Hello there, today in our Startup Interview series, we are publishing an interview with Harsh Parikh, co-founder of DRiefcase. Let’s get into it!
At a glance
- Startup name: DRiefcase
- Sector: Health-Tech
- Launch Date: December 2016
- Location: Mumbai
- Funding: Bootstrapped
- The problem that it solves: Lack of electronic record keeping in healthcare
Hi Harsh, Could you please explain how did you come up with this idea?
DRiefcase is a comprehensive health-tech solution for patients and medical practitioners with two interconnected, complementary apps on a common platform.
Let’s start with DRiefcase, our Patient EHR platform. It provides secure, easy-to-use access to personal health records enabling users to maintain their family medical records online and access them anytime in a matter of seconds. It’s a patient-centric platform with an unmatched focus on personal health records that ensure ease of upload and fast retrieval of records.
Then we have DRiefcase Connect, our practice management solution for doctors. It is a clinic management platform for doctors, polyclinics and small hospitals to improve productivity and manage their practice, again, with an unmatched focus on personal health records.
The problem statement was simple – patients and doctors take care of health, not health records. So, we decided to help them with that.
Could you briefly tell us about the Founders?
DRiefcase was started by Sohit Kapoor and myself in mid-2016. This was after decade long careers as investment bankers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Sohit is a Computer Engineer and I am a Chartered Accountant. Both of us are alumni of The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. We have worked with each other for 15 years now.
What has been the biggest challenge for your startup in initial stages?
Few dispute the need for the digitization of medical records. However, the real problem is inertia. While the average person is now comfortable taking selfies and photos to record personal events, that behavior is not really prevalent in the case of medical records. People spend 10 mins on a selfie, nothing on a digital health record. Our endeavor is to build systems that target this inertia and enable patients to keep their account updated with minimal intervention.
On the practitioner side as well, we aim to improve productivity and visibly demonstrate the benefits that digitizing can bring to practice with minimal disruption to the existing workflow.
Who is your Targeted audience?
In theory, anyone who has a smartphone and a medical record. But in practice, we try to reach out to that one person in every family who has a 360-degree view of the health of each family member – typically someone aged 35 and above with a child and/or aging parents to take care of.
Strategies do you think is valuable to take the company to the next level?
As I said earlier, our biggest challenge is INERTIA. The strategies that we are deploying target this inertia.
On the patient side, we start the patient journey with our Scan At Home / Pick Up & Drop services, where we digitize the user’s past medical records (unlike a case where he has to build a database over time for use in future). Keeping the records updated is as easy as taking a photo. Moreover, we give each DRiefcase use a unique personal mailbox, wherein anything emailed to that get uploaded to their account automatically. This has yielded us a behavioral change towards uploading medical records: Once users have their medical histories organized, we have seen many of them upload records on an on-going basis
Our practice management platform, DRiefcase Connect is built on the exact same principle as DRiefcase – convenience. With a focus on minimal workflow disruption, we have several convenient ways to upload the patients’ medical records using the phone camera, email, voice, and hand-writing recognition. The doctor can adopt the technology or/and have the assistant do it.
With two interconnected platforms, we are relying on the network effect to further aid in bringing about this behavioral change. As patients and practitioners share records with each other, documentation becomes easy and eventually a routine.
Tell us about your amazing team members?
We started with a team of 6. Our team has been consistently growing since then and we are now a 16-member strong team. We have also been very fortunate to have a set of highly accomplished mentors who have guided us well along our journey.
How do you plan to sustain your place in the market?
On the DRiefcase User app side, there is no significant competition – some users do use email and cloud storage to archive their medical records. But the ease of retrieving documents (On DRiefcase you can find any document in 10 seconds!) and seamless sharing across trusted family members makes DRiefcase stand out as the best option quite easily. As mentioned earlier, on the user side the real challenge for us is to sell the concept, once that is done DRiefcase is their natural choice.
On the practice management side (DRiefcase Connect) – we do see a good number of players who do provide some part of the services we provide – Practo, Lybrate, DocOn, Doxper, Healthplix, Clinicia, etc. Where DRiefcase Connect is different is in its philosophy of providing Doctors with a highly customizable solution which focuses on improving their productivity without impacting their current working style at all.
What is your best motivation line that inspires you?
For us, the behavioral change we have started seeing in our users is definitely our biggest motivator. We see users regularly uploading their medical records and maintaining their accounts. We believe that we understand what drives this change and plan to implement that on a larger scale as we continue gaining traction further.
We are also extremely proud of the relationship-driven approach to healthcare that we are taking versus a purely transactional approach that seems to be prevalent in the sector. Patients and Doctors are really liking this approach which makes us more confident on our road ahead.
Could you share details about the source of funding, revenue, client acquisition model and statistics so far?
- Incorporated in May 2016, the DRiefcase app was launched in December 2016. DRiefcase has been bootstrapped so far.
- DRiefcase has seen a good response and hosts ~2,500 families with ~100,000 documents.
- DRiefcase Connect is currently under a soft launch. We are taking a multi-pronged approach to create a network of 500k patient families and 5,000 doctors
We plan to raise funding over the next 6-8 months to achieve our growth targets.
What advice would you like to give the upcoming entrepreneurs?
There is a monologue from one of my all-time favorite movies – Ratatouille – which I am going to say here. I have always believed in it and ask upcoming entrepreneurs to adhere to it.
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source.…”
In a world where start-ups are the “in” thing, criticism is always more fun for the one giving it. Most people try to be constructive but very quickly move to be critical. Do not get disheartened easily, but be objective in evaluating what is being said.