[Startup Saturday – Delhi] Healthcare in India – Consumer Perspective

This weekend on Saturday, I presented a talk titled – “Healthcare in India – Consumer Perspective – Opportunities!” at Startup Saturday – New Delhi. The talk was more about my thoughts on what kinds of healthcare opportunities from the consumer perspective exist or will exist in India. Many of the attendees (and also some who missed the talk) requested me for the slide deck. For them I am putting it here.

(Does not seem like SlideShare did a great job in properly converting the ppt. Please feel free to reach out to me in case you have questions on anything specific)

For those who missed it out – it was fun talking in front of the lively audience with many questions and strong view points. Some key highlights of the questions/discussion points –

  • There was a lot of debate on my “Good News” and “Bad News” slide and why I felt about it in that way. I will be putting my thoughts on it in a separate blog post.
  • Interesting debate when I said that India was a Developed country. (Needed help from the politicians there)
  • Few misunderstood that I was encouraging opportunities for replacing the doctors. No folks! Doctors cannot be replaced! Few in my own family would have killed me if I had that view.
  • Many felt that the healthcare domain was difficult to crack considering the insufficient domain knowledge they had. My suggestion to the wanna-be entrepreneurs was not to build any solutions by excluding the doctors.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts and/or views too!

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10 Responses to “[Startup Saturday – Delhi] Healthcare in India – Consumer Perspective”

  1. Arpit Rai Says:

    Hi Manish, can you please email me the PPT at arpitrai at gmail. Slideshare seems to compresses the words together for some reason.

  2. Healthcare System in India seems to be at a crossroad! « Manish Rathi's Blog Says:

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  4. Vinod Says:

    hi Manish,
    The ppt gives a good preview of the scale of possible demand.

    3 questions ..
    – What initiatives have been taken to track people’s medical history in india or elsewhere ?
    – What effect will age of patients, professional domain (of being doctors) have on possibly bringing them all to interact over the internet, considering this section of people possibly spends lesser hours on internet?
    – I would also love to know the most interesting web startups in india in this field, if you can site them ?
    thanks n cheers

  5. manishrathi Says:

    Vinod –

    I am attempting to answer your questions in the order you asked –

    1) While attempts are being made to track patient’s medical history in pockets (and mostly by the Top-X brands in Healthcare in India – Apollo, Max, etc.), having a common nation-wide patient record system is possibly a far dream right now. My guess is that any attempts (and I am stressing on the word attempts here) towards that would take place possibly after the roll out of the National ID system. The current targets for the ID system seems to be around end 2010. At mom-and-pop medical practice levels – my guess is that patients medical history is still being tracked at paper-based files and folders level.

    2) I am personally now getting pleasantly surprised on the growing ability of doctors in India having ability to use emails, browsers, facebook, etc. You have to also keep in mind that India in the last 10-15 years have churned out plenty of doctors. So many of today’s doctors are new generation doctors. Ofcourse, having said the above any tools which gets developed for these doctors should still have the simplicity of emails, browser or even facebook.

    3) I am assuming that you are asking about the web startups in healthcare domain. Web startups in these space are still new. Most of them are targetted towards providing directory services, rating services, etc. I am personally not a big fan of these kinds of business models. IMO, they won’t work in US/UK and they won’t work in India too. There are few which have been modeled around the WebMD types. I might have missed out few more though.

    Hope this helps.



  6. Vinod Says:

    well to further the thoughts,

    1) can you give me any reference of Apollos & Max creating some tracking system for medical history ?

    Tracking medical history is an exciting idea. But I wonder what’s in it for the hospitals, business wise ? (greater transparency and prohibitive costs of setting up the system, not what they like, isn’t it ? )

    2) I agree that proficiency with computers among the indian medical fraternity might be growing fast, but is it inspiring enough!?
    dont you still get hospitals giving you the feel of banks, prior to core banking & internet banking. I mean banks were hardly ready to let the invasion of IT in to their system, to propel their business 🙂

    what in effect this means is that any vision of s/w prospects in medical domain would be received with a skeptical eye from them.

