A Doctor's Prescription now available for less than $1- "MEDIPHONE"

A Doctor's Prescription now available for less than $1- "MEDIPHONE"

Hyderabad, IndiaHyderabad, India
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Mediphone  brings to you a Doctor consultation for less than $1 in India.Mediphone can be accessed through phone 24X7Mediphone provides written prescription on email as well as SMS.Mediphone has health classifieds 

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The physical infrastructure is inadequate to meet today’s healthcare demands in our developing country. It was apparent that a service was needed to complement the existing healthcare infrastructure by way of enabling patient to speak to a doctor any hour of the day. Looking at overall population of country where in rural India people are not financially strong enough to visit doctor for every health information and treatment and in urban area despite of facility available and ability to pay, people have lifestyle which is very much modern and complicated compare to province that they don’t find time to visit their doctor. This drove us to bring this platform called "Mediphone" where prescription is available anytime, is affordable and can be accessed by phone.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Let me take you to the Patient's journey. A Patient calls Mediphone 24X7 Hotline at 1.30 am at night as his baby is crying bitterly- he is anxious if there is something to worry about. He dials and get direct access to a skilled health professional (not IVR), the professional keys in his details and then starts to ask him questions following the Tele-traige algorithm available on the professional's screen. He then advices the patient that he will hear from then in 10 mins flat. The Patients receives an email with a prescription, symptoms statement, duly signed by the doctor with his MCI Regd. no. keyed in. The patient also receives an SMS that he forwards to a 24X7 chemist shop for home delivery of drugs. The system also has a classified service to find out a nearby health facility.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Primary Health Care is essential healthcare (based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology) made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community at a cost that the community and country can afford. MediPhone is a platform that enables this vision. We aim to provide access to basic healthcare where the data collected will then be used to mobilize resources, pharma supplies and health cover.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The Service is available to 250 Million + subscribers on their Phone itself irrespective of the handset they are using. 9 million people have accessed this service. On a daily basis we receive approx. 1500 calls. All calls are recorded for quality checks and you may see our testimonials here. Every time a repeat call happens we greet the patient by his name and check if he got benefited from his last consultation. http://www.airtel.in/mediphone/

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We are planning to start a fresh campaign by the next financial year in India. The key activities will involve but isn't limited to: 1. Identify newer payment systems for serving people outside the network of Airtel (the telecom partner) 2. Provide financial rewards to patient who are complying to lifestyle modification, a disease management plan and also to the better performing Physician. 3. Do smart with the data that is being collected through millions of phone calls and is keyed in the algorithm as per date and frequency of call and symptoms. We are looking at a time frame of 12-16 months for the same.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

As these service was build after gaining knowledge and experience from some of the existing and upcoming models. We are yet to see a larger scale or better commercially performing service. In terms of cost, quality , vernacular language and being available 24X7 as well, we see no or a very few small competitors. Some of the peers however can be: 1. AIRCEL Doctor on call service 2. Healthcare Magic+ BPL Call a Doctor service 3. Tata Docomo Sex Education service

Founding Story

The journey started when I was spearheading Apollo Group of Hospitals Wellness division and realized that Health Infrastructure is a perennial problem in India. But there were evident solutions that weren't tried - we decided to support such innovations with our experience and build some successful businesses. We are a partner to most of them and hence there is another level of fulfillment as well
Organization Name

HealthCursor Consulting Group

About You
About You
First Name

Dr. Ruchi

Last Name


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Explain what the "innovation" is about, e.g., is it the idea and/or the model you use to accomplish the idea, or your understanding of the target population, etc.?

Innovation isn't just about a new idea or a mere new model. It is about creating services in a sustainable but re-configured way- different from what might be expected by default. These businesses should also be able to sustain the culture of innovation progressively. For me Innovation means bringing a radical change and creating a mature network of opportunities around that change.

Describe how your innovation model is distinct from any other organization in your field?

