
GYNECOLOGIST , OBSTETRICIAN , INFERTILITY SPECIALIST