    3) On to the web start-ups, i agree completely with you. yellow pages of hospitals & social n/w sites are no-cash returning ideas of the past. Searching for interesting s/w startups in this domain on internet leaves a lot to be aspired 🙂


    • manishrathi Says:


      Once again answering your questions sequentially –

      1) There has been press releases about announcements where Apollo and Max have partnered with IT firms to build EHR mechanisms. (There is one link in my follow-up blog-post – https://manishrathi.com/2009/10/14/healthcare-system-in-india-seems-to-be-at-a-crossroad/). So this gives an idea that they are investing in tracking systems.

      Now regarding what is in it for them – infact there is a lot for them to gain – reduced operating costs, sticky patients, faster turnover, etc. So business-wise it makes perfect sense for them. Having said that, my wishlist (or let us say day dream) would have been that both the Apollos and Max (the Big Bs of Indian Healthcare) should have collaborated together to build a common/uniform EHR system. Too much to ask?

      2) Almost about 90% of the doctors whom I know today maintain an active email account, some of them have their personal web sites/blogs, and many of them are on Facebook too. So my point is that any software system which is as simple as these things – one can expect majority of them to adapt it. For example, my brother (who is a Gynecologist) now edits his own surgery videos using softwares and creates his own ppt presentations. So any system which maintains simplicity and does not expect them to scratch their brains – the doctors today will adapt it, IMO.

      However, using IT in practice is not driven whether they are capable of using computers or not – but it is driven by the ROI and if they really need it. If there is a good business case – most doctors welcome good softwares. You have to realize that today these doctors are getting used to complicated surgery equipments which are more complex than using a software. For example – endoscopic devices, etc. My personal opinion is that it is a myth that doctors look at software with skeptical eyes. However, they are typically very choosy and do not like to waste their time on something which does not catch their attention in the first shot.

      3) I am sure web startups would evolve in this space. I am personally very bullish on this aspect. Keeping my fingers crossed.



  7. shreyas Says:


    I have heard about all the unethical practices in India and abroad. but there are few organization who are struggling to make a difference in India, they are to be recognized.

    As you said internet is like a bathroom wall, people do not have access to credible information online. most of them are blogsites. this creates lot of confusion in patients and decreases the trust in doctors.

    There are % of people who believe that if a doctor does minimal tests (blood, urine, ECG, Xray’s), thn they(patients) assume the doctor is not doing a good job.

    I feel Information in any source is good as long as it is credible and accountable.

    Indian healthcare system is undergoing a transition from traditional to a more proffesional approach. we should be able to see major difference in healthcare providers in the coming years.


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  9. Megha Jain Says:


    The Entrepreneurship Cell [E-Cell] of IIT Bombay is conducting a reality show for budding entrepreneurs who have established their start-up and is giving them a unique opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors to receive funding from them.

    This dynamic version of the conventional investor’s pitch called the Vulture’s Nest; is a competition starting from 10th December whose finals are to be hosted in the first week of February during E-Summit 2010, which is the networking event held by E-Cell, IIT Bombay.

    As opposed to a conventional investor pitch, Vulture’s Nest will be much more competitive and aggressive. The finals will have investors as well as the general public as the audience which will make the event much more happening as against a routine pitch.

    These Entrepreneurs will get a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of investors in 15 minutes. This is an excellent opportunity for start-ups who do not have access to large venture capitalists and private equity firms to gain capital and visibility.

    The contest will go on air on ET Now channel, starting January. The US and the UK have similar shows, but it’s the first time that such an event is being conducted in India.

    IIT-B will invite submissions [in the form of presentations] from December 10 to January 4. Those selected will pitch their ideas at auditions in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai on January 16 and 17.

    The final round will have 10 candidates pitching to four investors, one of whom is US-based venture capitalist Taj Haslani. All 10 participants might get funding if the panellists like their pitches.

    This competition will actively help entrepreneurs as they will interact with investors and get a chance to directly get funds for their firms.

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