Digital healthcare in the country is going to witness exponential growth in the next five years and there is a long way to go for the sector and companies in this space, Practo co-founder and CEO Shashank ND said on Sunday.
The healthcare as an overall sector in India is close to USD 200 billion in size and just a single digit of it is online today, he added.
"I expect that this single digit will grow into 20-30 per cent in the next 5-10 years and that is going to be a real big jump for the sector," Shashank told PTI.
Digital adoption in healthcare is still very small and 90 per cent of healthcare is still offline today. So for the companies like Practo, there is a long way to go, he added.
About the company, Shashank said Practo is an integrated healthcare company helping consumers in their healthcare journey through digital means.
"Last year, we served close to 18 crore Indians and in the last couple of years, we have served close to 30 crore Indians. Our goal has been to ensure how to make healthcare simplified for the user," he added.
Healthcare is a very complex industry from a consumer's standpoint. The consumer is already in a lot of pain and in a high-level of anxiety, "we are trying to make sure that healthcare for the user becomes a simple affair, no matter where he is in the country,… he can access healthcare services on our app," Shashank said.
Thanks to learnings from COVID, there is more integration of offline and online healthcare. Lots of healthcare establishments are going online. The government has also been active and with initiatives such as National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), it is encouraging adoption of digital tools in healthcare, he added.
"For companies like Practo and many others in the sector, there is no looking back hereon. Now it is about providing more value, about making patients' lives better," Shashank said.
Practo has around 1 lakh doctors on its platform of which 25,000 provide online consultations, he added.
When asked about the outlook for the sector and Practo, Shashank said: "We are just barely scratching the surface. Digital healthcare is still very small. So for companies like us, there is a long way to go. Next five years will see exponential growth in digital healthcare."
On the future roadmap for the company, he said the gross margins are at an all-time high, while burn is at its lowest (57 per cent reduction in burn since FY18).
"The positive unit economics, reduced cash burn, and good gross margins across products have not only boosted Practo's operating revenue but has also given it a solid financial runway for the next 4-5 years to execute its growth strategy," Shashank said.