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For 14 years, every week, I saw my grandmother struggle to get in to the car and go to the hospital because of Rheumatoid Arthritis. As I saw my grandmother struggle, I wondered why medical help could not come to her. As I researched this issue further, I realized that over 180 million people in India are affected by Arthritis at some point in their life and doing normal things like getting into a car or cooking proves to very tough.
It was to alleviate this pain that I came up with CallADoc, an all in one mobile telemedicine solution. CallADoc does not limit itself to patients with Arthritis but focuses on being a complete health care platform for patients to connect with a specialist doctor at any time from any location. By providing round-the-clock services, CallADoc does not only provide a healthcare solution but also provides security to the patients and their caretakers that they can reach a doctor at any time.
What it does
CallADoc has three main features: CALL A DOCTOR: Call A Doctor provides an interface for patients to have a video call with a certified medical expert. Patients can choose from a pool of doctors of different backgrounds based on their needs. The doctor will then have a video call with the patient, analyze the issue, and then Email a prescription to them. Additionally, patients have a medical history tracker in this application. With this history tracker patients can revisit the doctors they have recently consulted via the app. They can also add their regular doctors onto the application via the history tracker and also have a second or third time consultation with this doctor via the application instead of physically visiting the hospital. Through Call A Doctor, patients are provided an option to attach their medical reports or prescriptions to make it easier for the doctors to analyze the problems. The patients can conduct basic tests such as a heart rate test on the app. Patients can also get their diagnostic reports analyzed by certified medical personnel via Call A Doctor. CallADoc reduces the cost of consultation from an average of over 50$ to just 2$ per call.
CALL AN AMBULANCE: A survey in India reported that over 33,000 heart attacks per year can be prevented with a reduction in ambulance arrival time by just 10 minutes. In Call An Ambulance, the GPS location of the patient is noted and the closest ambulance service are listed. The patient can call an ambulance from the closest available service. This fractionizes the time taken for the ambulance to reach the patient.
CALL A PHARMACY: Patients can order non-prescription medicines online and these medicines will be delivered to their doorstep. Additionally, patients can forward a copy of their prescriptions to the pharmacy and get the medicines delivered to their homes.
How I built it
We got our first round of funding from a technology company CRMIT who gave us 25,000$ in technical support and application development for 10% of our company. We were able to launch the application on IOS and Play stores in early 2015. We also received marketing capital from a company Brand Accelerator who helped us promote our application on a national level.
Challenges I ran into
In the first year of CallADoc, I faced a lot of backlash because people believed that a 14 year old child could not handle the problems and crises that come with starting a company, they could not believe that I would be able to hire qualified doctors and run an entire venture. As a minor, I faced a lot of drawbacks with legal and financial aspects of running a venture. I was not allowed to register a company in my name nor was I able to accept funds from any interested Angel Investor.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Sponsored $2000 to Vivum 2016, a not for profit high school fest, in order to promote the charitable aspect of CallADoc amongst 4000 students.
-Won best idea at Lean Mantra Startup Conference 2014.
-Established CallADoc at various Non Governmental Organizations and Public schools to ensure that the under privileged had an opportunity to reach out a doctor when needed.
-CallADoc is recommended by doctors from around the world (Dr. Krishna Reddy (London), Dr. N Vishnu Swaroop (Hyderabad)).
-Maintained socially driven objectives and ensure 50% of employees come from low-income households.
-First, telemedicine video calling application to operate for 24 hours, therefore providing care in emergency situations.
-Most efficient GPS tracking algorithm for ambulance services in India.
-Currently implementing the one phone per village initiative where a smart phone is installed in a village school and can be used by any registered member of that village to utilize CallADoc.
What I learned
CallADoc’s success has made me realize that my views on the fact that the world was biased against minors starting a company was wrong, I realized that people loved the concept of a 14 year old starting a social venture, I was at an automatic advantage in every single meeting as people judged me according to my age and were shocked by even a small effort I made to persuade them. This made me realize that me being a minor was a problem initially but as our company increased its credibility and grew in size it turned out to become the single biggest advantage. This has motivated me in various academic situations as well, every time a person told me that I could not do well in a subject, I was more motivated to prove them wrong and worked harder on that subject, rather than giving up.
In fact, CallADoc has given me a life lesson that I am going to carry throughout my life, it has shown me that the best way to handle lack of confidence in you is to put an effort and show people what you are made of, and not complain that about it.
What's next for Call a Doc
Recently, I researched further into the difficulties faced by low income households and figured out that their major drawback was lack of financial assistance to fund major medical surgeries and operations. In order to try and find a financial solution for all the patients, I attended the Summer@Stern program in Summer 2016 and increased my knowledge in the fields of finance and behavioral economics. During this program, I further researched into the viability of crowd funding in financing healthcare and I realized that CallADoc could be the answer to all the problems faced by these low income patients. We started working on a medical crowd funder that not only allows people to donate but also connects them to the patients who received their funds, this would create a feel good factor about donating and would further increase the financial assistance received by patients in need.