We're aiming to cut healthcare cost through our solution: Doceree CEO
Earlier, less than 5% of the budget was spent on digital, now more than 50% is spent on digital marketing
Doceree is a unique digital healthcare company that seamlessly connects pharmaceutical brands and digital platforms, and allows the pharma brands to connect with the physician community through targeted marketing initiatives. This SaaS platform is powered by its proprietary AI engine- Espyian, which targets to reach over one million doctors across the US and around 3.5 lakh in India. The company aims to reduce the healthcare costs by bringing down the marketing expenditure of pharmaceutical companies. In an exclusive interview with Bizz Buzz, Dr Harshit Jain, founder and global CEO of Doceree, said that the company is preparing for a series A round fund raising, which it expects to close by the end of this year
Around 15 years ago, companies used to go to the individual websites and choose the platforms to do the advertising. At the end of campaign, they will get some reports. This has changed now with the advent of platforms like Google AdSense. Marketers don't go to individual platforms now and just go to AdSense and start selecting people who are visiting those platforms
Tele-health platforms have seen mass adoption by people during the current pandemic period. People have realized the efficiency of these channels and are getting used to it. This applies both to doctors and patients. This simplifies the whole process. Though this phenomenon is at the peak during the pandemic, it may come down a bit. But telemedicine is something which is here to stay
What was the motivation behind setting up Doceree?
I was in McCann Health working in various positions in different countries. Then I decided to quit as I wanted use my knowledge in solving the problem of physician marketing. The aim is to how to engage with physicians in a measurable and transparent manner. When I was working, I came across instances how digital marketing is kind of black-box marketing where the client puts in money and gets a report at the end. That's why I started it for solving this problem, which will bring out efficiency and effectiveness in the healthcare marketing. This will eventually bring down the healthcare cost.
Your solution is a SaaS (software as a solution) product. Can you throw some light how the solution works?
Around 15 years ago, companies used to go to the individual websites and choose the platforms to do the advertising. At the end of campaign, they will get some reports. This has changed now with the advent of platforms like Google AdSense. Marketers don't go to individual platforms now and just go to AdSense and start selecting people who are visiting those platforms. So, the marketing has become more people-based marketing than platform-based marketing now. It is now more personalized and data-driven. We are trying to do the same in the world of pharmaceutical marketing. Our model works like this. When a physician logs into any platform like a medical journal platform or Tele-health platform, through our technology, we are able to identify who that doctor is. And depending on which brand wants to reach out to that doctor, the brand communication is published through a bidding process. All this happens in real time and the whole process is completed in 30 milli seconds.
As we know the traditional pharmaceutical marketing is done through many medical representatives of various pharmaceutical companies, who physically interact with doctors and apprise them about the new products. Will your platform disrupt this traditional way of marketing?
This is complementary is nature. Sales force is going nowhere. This will only be supplementing the additional input. Like in consumer side, everything exists and digital route has supplemented the marketing initiatives and the budget has moved to digital. Earlier, less than five per cent of the budget was spent on digital, now more than 50 per cent is spent on digital marketing. From our perspective, we show the message on the digital platform and the doctor consumes that information. After this step, he decides to prescribe based on the available information.
Traditionally, pharmaceutical companies give various incentives to doctors. Will the advent of digital marketing reduce such incentivisation?
Such incentives are on a decline. With changing marketing mix, this is likely to reduce further.
The current pandemic has given rise to mass migration of people to Tele-health platforms. Do you think such trend will support the growth of your digital platform?
Definitely, Tele-health platforms have seen mass adoption by people during the current pandemic period. People have realized the efficiency of these channels and are getting used to it. This applies both to doctors and patients. This simplifies the whole process. Though this phenomenon is at the peak during the pandemic, it may come down a bit. But telemedicine is something which is here to stay. Like telemedicine, physicians are a lot more open now to use these channels. It definitely adds to our business.
Will your platform solve the issue seen in the medical devices segment? Has your platform tracked the number of doctors in India?
Through technology, we try to identify unique physicians who visit any platform. To date, we have tracked 1.5 lakh physicians in India. Our estimate is that there are around 4 lakh physicians in India. When I say pharma, it means pharma and medical devices, so the model works in the same way.
What is the kind of cost reduction a pharma company can get by using your digital platform?
It's early days as we started operating from March 2020. But the hypothesis is, the marketing expenditure will reduce from the current number of 25 per cent to around 18 per cent. In a market like the US, where $125 billion is spent every year, this 7 per cent is a huge number. In India, we are the market leader with most big brands. In the US also, we are growing at a faster pace. We have already started preparing for our launch in the European market.
Are you adequately funded now? Are you planning to raise money in the near future?
We had a seed round in which we had almost raised around $2 million. Now, we are preparing for a series A round, which we expect to close by end of this year. We have not decided how much we will raise in this round, but it will be a large round. As we are first in the category across the world, we are very aggressive on expanding our operations across the world. The response has been good. Because healthcare and digital are the two segments which are doing well and we are at the intersection of both. As far as breakeven is concerned, our Indian operation has already attained breakeven point. Our US business is likely to be breakeven by August this year.