Stress, tension, erratic lifestyle and many such factors are leading us towards the mountain of sickness and valley of medicines. Over the years, lifespan has been abating and death rate has been shooting up. Many a times we ourselves are to blame for the lax we show when it comes to health issues. The majority says it’s the loss of faith in doctors that deters them from taking an opinion. But it wouldn’t harm one to opt for a second, third or fourth opinion. Like the popular proverb says, “Prevention is better than cure”.
XpertNation is a digital platform that enables you to get a second opinion from highly credible medical expert in a timely fashion. You are empowered with all the information you need about your medical situation so you can make much more informed decisions.
Vasantha Gullapalli, Co-Founder, XpertNation was glad to share a few words with us about this unique startup.
Tell us a bit about your background and the path that ultimately led you towards XpertNation.
I am an Engineer by education. I did my BTech from NIT-Warangal, followed by an M.S in Computer Engineering from Rutgers University. After that I have worked in USA for 16 years and subsequently returned back to India in late 2010. My last job was as a Director managing the online media and commerce team for WSJ.com. When I look back, the birth of XpertNation seems to be clearly preordained.
My family is full of doctors covering almost every specialty that is out there. As luck would have it, mine was also a family full of health complications. While one rued this fact, somewhere there was also this deep gratitude that we were fortunate enough to have access to experts. There were so many instances, where course corrections were made in a treatment, based on a second opinion that was available from one of the doctors in the family. This, however, always left me wondering how other people cope with chronic and complicated medical situations in a country like India, where the ratio of doctors to the population is an abysmal 1:1953 as against the WHO’s recommended norm of 1:1000.
Not to mention the patient to specialists & super specialists ratio. India faces severe shortage of specialists both for its rural and urban services. The importance of taking a second opinion and thereby making informed decisions cannot be undermined and several of the health decisions I was involved in can stand testimony to it. While at times we were seeking a second opinion looking for a better treatment path, there were times when we learnt the hard way that there is only so much any doctor could do and dealt with handling palliative and end of life care decisions for loved ones. This was not at all an easy path especially in India, where due to several cultural norms and other factors, the doctors don’t often discuss such issues and tend to leave it to the elders in the family to somehow read the signs and prepare for the inevitable. So, being able to get a reliable second opinion to help us guide during such times I think helped us make the journey a little less painful for everyone involved.
Thus was born XpertNation. A number of evangelist advisors shared this vision and helped us put together a panel of experts who are not only experienced enough to provide reliable and actionable second-opinions but, also share the same set of ethics and core values that we stand by.
How does it work?
With XpertNation we offer two major benefits- access to a large specialist panel and the convenience of reaching them in a timely fashion. Additionally we also provide a safe and convenient way to store all your medical records so they can be shared and accessed from anywhere, anytime.
With our small effort, we seek to empower life decisions. It is the least that all of us deserve.
On XpertNation, we offer 3 services:
Answers to your quick questions – when you need them.
Response Time: 24 – 36hours
Consult with a top physician about your case and get a written recommendation – from the comfort of your own home.
Price: Rs 1200
2-3 business days from the time we receive your complete information.
Consult with one of the top world-class physicians on our panel –in-person..
Response Time : TBD
For more details, check http://xpertnation.com/steps
How does it differentiate from other such platforms?
Basically there are not many platforms of this nature right now in India. There are many that let you ask a doctor a question to get a quick answer or guidance. Two things differentiate us: The calibre of the doctors on our panel who are hand-picked and the nature and complexity of the medical situations that we can handle. You can see the patient information forms we have specific to each specialty to understand how thorough we are.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Educating people the value of seeking a second opinion and value of using our service for it from the comfort of their homes.
What is the hardest part about your job?
Sales and Marketing since this is not a service that people think of daily. So, the challenge is to be there when the people have health and medical issues on their mind. The second challenge is to communicate the credibility and expertise of our panel so they have the confidence to believe that the recommendation they got from our platform is actionable.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
Assuming all busy practitioners and ‘famous’ doctors would fit into our panel was a mistake I made initially and thankfully realized quickly and did a course correction. Once my advisors and I crafted the USP and core values of the product that we should use to even select the panel, things started falling in place.
Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
I don’t think there is competition in the direct platform standpoint but, in a real sense every doctor or hospital that our users decide to trust more than us becomes our competitor. We believe we have a very valuable service available at a very affordable price and convenient way. Our competition or rather challenge is to make the users understand this and trust us.
Has XpertNation got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
All our customers so far are extremely satisfied making me very confident in the service itself. Some of the testimonials are up on the site. However, we haven’t garnered the desired growth yet. We have not yet invested a penny on Marketing and are looking for ways to partner with likeminded individuals/firms that are as passionate as we are in this field to come up with some innovative marketing campaigns.
Do you have any new features in the pipeline? What more do you wish to include to take it to the next level?
We are looking at launching the Xpertpremium service once we have a critical mass of customers asking for it. Also, we are looking at opening Xpertnation centers/kiosks in various locations that users can come to use our service.
Who inspires you?
My father is my biggest inspiration when it comes to believing in the vision and working towards it without losing confidence however hard the circumstances turn out to be. Similarly, my uncle and advisor on XperNation, Gullapalli N Rao is also an inspiration. When he started LVPEI with a vision, he had encountered numerous obstacles from various quarters. The way he surpassed each one to reach where he is today is a truly inspirational.
What one piece of advice would you give to soon to be startup founders?
One is not a team: Make sure you are at least 2 partners before you venture out hiring others. If it is just you with an idea, do it yourself until you have a partner who can share the burden with complementary skills. Don’t start hiring when you are alone. Team, team and team: Product ideas may come and go, but if you have the right team at the top and bottom and enough drive, you will make it.
Being a part of a nation that is brimming with experts in the medical field, one must try making the best use possible. With XpertNation bringing those very experts at the comfort of your home should be the driving point for you to giddy up and act on the issue rather than nagging at the back of your head.