eHealth Access is a start-up that provides doctor consultation services through its website. Patients can book an appointment with a doctor in a remote location for either a phone or an email consultation. It claims to have a network of over 500 doctors and 40,000 clients across India and recently launched a mobile app to provide similar services to patients over mobile phones. In our interaction with Jayadeep Reddy, Founder, eHealth Access, he speaks about the company’s services, process of consultation, partnership with doctors, why this service would work with patients, and health related content, among others.
Medianama: What are the services that you offer?
Reddy: We offer services to two sets of audiences – corporate companies and online clients. We provide online services for consulting doctors and offer both online doctor consultation and offline services like diet management and stress management among others to corporate companies. When we started in 2010 as DialYourDoctor.com, we only had voice consultation. We further expanded to include other online services, following which we re-branded ourselves as eHealth Access.
Medianama: Why do you think patients would use your online services to consult a doctor?
Reddy: The basic reason why we launched this service is because there is a gap between a doctor and a patient. If you go in-person to consult a doctor, they would spend about 3 minutes and charge Rs 500. When I worked as a hospital consultant, I noticed that patients were not satisfied with this, since they want doctors to spend time giving them more information about their medicines and disease. Due to this, they end up searching online about their medication and disease. The information will be more authentic when the same information is given by a doctor.
Patients use our services if they can’t go to a doctor or for personal reasons like going to a sexologist, psychologist or gynaecologist without revealing their identity. Usually due to the issues of revealing their identity, patients typically shy away from asking doctors, but through our services they can now access these services without revealing their identity. Also, in urban areas, healthcare is about ease and not need, which we provide through our online services while in rural areas we cater to the basic need for healthcare.
Medianama: How have people responded to your services? How many patients do you cater to?
Reddy: Currently, we have a network of 40,000 customers all over India. Initially, we had a few limitations since our service was limited to only consulting a general physician but now we have increased our network of doctors and patients can reach out to doctors based on specialty, region and language.
Medianama: What has surprised you about Indians accessing your online services?
Reddy: We initially thought our service would be limited to urban audiences because online services typically require credit ordebit card. However, we have noticed people subscribing from Kashmir and even rural areas in the last one year. We didn’t expect people to use this service for personal reasons as well, however we have noticed that people between the age of 20-23 years call for personal reasons.
Medianama: How does the process of booking an appointment with a doctor and consultation work?
Reddy: Most of our services are available without appointments and users don’t require appointments to consult our general physicians. However, around 15-20% of doctors request for appointments for their phone or email based services. Our doctors give time to provide consultation on patient’s reports and records.
Patient themselves can come online and select the doctor they would like to consult. We respond immediately to consultation requests of general physicians and within 24 hours to consultation requests of specialists.
Medianama: How do your clients manage the paramedical requirements like tests involved in their consultation with your doctors?
Reddy: We currently have partners like Religare who take diagnostic tests for our patients. We don’t have labs of our own, however we are looking at acquiring diagnostic labs in Bangalore and Hyderabad this quarter. These labs will be central laboratories where the samples that we collect from people’s homes will be diagnosed.
Partnership With Doctors
Medianama: Why would doctors partner with you? What is the pain point that you are addressing for them?
Reddy: We are offering a global reach to doctors. Doctors can work in their remote location and offer their services globally, thereby reaching out to more number of patients. A doctor typically works in a hospital in the morning and has a clinic in the evening, but they are free rest of the time. We are helping them managing their time and utilize their bandwidth. While there is a monetary compensation to doctors, it is the service that we offer which is valuable to them.
Medianama: What is the process of acquiring doctors for your service?
Reddy: 60% of the doctors are found by our doctors requirement team who go meet these doctors and take their details to get them profiled on our site. The remaining 40% of the doctors come on their own and sign up for our services. Currently, we have stopped recruiting additional doctors because our network is sufficient at this point of time.
Medianama: What is the kind of partnership that you have with the doctors?
Reddy: We pay doctors per consultation. We charge patients Rs 99 to consult a general physician and Rs 250-300 to consult a specialist and provide 40%-50% of this amount to doctors.
Health Related Content on eHealth Access
Medianama: How do you develop health content for your website?
Reddy: We have a content development team and doctors who provide content to us. As for queriers, our internal doctors answer all the queries on the portal, since most of them are generic in nature. However, if it is a specialty based query, we ask a specialist to answer this question.
Medianama: How do you see people consuming health related information online?
Reddy: Most of the users come to our website for health-related information. We’ve noticed that people consume a lot of nutrition & diet and pregnancy related content and also use our Q&A section and Symptom tracker.