Lack of access to adequate healthcare despite the penetration of mobile and data services in remote areas is a continuous struggle in India. To bridge this gap, create awareness and provide access to modern affordable healthcare through technology, myUpchar was launched in 2016.
The online platform allows users to access medically certified health and wellness information in vernacular languages and connects them with doctors for virtual consultations. "The gap in affordable healthcare was not only due to concentration of medical personnel and infrastructure in a few cities, but also because of the linguistic divide that prevented people from accessing medical information, which is available mostly in English," says Garg.
myUpchar serves close to 50 million people every month, of which over 90% are tier 2, 3, 4 users. Each month, one million of the site's visitors seek teleconsultations and other medical services. Garg believes that while the idea was to bring modern medicine to those who did not have access to it, deeper penetration of smartphones and internet prompted the move to online.
"According to World Bank data, India has 0.86 doctors per 1,000 people, lower than the World Health Organisation recommended 1 per 1,000. It would be great to see the day when everyone, everywhere in the country has access to healthcare anytime they need," rues Garg.
Several studies measure the lacunae in awareness and lack of affordability of healthcare costs in India. According to a World Bank report, out of pocket healthcare expenditure is at 70% in India while less than 20% of the population is covered by health insurance either private or government, states an Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority report. Therefore, platforms, such as myUpchar, drive social change by providing affordable and immediate healthcare services.
"To make a meaningful difference, you need to address the real problem," says Garg, adding that replicating businesses that work in other countries is tempting but it only solves local problems or address regional challenges.
While the journey has been deeply satisfying, Garg believes it is just the beginning. "To know that we live in a society where we're finally able to provide basic healthcare to everyone is a day I look forward to," he says. myUpchar is working towards this goal, one step at a time.