Medico.com, a US-based global health related information portal, launched its India edition few months back christened Medico.in. Created with an aim to provide a source for health information about various diseases like TB, cancer, diabetes, etc, to Indian consumers, the seven-month portal offers health reference information, community features, and a powerful question-and-answer that enable patient-to-patient interaction apart from creating mental support group in a week's time.
"We feel a patient must always be educated enough about his health condition, to take care of himself. "They should always be able to understand treatment plans and precaution from other fellow patients to take care of his health a bit cautiously,"said its founder and chief executive officer Elan Dekel in an exclusive conversation with Techcircle.in. Dekel started Medico.com in September 2010 after quitting his job as product head for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Google.
He added, "We will also keep the India specific home remedies in mind like Ayurveda to reach out to the larger audience."
Backed by VC firms like First Round Capital, FirstMark Capital, Greylock, Nexus Venture Partners and prominent angel investors, Medico.com plans another round of fund raising in February from the existing investors.
Moreover, in the second half of this year, the company seeks to go for another bigger fund-raising round, which will help it in expanding operations in India and other markets.
The portal which has a presence in the USA, Spain and Brazil has been attracted by the high potential that the Indian market has on offer. As of now it has three editions including the first one in Spanish targeting users in Spain, Latin America and the US Hispanic market, the second one in Portugese for Brazil and the third edition is now targeting Indian audience.
Medico.in comes free for users. One doesn't even need to register themselves, for viewing answers, but registration is required for posting questions.
Medico.in is scouting for partners in India for monetization through sponsored contents for the sites, apart from the regular display ads.
According to Dekel, "More than one third Indians (39 per cent) go online for health information. The high cost of face-to-face consultations with medical professionals may be one reason why the internet is being seen as a cheaper alternative."
He added, "More young people (in the 18-34 age bracket) have used social media to find out about health."
Medico has appointed a senior medical executive, Purvish Parikh, a Mumbai-based senior oncologist to head a team of doctors for answering queries . Currently, the president at Indian Society of Medical & Pediatric Oncology, managing director at AmeriCares India Foundation and vice president and MD, India at AmeriCares, Parikh also helps Medico have more doctors, clinical practitioners in the team.
"Apart from the engineering team which will be operational from the USA, all moderators, doctors and medical practitioners will be based in India," Dekel said.
The portal is taking extra caution regarding content posting. "If anybody promotes any sort of treatments or drugs, that post is removed within 24 hours of its posting by our moderators. One can talk in general terms, but medical diagnosis is a strictly no-no," said Dekel.
The immediate plan is to get people familiar with the site, get traffic and start working on distribution partnerships apart from promoting the site through various social media platforms like Facebook.
This comes as a nice initiative with a professional backing. Afterall, healthcare related information is sensitive and it would work best if a portal manages to moderate the reply to queries with an expert opinion. Having said that the concept is not unique and there are several sites both in India and global ones that have healthcare related information. We wrote about another such firm MediAngels (more that here)