October 11: The COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented. And so were the collaborations that happened during the global health crisis, particularly in the field of diagnostics, technology and healthcare delivery. In a country like India where healthcare has traditionally been unorganized, there was a rare coming together of diverse stakeholders with the aim of “building India’s largest connected care network”.
“Basically, a network of care providers, such as doctors, pharmacies and diagnostics, connected to one single platform using technology,” says Ravi Chandra, the Co-Founder and CEO of MedPay. The Bengaluru-based start-up started operations in April 2020 and, currently, has 35,000+ pharmacies, 17,000+ doctors, 2000+ labs and outpatient department (OPD) health centers across the country in its API-powered Connected Care Network.
“MedPay is digitizing and onboarding these centers, while integrating them with a common platform using application programming interfaces (APIs). That way, healthcare platforms and insurers can access this organized network of care providers,” explains Chandra.
Considering the ever-increasing mobile internet penetration, the number of online users has surged in small towns and villages. They can all now discover these care providers online for hyperlocal services. From insurers such as ICICI Lombard and digital health platforms such as Health Assure to hyperlocal aggregators such as Dunzo and employee benefits platforms such as Kenko, MedPay enables a wide range of stakeholders to provide a seamless healthcare delivery experience.
In terms of health insurance, for example, policyholders can avail cashless OPD solutions at their neighborhood clinic, pharmacy or diagnostic center through MedPay. The ease with which consumers can access cashless OPD fulfills a critical gap in the Indian customer’s experience journey.
One of the key reasons for low adoption of health insurance in India has been the lack of an organized and large primary health care network. MedPay is leveraging technology to build such a network that not only allows patients to access and consume services in a frictionless manner, but also facilitates businesses and insurers to leverage a reliable, diverse and pan-India network to acquire new customer segments and significantly lower cost per transaction.
“We offer network as a service enabling healthcare platforms to deliver OPD services at scale. We charge a nominal order processing fee from the platforms and the network, while we also offer the benefits of pre-negotiated discounts on services to all our partners,” informs Chandra.
Interestingly, MedPay does not compete with e-pharmacy companies. The start-up acts as an enabler of local pharmacies to better serve their neighbourhoods. Similarly, as a B2B platform, operating a two-sided marketplace that aggregates supply on one side and demand on the other, MedPay also empowers businesses such as offline pharmacies to serve nearby customers in the most effective manner.
“We help digitize the stores by creating a catalog of medicines available and providing them the tools to maintain the stock availability from time to time. Once digitised, these stores go live with the MedPay platform, which is connected with a number of healthcare platforms, including insurers and consultation platforms,” says the entrepreneur.
Customers are able to discover these pharmacy stores online and place orders on their respective healthcare apps that are connected to MedPay APIs. That way, offline pharmacies don’t lose out to inventory-based e-pharmacy models. “We bring to the table the power of white-labelled hyperlocal OPD services pan India from day one for our partners,” asserts Chandra.
Currently, MedPay is in the process of onboarding more insurance companies and B2C healthcare businesses to its network with the aim of further streamlining and strengthening the healthcare delivery system in the country.