I grew up in a house where both of my parents worked in hospitals, and even though watching a television show about work might be the least attractive thing ever, we watched medical dramas together as far back as I can remember. ER premiered two years after I was born. When that faded, there was Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, and a slew of other shows.
Being a doctor is a universal status symbol, indicative of tons of study. But as I watched these shows growing up (and saw from my own parents), part of what makes the job so hard is that the learning never stops. A medical degree is only as good as you are at continued learning – picking up on the tech and case studies made every day. Arguably, none of us can progress if we completely stop learning, but being a physician puts you in a special kind of community.
Dr. Deepu Sebin understands this. After his residency, he fell into working with developers on a not-for-profit product and noticed how easily they found knowledge. “If they have a problem, they would do a Google search and get the answer, easy,” he recalls.
A medical degree is only as good as you are at continued learning.
It was not as easy for him to share his medical cases and content, though. He asked his newfound connections to help create a mobile app for case storage, then thought that a network for sharing medical cases and studies among doctors was something physicians needed worldwide. Together with Nimmi Cherian and Priyank Choubey, he founded DailyRounds, a Bangalore-based network for doctors.
The #startup’s app, available for use by doctors and medical students who sign up and go through a verification process, can be downloaded for free for Android or iOS. It landed its seed funding in 2015 and today announced an undisclosed amount of funding led by Accel Partners. Beenext, Powerhouse Ventures, and Japan-based Akusa Holdings also participated.
Is there a doctor in the house?
Since its app launched in the middle of 2014, DailyRounds has pivoted from a “Github for doctors” model to more of a clinical tool. “If you’re a doctor in India and you want to know how to treat a snake bite or tuberculosis, treatments are different across the world,” explains Deepu. DailyRounds nows has drug databases, as well as management and treatment protocols. Therefore, instead of doctors just spreading what they know, they can look to these “point of care” references as a start.
If you’re a doctor in India and you want to know how to treat a snake bite, treatments are different across the world.
DailyRounds has 250,000 doctors on the network, up from 45,000 last year. Around 500 to 600 doctors join the platform every day, says Deepu, up from an average of 300 in 2015. Its user base is primarily comprised of doctors from India, Southeast Asia (Indonesia in particular), Africa, and the Middle East.
Deepu outlines the next step for DailyRounds – expanding resources within different healthcare specialties. It’ll also expand geographically.
DailyRounds competes with US healthcare professional network Doximity; Sermo, which began as a doctor network in the US and has since expanded to include global physicians; and Figure 1, an app-based medical case posting network.
On call might not be enough
Nine of DailyRounds’ staff of 31 are doctors, including Deepu. He reveals doctors invest so much time and money into getting their degrees that getting them to leave their hospitals or clinical practices to cross over into tech is complicated. Keeping the doctors on the team is the hardest part of the job, but having physician involvement in healthtech is vital to the area’s progress.
“If you’re building a product for doctors, like appointment booking, maybe a doctor who can consult you once in a while is good enough,” he tells Tech in Asia. But suppose you’re building an EHR (electronic health record). “A very superficial relationship should not be enough. You need real doctors working with the team on a daily basis.”