The concept of medical tourism in India is still quite new. Over the last few years, the medical tourism industry of the country has seen a phenomenal growth. According to the estimates from different research organizations, the sector is worth close to USD 5 billion and is scheduled to cross USD 10 billion in the next 5 years. Pune-based entrepreneurs Anurav Rane and Dr. Rajeev Rane were early to assess the demand for healthcare tourism services that may arise in the future. With a vision to organize this industry, they started PlanMyMedicalTrip in 2012. The idea of the venture, however, was laid down way back in the year 2004!
PlanMyMedicalTrip (PMMT) aims at making medical treatment services hassle free and affordable. As the founder and CEO of PlanMyMedicalTrip, Anurav Rane is actively involved in PMMT’s policy, operations and strategy-based decisions. He sets organizational goals, builds alliances with organizations, designs the portal’s expansion plan and leads by example.
Dr. Rajeev Rane, on the other hand, holds the COO portfolio of the medical tourism venture. Before co-founding PlanMyMedicalTrip, he served as a consultant physician at Snehanjali Hospital for 33 years. Rajeev uses his extensive experience in the field of medical science to review the medical reports of patients enrolled with PMMT and offer unbiased feedbacks. He certifies hospitals after carefully accessing their infrastructure and qualifications. Based on his analysis, he takes a call on which hospitals and doctors to bring under PMMT’s professional network. He also arranges doctors based on special customer requests.
Today, we would get to know more about medical tourism and PlanMyMedicalTrip as the founders join us in this interview session to tell their story!
When did you decide to start working in the field of medical tourism? What were the problems that invoked you to build a solution around them?
The idea was born in 2004 when foreigners used to come to our own hospital for medical treatment. At that time, we decided to take medical treatment online.
Initially, the problem we faced was internet penetration in India. 3G and 4G networks were not available at that time. People were also not using different online websites for transactions.
Please tell us about PlanMyMedicalTrip.com.
Launched in 2012, PlanMyMedicalTrip.com (PMMT) is a Pune-based solutions provider for anyone looking for affordable medical services and necessary infrastructure at hospitals that best address a patient’s concern. PMMT is a unique platform that leverages its 2000+ tie-ups with reputed hospitals and doctors in India and Turkey to provide the best service to international patients. The portal, with its patient-friendly approach, is driven by the commitment of providing end-to-end medical assistance to everyone in need. Unlike its competitors, it also allows users to compare the treatment costs across different city hospitals so they can make a prudent choice. The service is presently available to WWW, iOS and Android users.
PlanMyMedicalTrip (PMMT) not only guarantees medical services at an affordable price, it also handholds the patient and the caregiver through the tedious process of shifting to a new city for treatment. To this effect, it proactively helps them with arrangements like procuring medical visas, hotel bookings, transfers and air ambulance. PMMT’s many medical packages also cover an extensive list of treatments such as dental procedures, cosmetic and dermatological surgeries, organ transplants, cancer treatments, knee replacement, IVF, bypass surgery, weight loss, anti-ageing and a host of others.
The platform has successfully treated over 3,000 patients since its launch in 2007 under the brand name of Best Medical Centers. Its catalysts, who refer patients to PMMT, are spread across US, UK, Africa and the Middle East to name a few.
Bringing an idea into reality is often a challenging task. How were the initial few days of PlanMyMedicalTrip.com?
We had a very tough time for the first 5 years. We didn’t get a single patient during that time. Although we used to get patients for our own hospital but actual Medical Tourism started after 2012.
Please share the investment details.
Till date, we have raised INR 1.25 crore as seed funding.
In what ways are your services different from similar players operating in this segment?
Right now, our competitors are very few. Apart from these, independent hospitals are promoting medical tourism abroad. Our competitors don’t have a base that is as huge as ours in terms of deals and in terms of quantity of services. As far as hospitals are concerned, the entire aspect of tourism is outsourced, auxiliary services are mostly not provided. Cost-conscious buyers are intelligent buyers; they’d choose a platform that is offering more in less.
How has been the growth for PlanMyMedicalTrip since inception?
The growth of PlanMyMedicalTrip is phenomenal. We have more than 4500 hospitals and doctors registered with us. We have treated more than 3500 patients as of now. All leading brands are working with us across the globe. We are one of the best platforms for doctors and patients to interact and to promote Medical Tourism.
What are the present challenges? How are you trying to overcome them?
Government laws and Tax system is the biggest problem we are facing these days. As medical tourism market is unstructured as of now, it is difficult to predict future laws and taxes.
What are the future plans for PlanMyMedicalTrip?
The venture is run by a robust team of experts from the field of travel, medicine and technology. The business model attracts patients both online and offline. The cases are either referred to the site by catalysts who are spread all over the world, or the patient directly purchases a deal from the website. These patients are then treated at partner hospitals or a specific one if the request comes from a customer. For its services, PMMT charges a certain fee from the hospital and the patient gets the treatment at a cost that’s lesser than what he/she would pay without their intervention. An online customer can even book an appointment with the doctor or ask PMMT to do the needful. In addition, the platform extends the facility to its customers to entrust them with their travel bookings.
PlanMyMedicalTrip aims to establish tie-ups with all hospitals across India along with making inroads into other potential medical tourism destinations such as Brazil, Thailand, Egypt, Germany and Dubai. Its target is to capture 15% of the thriving medical tourism market that’s expected to reach $8 billion by 2020. It also wishes to facilitate patients’ stay in exotic destinations to aid their recovery process and take the sting away from long treatments.
Anything else you want to share…
Patients that come to India are divided broadly into three categories: those who come from under-developed nations; those who come from developed nations and are not insured or are suffering from waiting periods; and those who are Indians, but are living abroad (NRIs). We can cater to all needs that these patients might need. These include tickets, free medical consultation, accommodation in India, a translator, nurse, transport, forex, etc. Basically, every single thing that a patient might need, even the type of hospitals and doctors she/he needs will be provided.
And one last question of this session, if you have had one wish…
If we had one wish, we would like to get free medical treatment for everyone. Like they have NHS in the UK, we would like to have free medical services in India. There are lots of patients who cannot afford medical services and might have to lose their life. We would like to stop that. Free medical treatment should be the right of each citizen.
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