Naabo, the company behind Practo, was founded in May 2008, with a vision to build web products for the knowledge sectors. Shashank and Abhinav initially picked Healthcare, Legal and Education – (hence the 3 globes around Practo in the logo), because these sectors had no satisfactory IT solutions available, and Shashank and Abhinav Lal were at the receiving end of it as Patients, Clients and Students respectively. They formed a company to address the need for satisfactory IT solutions in these segments.
Practo.com (earlier known as TurboDoc.in) was launched in May 2009. It was one of the earliest online practice management applications to be launched in India. Its goal was to empower the dental, medical, wellness clinics with IT tools to serve patients better and manage their practice effortlessly. Shashank and his team wanted to make the doctors look and feel like super heroes, granting each requirement of their patients. Their vision with Practo is to enable the healthcare institutes; doctors and patients interact and solve each other’s issues more easily. They are here to change the banes of IT solutions of the healthcare sector, with a better SaaS model.
- Genesis of the startup – how did it start
Shashank was personally unhappy with the lack of services at his doctor’s clinics. What he noticed was that the appointments were never on time; doctors did not provide him access to his own treatment details, like x-rays or payment details online or in any electronic format. He found them to be extremely disorganized and incapable of managing their own practice efficiently. So, Shashank and Abhinav launched Practo.com in May 2009 to help doctors manage their practices better and help them serve their patients better. Practo is an online practice management software for doctors available on a monthly subscription model (SaaS).
- Challenges faced in the start-up phase
Selling an online software to an audience (doctors/clinics) who are not online was a huge challenge for Shashank and his team. It took them quite some time to figure out the optimal sales channel to reach our audience. Also getting the doctors and clinics comfortable with the concepts of Software as a service (Saas) the fact of the software being online and not on a CD; paying per month and not one time; was difficult as SaaS and other Cloud Computing concepts are still new in India.
- Business model of the idea
Practo provides an online software for doctors to manage their practices. They have identified 4 problems which small to medium scale practices have: Appointment Scheduling, Patient Record Maintenance, Follow Up Management and Accounting. Practo is a product hosted online and can be accessed anywhere, anytime. It is available for all specialties of medicine and dentistry on a monthly subscription basis (the Saas model). Practo’s services are provided to both individual practices and multi center practices.
- Revenue principles
Practo gets revenue from subscriptions and selling value added services like bulk SMS & domain name registration.
- How do they keep abreast with the competitors?
The healthcare ecosystem is a closely functioning network. According to Shashank, We keep in touch with our customers, dealers and attend trade shows to be in touch with the latest in the ecosystem.
- What is the role of innovation?
Healthcare records have been neglected by being confined to paper. With our unique approach of building user-friendly practical software, we have got hundreds of practices & thousands of doctors to start maintaining patient’s healthcare data in electronic format online. Bringing this change has not been easy; we have had to say no to many features & customers in order to preserve the simplicity of the product for all. But this has paid off with more doctors coming on our platform and our own customers usage increasing every month, says Shashank.
- The first big success
Being able to consistently grow Practo’s customer base to 500+ practices, 5000+ doctors and 500,000+ patients today, over the past one year has been very satisfying, as Shashank points it out. œBut we are looking to accelerate from here, he adds.
- What is for future?
Practo currently has customers in 25+ cities in India, and would like to expand their presence to more cities across India and take first steps outside India too. Shashank also hints that they have few new offerings lined up for the healthcare ecosystem but would not be able to share them right now.
About Shashank N. D.
Shashank is a B.Tech in Information Technology from NIT, Karnataka. He is a technology enthusiast and considers himself among the ones who love their work and make work their life. According to him you should work in the area where your passion lies. Unless you are passionate about your work, you cannot like your work whether as an employee or as an entrepreneur.
Mridula is a freelance writer. She writes on Entrepreneurship and has worked for a start-up in the past. To know more check out her profile at LinkedIn/Mridula Velagapudi
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