Your assessment of challenges and opportunities in digitalizing business operations in the healthcare ?
There is a huge gap in digitalizing business operations in the healthcare industry. One of the major challenges, the industry is facing is about running the business manually, especially in the pharma sector. At present we have over seven lakhs medical stores which are doing business in various regions of India. All these medical store businesses is being done manually and these stores face a lot of challenges in terms of increasing their revenue, profitability, and also poor inventory management. Now, there is a huge growth in epharmacy stores and chain pharmacy stores, these medical stores are getting affected in terms of sustaining or survival in the industry.
We can basically divide the world of Digital Healthcare into two era – Before Covid (BC) and After Covid (AC). Before the advent of the pandemic in March 2020, the acceptance of Digital Healthcare was quite slow and lukewarm.
From online appointments to medical records and pharmacy – we had it all, but patients still wanted the physical way of being examined by a doctor. The virtual mode in a post Covid world that we saw coming up in a good way, has now gained widespread acceptance.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a slew of moves to ensure that digital healthcare gets a huge fillip in the years to come. If digital healthcare has to succeed, the governments, both at state and centre have to be proactive in rising up to the challenges that will arise along the way.
How does Digital E Stores benefit wholesalers and distributors?
There are immense benefits of using digital platforms for the various stakeholders when it comes to medical stores, this could enable them to increase their profitability, increasing their sales and stores can become online stores and also better inventory management of their business operations, overall it improves the business efficiency of all the stores.
Companies like Amazon, Flipkart and Big Basket became the avenues for buying everything from fruits to electronics. The concept of E Stores is somewhat of a term that has seen a huge swathe of opportunities, and healthcare sector has also seen a tectonic shift.
The wholesalers and retailers need to have a strong digital and distribution network that can function from warehouses in interior areas, this obligating the need for expensive rentals on prime real estate. The last mile connectivity is crucial as E Stores need to deliver orders in the shortest possible time. E Stores can also avoid last minute orders from consumers, by reminding them about replenishing their medicine stocks.
Many medicines require refrigeration and cold chain is extremely important. Legal requirements also need to be taken and e prescriptions, so that misuse can be avoided. In all, E Stores is a revolution that is already happening and medicines form an important part of the next step to ensuring digital revolution.
Seven lakh medical stores which are mom & pop stores do not have proper systems in place which is affecting their day to day business operations, unable to compete with chain pharmacy and recent growth of epharmacy platforms which has forced them to adopt to a digital platform.
MedleyMed has created end to end solutions which would enable them to do transactions and business operations efficiently in terms of increasing sales and profitability. Our platform enables them to reach many stores irrespective of any geography. At present in India most of the wholesalers business is being localized and they only serve to a particular area in a particular city. With the help of our platform they are able to reach many stores within the city and also outskirts of the particular city, this is helping them to increase in revenue as well as their profitability.
What are your views on PM’s Digital Healthcare Initiative?
India stands 145th position among 192nd in terms of providing quality healthcare services to the people. Prime Minister’s digital healthcare mission has come at the right time to increase the quality of the healthcare services to the people. The biggest advantage of this new initiative, it is going to change the complete landscape of healthcare Industry or the way people get a consultation from the doctors.There will be privacy concerns around the digitisation of the health records of people, especially in absence of a data protection law or a data protection authority.
Private sector hospitals anticipate that the Digital Health Mission as a move that would transform the way health care is delivered in the country. The implications of this programme are far wider than what is being perceived today. The entire ecosystem will get linked up with data flowing to and fro. This would bring in efficiency into a healthcare system, that has been stuck in legacy mode for decades.
The biggest advantage to users would be that they would not have to repeat certain investigations since there would be a unified format and standards in the digital system across geographies. The challenge that government will face is the ability and willingness to implement a digital ecosystem across all health care services, something that has been in the rudimentary physical mode for a long time.
What kind of services are provided by MedleyMed Digital Platform?MedleyMed has realized there is a business opportunity to digitize this particular market segment. We have created end to end pharma platform involving all the stake holders on a single platform. Our platform is a SaaS – based B2B and B2C business model and it can extend to other day to day business operations in terms of ERP, point of sales systems also automation of operation of the business. Our platform enables them to reach many stores irrespective of any geography. At present in India most of the wholesalers business is being localized and they only serve to a particular area in a particular city. With the help of our platform they are able to reach many stores within the city and also outskirts of the particular city, this is helping them to increase in revenue as well as their profitability.
We have conducted beta test in India. The trial and error came out with a platform and it has been tested with the users. We are growing and soon we will get the approval for usage of the platform, which will benefit to the medical stores and wholesalers. We have successfully completed the beta test in Hyderabad, now, having seen the success we are planning to expand our market to other cities and exploring other markets which have similar ecosystem of India, one of the market which we looked is at Africa. It has similar kind of ecosystem as of India.
What are the future plans of MedleyMed?
MedleyMed is planning to raise the capital to meet the current and future goals to expand globally. At present, our execution team is in India and US. Once we enter the new markets we are going to add the execution team in the respective countries. One of the good things about MedleyMed we are adapting our platform to meet the local requirements and also all the regulatory compliances which are required in healthcare, we are able to customize our application.