Shashank ND & Abhinav Lal | 27, 27
Founders, Practo Technologies
Category: Health care
In 2008, when Shashank ND’s father was asked to undergo a knee replacement surgery, he turned to a doctor in the US for a second opinion. Unfortunately, his father’s medical records could not be shared with the doctor because they were not available in a digital format. This got Shashank, 27, thinking about the advantage of digitising health records. “I realised this problem could be addressed only at the doctor’s end,” says Shashank, co-founder and CEO of Practo Technologies, a Bangalore-based technology firm that offers two services, Practo Ray (improves medical practice management) and Practo.com (a website that helps patients get in touch with doctors).
Shashank was a final-year biotechnology student at the National Institute of Technology, Surathkal (Karnataka), when he decided to build a software to simplify health care. He roped in classmate Abhinav Lal, 27, and they founded Practo Ray, an online management software that allows doctors to upload and store medical records and prescriptions, patient history, billing schedule, make appointments, and so on. The software is available to medical practitioners on a monthly subscription basis. (Patients can ask doctors to give them access to medical records.)
“The first version of Practo Ray was created from scratch based on the feedback we got from doctors,” says Lal, who is chief technology officer of Practo Technologies.
In 2009, Practo Ray went live and was circulated among doctors in Bangalore, many of whom started using it to streamline their practice. Dr Ranjani Rao, founder of V2 ECity Dental Center, a chain of three dental clinics in Bangalore, was one of Practo’s first clients. “I have a front office staff, but their job is made easier because the software allows us to make appointments, remind patients about visits, allows doctors to scan their schedule remotely and so on,” says Rao. She adds the patients are familiar with such medical management practices, including accessing their digital records.
Practo quickly scaled up and approached medical practitioners in Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. In 2011, private equity firm Sequoia Capital invested $4 million in the firm which was used by Shashank to expand Practo Ray’s reach: It’s now available in 12 cities across India. Over 10,000 doctors use Practo Ray, which stores over 16 million health records.
The other part of Practo’s business is Practo.com, which helps patients find doctors in their cities. Practo ranks doctors based on its own due diligence and patient recommendations. “If you move to a new city, you have no clue about the doctors there,” says Lal. Neither doctors nor patients have to pay for the service; Practo earns from advertisements on the site, which gets a million visitors a month. The monthly appointments booked amount to about a lakh.