The digital healthcare movement is driving a vast array of startups in Dhaka, many working in mobile healthcare and healthcare for the last mile population.
Startups developing online doctors directory and appointment system, for instance, are working with hospitals to ensure better access to health care while developing healthcare-related content for general awareness creation. That could help people to access better treatment and medical services. It should also reduce the cost and hassle for a lot of people who need a better reference and basic knowledge regarding health care.
Like many other industries in Bangladesh, healthcare is on the verge of change. It is a big sector like commerce and has lots of opportunities to explore. The good news for these startups is that there is a certain demand for these services in the market. Similarly, the big uncertainty is how long it will take to have the scale to make it a viable business.
Who succeed will be a function of many factors, from the product itself to consumer reaction, competition, and how fast they can scale.
Here is a sampling of digital healthcare startups getting attention from industry insiders, many of which are still in very early stage.
Doctorola, a startup officially launched in October 2015, has already more than four thousand doctors and three hundred hospitals working with the company [up to December 2015]. The startup helps people to get Doctor’s appointment online. It has a website, live chat option, mobile apps, and a call center to manage appointments and everything. The startup is handling appointment management for a couple of hospitals in Dhaka.
It received a BDT 20 million from BD Venture last year and preparing for another round of funding.
Jeeon, co-founded by Rubayat Khan of mPower Social, is applying bKash model in healthcare. The startup trains and gives equipment to local intermediaries so that they can facilitate consultations with remote doctors in order to provide quality healthcare services to rural patients. It has raised an undisclosed amount from a US-based investor.
Jeeon started its pilot with 04 pharmacies in 4 different locations, mostly in remote areas and now expanding to 40 pharmacies. It charges BDT 300 per patient and shares it with the pharmacist. It is also tying up with hospitals so that it can further handle the healthcare services its users receive. According to the startup, it serves around 5 patients per day per pharmacy on an average.
Rx71 promises to digitize healthcare. Founded by Tareq Hasan, Nizam Uddin, and Mehedi Hasan, the startup promises to offer 360-degree digital health platform.
While providing doctors and hospitals directory where you can find doctors and hospitals and make appointments, it is also building a huge platform of health related content in Bangla with a vision to help people living a healthy life by creating health awareness and educating people on health issues. The startup has also launched a mobile app recently. According to Similar web data, it received 8.50k users in Sepctember, an almost 40% decline from the previous month.
Tonic, launched via Grameenphone, is an initiative of Telenor Health. The startup provides health and illness information, suggestions for positive health change and editorial style content, a 24-7 helpline enables GP users to get a basic diagnosis doctors for which it charges BDT 5 per minute. The startup also offers a discount service for its members in selected hospitals in Dhaka.
Started in 2004, Doctorbd is largely a doctors' directory and appointment management system. It also has blood donor database, hospital information, medical institute information, diagnostic center, clinics and kidney/eye bank. Patients can take appointments online to their desired doctors. There is an option to online consultation where a patient can submit problems to a selected doctor and get help within 24 hours.
According to Similar web data, it received 6.90K users in September, up from 2k previous month. Offers online consultancy, online appointments, news and doctor's profile.
Healthprior is one of the earliest initiatives in the digital health space. The platform offers health news and information, e-appointment, has an e-library where you can get free medical books and videos, and an e-store. According to Similarweb data, it received 32.80K users in September, almost 50% up from the previous month.