Emerging Entrepreneurs

Ensuring better tertiary and quaternary care for patients

N Ramakrishnan | Updated on June 23, 2020 Published on June 22, 2020

Jyoti Swarup, Founder, ezeehealth.

ezeehealth connects general practitioners with super-specialists in hospitals to ensure improved service for patients

It was a personal experience of dealing with large hospitals that got Jyoti Swarup thinking about doing something to improve the experience of patients and their family members going to hospitals. “I experienced in a short interval how unfriendly these hospitals are. This had nothing to do with medical treatment they are providing, but the way they treat a patient who is actually a consumer,” says Jyoti.

Patients are consumers but they do not have any bargaining power, because of which hospitals have evolved into consumer-unfriendly enterprises, he says. He adds that he strongly felt the need to do something to make the processes much more efficient and transparent. “I strongly felt that the patient is a customer, he is paying money and you are not providing him customer service. This is where the pain point, the idea of ezeehealth germinated,” he says of ezeehealth, the business he founded.

A B.Tech in civil engineering from IIT Kanpur and an M.Tech in environmental engineering from IIT Roorkee, Jyoti qualified in the UPSC examinations and was with the Indian Defence Service of Engineers. After nearly two decades in the Government in various roles, Jyoti turned an entrepreneur when he started Data Diversity Technologies Pvt Ltd, which was initially into big data. He then started an environmental monitoring venture. Now, ezeehealth is the brand under Data Diversity Technologies Pvt Ltd.

Hospital on the cloud

Initially, says Jyoti, they created a solution for hospitals wherein all functions of a hospital were digitally transformed and hosted on the cloud. “We created a mirror image of the hospital on the cloud, which will help in 24x7 interaction with the patient,” he says. However, this effort in 2017 to improve the functioning of the hospitals did not take off.

Instead of trying to make a hospital more efficient in treating a patient, he then shifted focus to the next biggest pain point that a patient has while interacting with these hospitals. And, that is, he says, when a patient needs tertiary or quaternary care.

At ezeehealth, says Jyoti, 56, they have created an ecosystem where the patient, his local doctor get to consult one of many super-specialists from a panel. “Between the patient and his local doctor, they finalise a treatment regimen from the comfort of his home before starting his journey to a hospital,” says Jyoti. “What we have,” he adds, “is we have taken out the super-specialists from the hospital and made them available to physicians and their patients.”

The team at the Bengaluru-based ezeehealth includes MC Uthappa, an interventional radiologist, who is co-founder; and the core team comprising Rohit Madhurkar, interventional radiologist; Rajiv Lochan, transplant surgeon; and, Shalini Chandan, specialist in family medicine.

Tele-consultation facility

Jyoti explains that ezeehealth is a collaborative platform between general physicians and super-specialists to help the former treat their patients in need of tertiary and quaternary care. This, he says, solves the problem of lack of availability of super-specialist expertise to all general practitioners irrespective of their location. The platform also has a tele-consultation facility for the general practitioners to consult the super-specialists or the patients to contact their local doctors.

According to him, ezeehealth has nearly 50 super-specialists on its platform and is looking to grow this number. The company aims to build the panel of general practitioners and super-specialists to make the service available to more people across geographies. Right now, it is Bengaluru based as far as delivery of services is concerned. About 150 patients use the platform now.

Source of income

How does ezeehealth get its income? From the hospitals, says Jyoti. The hospitals pay a co-management fee, which will be a percentage of the treatment cost. Of this, ezeehealth charges a small part as platform fee. The hospitals also have a system of giving a referral fee, which normally goes to an intermediary who was not providing any medical service. “We have negotiated with the hospitals that they give the referral fee to us which we pass on to the physician,” adds Jyoti. The venture provides the tele-consultation platform free for the general practitioners.

He points out that in nine out of 10 cases, a patient need not go back to the hospital for tertiary or quaternary care. By providing a tele-consultation facility and by ensuring that co-management is taken care, ezeehealth ensures that the patient comes back to his or her local doctor.

The platform ensures there is competition among different hospitals, says Jyoti, because of which patients get a better deal and improved service. “The moment you realise that the customer is capable of window-shopping, then you tend to improve, both in terms of the service you give and in terms of the cost you offer,” adds Jyoti.

To grow the business, he says, the venture needs to have a critical mass of physicians for the hospitals to approach ezeehealth for empanelling them. Along with that, they will need to increase the number of super-specialists. It is not a B2C platform; its target is the local physicians. The venture is looking to raise funds to help it reach a critical mass of doctors on the platform, adds Jyoti.

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Published on June 22, 2020
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