Bangalore: It is not surprising to have a startling discrepancy between your final medical bill for surgery
and the hospital estimates, thanks to taxes and other inclusions. As a result, many people in India,
despite being in need of surgery, avoid visiting hospitals due to hidden costs.
Now, DocTree, a city-based start-up, is trying to address this issue. Set up in August 2012, the firm
wants to address the concerns of those who do not have medical insurance.
"In India most do not have a medical insurance, and most medical surgeries and cases are
unplanned. We have realised that leaving emergencies, upto 800 surgeries can be packaged if
planned ahead," says Sreenivasan Narayana, founder & CEO, DocTree.
How it works is, a patient looking for various prices and hospital options for a particular surgery can visit
the DocTree website, and specify the type of surgery he is looking for. Following this, DocTree will send
out the request to doctors who are associated with them, negotiate the price, and revert within 24 hours.
"It is basically a platform where doctors and patients can interact virtually," says Narayana. He believes
that information is king and patients should have a platform where they can choose their hospital as
well as their doctor. "I have seen cases where a patient avoids a particular hospital apprehending high
However, this is not always the case. Sometimes prices in corporate hospitals turn out to be very
similar to those in an ordinary one," he says. Narayana, who was a practicing ENT surgeon before
starting this venture, did his MBA from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. "My MBA stint gave me
the idea of starting my venture. Having learnt the nuances in my MBA programme, I worked with a startup
following which I got the confidence to begin my own venture."
Within the website, there is a facility where patients can choose to get a second opinion, see different
viewpoints to a particular surgery, and get a guaranteed price tag. Also, hospitals cannot change the
price once quoted. Additional benefits include the ability to choose hospitals based on distance.
The doctors can reach more patients through this platform.
Another concern is how doctors may not be adept at advertising themselves and their skills. DocTree
helps them do this by providing a platform where patients can write reviews about them. Consequently,
this feedback helps them improve their quality of service.