More than just a patient-doctor intervention; this model is a natural surveillance and information source. The technology used is sophisticated enough i.e. Tele-triage algorithms to guide doctors and reduce the turn around time for each prescription; Analytics to identify you on your second call being aware of your disease status; maintaining your health records and in-turn extracting a Health Map. The Operations follow a robust SOP for training, hiring and briefing for GPs and technicians. We learnt a lot by studying the stagnant or failed models and we have 1500 calls/day now touching a million lives.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

We kept the working environment and internal organisational structure easy so much so that the service Mediphone operates as an almost distinct entity. To ensure the effectiveness of service CECC( customer care enhance center) helps the Health Officer to make judgment of symptoms.Work flow automated system help solve majority of errors through a powerful and yet easy-to-use clinical information system. EHR driven CRM helps host patient record for future references and analysis as well.

How do you make sure you constantly innovate in light of (potential) external challenges, or your growth plan?

Service is accessible to more than 200+ million Airtel users today across India, and empowers the callers to consult with doctor anytime even in wee hours. We intend to make it operator independent. The model is centralized today but as and when we grow we plan to create Hub and spoke models around this. A lot is being learnt during the last one year from the service- customer behavior, way to ask open ended questions, Training methodologies, retaining Doctors, SOPs and hence mere duplication of the idea would not a good enough start for any new company. Our partners i.e. Medibank, Fortis, HealthCursor and others are keeping an eye on some of these evolving models in other markets as well to update and switch when necessary.

Organization Country

, AP, Hyderabad

Business Model
The systemic challenge you are trying to overcome (select one)

Bring accessible healthcare to communities in emerging markets

Health area (target market) where the need is [select only one]

Primary healthcare services

Categories along the health continuum you are covering [select all that apply]

Detection, Intervention.

Stage that best applies to your solution [select only one]

Established (past the previous stages and has demonstrated success)

Core strategies of your business model [select all that apply]

Patient-centered design, New/redefined roles for healthcare service provision, New approaches to distribution of health products and services, Unconventional partnerships (between traditional healthcare players and players outside healthcare).

If other, specify here:
Most relevant tools you are using to implement the strategies outlined above [select only two]

Technology, Consultation.

If other, specify here:
What is your value proposition?

Affordable, Anytime, Quality healthcare services at just a click of dial-in button. The second USP is our partners- we have a Large Healthcare company, an IT Major, India's largest telecom company and best practices from Medibank Australia as our team. Together we are driving Government, Insurance companies, Telecom operators and Rural health initiatives. The system is now evolving to address promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services as well to address the public health problems through general calls as well as focused point services for chronic disease management, mother and child, emergency care, etc.

Who is your customer(s)?

Mediphone as a project was started to target the needs of a middle class tier 1, tier 2 town individual that hasn't got anytime to take care of his health, he skips his doctor appointment and self-prescription is his way of life. Mediphone has now started to tie up with State Governments for Rural healthcare and setting up of non-emergency helplines and

What approaches to you use to reach your customers?

Our first approach was through HealthLine 24X7 which was a standalone health classifieds service to start off with. We got great response from patients that were looking for healthcare services. Then we tied up with Airtel- India's largest telecom operator and they opened their entire subscriber base (stands at 250 Million +) to us. Now we are partnering with regional state governments to tie-up and launch this service in their region. We are also coming up with a mobile app for our 900 Million affluent citizens.

What are your primary activities?

The service offers:

- Medical advice including self care, doctor’s consultation and/or medication
- Lifestyle counselling
- Senior care and Rehabilitation counselling
- Emergency referral – In case of emergencies, the service can transfer the call to emergency services and medical service providers like ambulance services, emergency services, hospitals and diagnostic centers, based on the location of the patient.
- Health Classifieds to locate a nearby facility and gain knowledge about it (not many classifieds service in India today captures- Doctor timings, Cash/Credit card as mode of payment, Distance from the caller's house etc).

What other challenges - individual, organizational, or environmental – are you currently facing or might hinder future success of your business, and how do you plan to overcome those?

