Emerging Entrepreneurs

Now, access your medical records at a click

Swathi Moorthy | Updated on January 12, 2018

Instant access (from left) Ganesh RVR, Vijay Krishna, and Vijay Thirumalai, Founders of hCue   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Chennai-based start-up hCue provides platform to digitise medical records

Imagine how easy it would be if you can access your years of medical data on your mobile. Apart from saving you the trouble of storing paperwork, sifting through each lab result and prescription papers it offers the convenience of accessing medical record sitting anywhere in the world.

That is what hCue aims to do among other things. It provides a platform to digitise medical records that can be easily accessed by family members anywhere in the world.

hCue was started in June 2015 by three friends who had known each other for over a decade. The founders Vijay Thirumalai, Ganesh RVR and Vijay Krishna were engineering graduates from Sastra University, Thanjavur.

Start-up idea

Thirumalai was an investment banker with over nine years of experience, Ganesh, a data scientist with more than 15 years experience, was in the US before moving back to Chennai, and Krishna, a technology specialist.

The idea to start this venture came when one of Ganesh’s close relatives passed away suddenly. Living in the US, he was unable to track the progress after surgery and it was difficult for the family to take in the news.

Ganesh says, “This is exactly the problem in India. We have all the latest technologies available for treatment. Yet, post-operative care is poor and not well tracked.”

This incident brought these three friends together and the application hCue was born.

The app has three components for patients, doctors and pharmacies. Patients can book appointments from a list of clinics and doctors. If a patient is required to take a lab test, the test results too will be uploaded and accessible to patient and family.

Doctors can use the app to update diagnosis and prescribe medications. There is also a facility to refer the patient to a specialist when necessary.

Since the entire medical history is available including doctors, specialists’ recommendation, diagnoses and medications prescribed, it makes it easier for doctors to analyse and offer better treatment. The entire process takes less than a minute, say the founders.

In case of pharmacies, hCue helps in better inventory management. Ganesh says, “In India, pharmacies lose 10 per cent of their inventory every year when drugs expire. The app helps them manage it efficiently.

“For example, the app sends notification about drugs that need to be stocked more and ones that are not selling well. This gives pharmacist a better idea of managing stocks and reduces wastage.”

Additionally, pharmacies in hCue network deliver locally when prescriptions are uploaded. “They get 30 per cent more business after joining our network,” he added.

Krishna says, “Since the app works offline, the process will not get affected even when the internet is down.”

Revenue source

While the app is free for patients, doctors and pharmacies can use the app for a fee. Price ranges from ₹1,000 to ₹10,000 per month for a hospital or pharmacy depending on functionality like managing patient appointment to managing entire clinic. This is the major source of revenue for the company. Currently, there over 1,000 pharmacies and 2,500 doctors in their network. The company has so far got three million record impressions from the time of inception.

It has a presence in Puducherry, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and in Tamil Nadu. Ganesh says, “The app will be available in Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai in another three months.”

The company has so far raised ₹13 crore through family, offices, HNIs and overseas investments. This is not including ₹40 lakh invested by the three founders before the company was formed in June 2015.

In talks with hospitals

Stating that the venture is profitable, Thirumalai said the company is in talks with hospital chains overseas to implementhCue platform. “We are in talks with stakeholders in Malaysia, Singapore, Gulf Cooperation Council, the US and Canada. If talks go well we expect 60 per cent of our revenue to come from overseas operations,” he adds.

The company plans to expand its product portfolio as well. Thirumalai says, “Right now we have only labs connected to hospitals in our network. We are in the process of adding more labs and integrating them to our network.”

hCue is working on integrating its platform with Internet of Things devices. Krishna says, “In a pilot we have done, X-ray devices in a few labs are integrated with the platform and directly upload test result to the system. We are working to expand its scope.”

hCue is working with other companies that specialise in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make the algorithm more predictive. Ganesh says, “Since we already have significant medical records in our system, we are trying to incorporate AI to analyse patterns and prevent medical conditions at an early stage. It will help doctors make better decision about a patient’s health.”

But the major challenge is changing doctors’ mindset. Thirumalai says, “There are close to 25 lakh doctors in the country. But only less than 1 per cent use technology. There is not much awareness and that is our biggest challenge.”

Published on January 23, 2017

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