Having a tough time following up with your doctor, post consultation? Cheer up, because communication is now easy with this new app!
In a world of smart phones that have health apps, which help in consultations and in delivering medicines, patients and doctors alike, have trouble with follow up calls and messages. This was exactly the problem, the father of a 22 year old boy named Krishna Chaitanya Aluru had faced. Through his conversations with his father and with other people, Krishna realized that this was a common problem.
Doctors were pelted or pestered with calls or messages from patients 24/7! Krishna thought that there had to be a way to make the process simpler, more organized and far less irritating for doctors and patients alike. It was then that he came up with the idea of developing a mobile app called DocTalk with the help of his friends, Akshat Goenka and Vamsee Chamakura.
The trio had founded the startup in February this year (2016). “We do not connect patients with new doctors; we just streamline the process post-consultation. A patient can subscribe to a doctor and then easily share files and past prescriptions to ensure that the doctor can quickly access the data. Doctors too can upload and share any reports that they might have.”
Patients can download the app on their smartphones and upload all their previous reports or prescriptions with no cost involved. Once patients upload their reports, they can connect with their respective doctor/s. The application also validates if the patient is an existing patient of the doctor or not. If a patient’s doctor has not yet downloaded DocTalk or is not using it, then the patient gets automatically subscribed to the doctor once the doctor has signed up on the app. Akshat says that 75 percent of follow-ups involve discussing a report or a prescription. The trio said that their app has been able to cut down response and remote consultation time by 25 percent because the doctor is able to read the patient’s previous medical reports even before the patient arrives at the clinic or hospital!
One of the main challenges faced by the trio while developing the application was finding good doctors and specialist in various cities and in various sectors within a city and adding it to the applications’ database. Once the database was reasonably developed, they had to ensure that their app was able to connect the patient to the right doctor or specialist depending upon his or her illness or needs. The trio is proud to say that their application can now do this with ease! Their application can: Search the applications’ database and suggest the right doctor or specialist who is nearest to the patient, help the patient arrange an appointment with the desired doctor, enable the patient to upload his previous medical records and prescriptions in the app for easy referral by the doctor (even before the patient arrives at the clinic or hospital) and last but not the least, it even enables patients to order medicines for home delivery!
The application eases the communication between patients and doctors and is now a roaring success in the market. It now has several sponsors or investors like Sequoia, Tencent, and Practo to name a few. In July last year, the company/application had raised $10.2 million funding from companies like Tiger, Nexus and Ratan Tata. The application also has a feature called: Doctor’s Circle, which helps doctors manage consultations and in chatting with patients.
There also is the Hyderabad-based Caremotto, which focuses on ensuring patients get connected to the right surgeon. Krishna stated that India is second only to the US in terms of applications received, higher than both the UK and Canada! “Our goal is to make communication more convenient. The patient benefits significantly as they now have a personalized EMR system on their mobile, while the doctors can track patient progress and use numerous other tools that are provided on the doctor app” says Akshat. DocTalk takes an agency/service fee from doctors who charge their patients for a subscription/appointment. The team intends to look at the process of patient and doctor communications more closely and make it simpler.
Our take on DocTalk
Applications like DocTalk are the ‘need of the hour’ as far as a populous country like India is concerned. Personally, I would feel extremely irritated as a doctor if patients kept calling me or texting me 24/7 for follow ups. To be able to read the medical report or previous prescriptions of a patient only after he arrives at the clinic or hospital and only then suggest medications is extremely time consuming and also remembering so many patients is impractical. Therefore apps like DocTalk will be very useful both to the patients and to the doctors as they save the time required to read the previous medical records or prescriptions of the patient, so that doctors can suggest medications or other courses of actions as soon as their patient(s) arrive(s) or through the app itself! Remembering patients is also not necessary for doctors as they can use the app for getting details of the patient like his or her name, previous medical records and illnesses. This app has made communication (or for that matter, life itself) very simple and easy between doctors and patients and has brought about a revolution. I therefore feel that the developers of this app, Krishna, Akshat and Vamsee should be awarded the Nobel Prize.