There are 3 challenges that we have faced and have overcome 2 of them already.
1. Staff turnover- As there is a steep Doctor to patient ratio in the country, it i shard to retain doctors for long. But today we have handy training material, briefing sessions and robust SOPs to get a new one recruited and trained in 2 days flat.
2. Centralized recruitment- Till now the service is doing good but in case the call volumes increase to a certain limit, the centralized model wouldn't work. We will then look for Hub and spoke models for the same. Franchising can also be an option but will have to figure out additional quality guidelines for such establishments.
3. Funding- we shall require appropriate funding to scale up and to also evolve our business model and upgrade systems from time to time

Briefly describe your growth strategy going forward

We are already taking an audit of uptake in our current circles and planning to come up with better service and subscription packages for areas that have shown keenness and strong uptake, We are planning to involve Pharma companies to help build resources collectively. Leading pharmaceutical companies are now tying up with technology partners to enable consumers identify genuine drugs.

What dimensions for growth are you currently targeting for your innovation [select all that apply]

New customer group(s), New regions(s).

What makes your business "ready" for growth?

The Public Private partnerships
The Value chain with incentives aligned for each stakeholder
Being the Virtual but First Point of care connect for individuals.
Technology using the data for analytics and better market understanding

What are your key growth objectives?

Identify channels in our network/current setup where maximum growth can be availed.
Derive more motivation for Organisation and people to be involved and deliver

Organization's Country of Operation

, AP, Hyderabad

Social Impact
What methods for quantification of social impact are you applying (if at all)?

So far we are not doing the hard work of measuring social impact using standard principles and guidelines . However, we use few tools and processes to find out desirability through duration of call, patient's tone, return to normal period, our social mentions and repeat callers.

Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?

Absolutely. This concept is tried and tested in US and other geographies for several years (20+ or so). It is just that we tweaked it to give it a regional touch and reconfigured it to match our market conditions and priorities. We are already in talks with countries like Ghana, Manila, Malaysia, Dubai and Mauritius .

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

We are aiming to touch 100 million lives in the next 3 years with our Mobile app, Government, Airtel and other telecom subscribers channels. We are also planning to service our customers with a health concierge service for the continuum of care.

Elaborate on your current financing strategy

Religare Technologies is a publicly listed company in BSE, India. The promoter group is the major stakeholder in the company.

Share of revenue generation in total income of organization (in percent)

60% from Product Licenses and AMC; 17% from mhealth business; and remaining 22% from IT Managed Services for Hospitals.

Direct sales to patients or other beneficiaries (in percent)

12% from direct sales to patients.

Of the possible sources of these sales listed below, check all that apply to your current strategy

Individuals, Patients, Caregivers, Private businesses.

Licensing fees, e.g., for technology/franchise model (in percent)


Of the possible sources of these licensing opportunities listed below, check all that apply to your current strategy

Foundations, Private businesses, Regional government, National government.

Service contract with organizations, e.g., government, NGOs (in percent)


Of the possible sources of the service contracts listed below, check all that apply to your current strategy

Foundations, NGOs, Private businesses, Regional government.

Explain your revenue generation strategy in more detail

Being a company that is into enabling healthcare through IT we offer products, platforms and services across all stakeholders in the Healthcare ecosystem including healthcare providers (hospitals, clinics), physicians, patients, diagnostic labs, NGOs, medical colleges, NGOs and Health Insurers. The revenue generation is spread across product licenses and support, transaction based mHealth models, per use model for PaaS models as well as subscription based payment.

Share of philanthropy in total income of organization (in percent)


Philanthrophy strategies you are using

Explain your philanthropic approach in more detail


Expand on your selections; explain how you will sustain funding over the next 1-3 years.

Promoter funding and plowing back profits generated in the company.Also as we are diversifying into different target segments i.e. from B2C to B2B and B2B2C we see inorganic growth coming in. We have decided to do the following:
1. Use profits generated in the company to create hub-n-spoke models for vernacular services.
2. Use revenue made for such uptake to create enterprise applications for our B2B business.
3. Merge the workflow and divide value prop. b/w the two to create USP and first mover advantage in the market.
4. Penetrate the market with a comprhensive and integrated approach for gaining more business.

Years in Operation

Operating 1-5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

Yes, recently felicitated by ASSOCHAM (Highest commerce body in India) and President of India

Company called for TED Presentation in 2012

Our projects received several awards like IPIHD Innovator (World economic Forum+ Duke University), Computerworld laureate award for Dr SMS etc.