DRiefcase – Interview with the developer of a fantastic app
Did you have any prior development or coding experience?
Technically, yes. Sohit has a brief experience of working with Patni Computers Services as a software engineer. Having said that, before starting Driefcase, both Sohit and Harsh worked for over a decade as investment bankers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
What was the most challenging aspect of developing mobile app?
The biggest issue with digitizing personal medical records is INERTIA. While the average person is now used to taking selfies and photos to record personal events, that behavior is not really prevalent in the case of medical records. Our biggest challenge while designing the user journey at DRiefcase was to target this inertia. Today, we have the most user-centric health locker that has proven repeat usage where our users have undergone a behavioral change towards managing their family’s health records.
DRiefcase is a complete health-tech solutions platform for both patients & medical practitioners with two interconnected, complementary apps on a common platform. DRiefcase was started by Harsh Parikh and Sohit Kapoor in mid-2016. This was after highly successful careers as investment bankers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Name a few of your favorite apps and reason you love them.
An app we look up to (and hope to emulate someday) is Google Pay. On their website, you will see the sentence “Money made simple by Google”. And the app actually delivers on this promise. This is a line that inspires us and that is exactly how we want DRiefcase to be. Today, as the country is at the cusp of a major digital revolution in healthcare thanks to the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (or the ABDM), we are DRiefcase will be at the forefront of it. For every Indian, we plan to make it simple and easy to participate in the ABDM just the way Google did it for UPI.
How long have you been working on this app?
It has been almost 6 years now. We started DRiefcase in June-2016, and in January-2017 we launched India’s first user-centric health locker app to enable users to maintain their and their family’s medical records online and access them anytime in a matter of seconds.
We worked extensively towards improving the user journey, and our insights into the user behavior regarding digital health lockers led us to contribute significantly to the ABDM framework. In May-2020, we started working with the NHA and iSpirt to help out on the health locker module of the ABDM which continued into work on the consent management module (better known as the Personal Health Records or PHR module) and subsequently, the ongoing pilot of the UHI framework of ABDM as a (or PHR) partner.
DRiefcase is now India’s first ABDM integrated PHR app and health locker. DRiefcase offers a complete patient-side experience of ABDM, i.e. linking health records into ABDM, managing consent to the movements of health records, and creation of health IDs, officially known as Ayushman Bharat Health Account or ABHA number.
What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?
Over a lifetime, an average patient generates a significant quantum of health records but the information stored therein is often difficult to access for patients and caregivers in need. The problem statement is simple – patients and doctors take care of health, not health records. This leads to a serious information gap, not only between the doctor and the patient, but also between other stakeholders such as insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the Government. Driefcase aims to bridge the information divide in healthcare, and going forward we see the ABDM emerging as a game-changer in this regard as it will cause the highly fragmented healthcare services sector to go digital.
In what way do you think your app is better than similar apps on the market? Please describe in detail what innovation you think you bring and what you are proud of in your app.
What sets DRiefcase apart is our focus on the use of digital medical records and the convenience we give our users in that. Today, DRiefcase stands out as the best user journey that has allowed us to witness repeat uploads from our users. Few dispute the need for the digitization of medical records. However, as mentioned earlier, the real problem statement is inertia. We have built systems that target this inertia and enable patients to keep their accounts updated with minimal intervention. We were the first health locker in the country to enable uploading records via email. Each DRiefcase user gets a unique personal mailbox, wherein anything emailed to that gets uploaded to their account automatically. We are the only service in the country that provides physical scanning services in which we have teams that can scan all users’ records, including radiology reports like X-rays and MRIs, through our Scan At Home / Pick Up & Drop services.
Furthermore, when it comes to health documents, the problem is not that of storage but that of retrieval. People so often end up spending hours finding a particular document, and sometimes the documents go missing especially when they are needed the most. Every health record in DRiefcase is automatically tagged and indexed so that any record can be located in a matter of seconds.
Finally, DRiefcase is India’s first and only such ABDM integrated PHR platform that enables complete patient-side functionalities of ABDM such as the creation of an ABHA address (unique health ID for all citizens), consent to the movement of health records among different healthcare stakeholders, and linking of existing health records into ABDM.
What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?
Our immediate goal is to roll out a branding campaign with the aim of establishing DRiefcase as a trusted gateway to ABDM. We also plan to introduce the app in various regional languages to make it more inclusive of society and increase participation in ABDM.
In the longer term, our aim is to evolve from a health locker to a health companion.
An important underlying trend in various health-tech ventures is that of the declining availability/access of the family doctor. For an increasingly large number of families, a family doctor is no longer the first call that is made in the event of a medical situation.
While this has its benefits, a shortcoming here is that there is no one involved (other than the patient) who has a holistic view of the patient’s medical history, unlike a family doctor. Given the data contained in PHRs about the user, we will be able to bridge this gap to the best extent possible, collate medical intelligence from the data and provide relevant services like a “family doctor” does for the family.
Assuming new users of your app are reading this page. What do you want to ask them to do (contact you about X, Share the app, etc.)?
Download the DRiefcase app, create your ABHA address using it, and then start uploading your medical documents on the app to get in control of your health records and to become a part of a healthcare revolution in India.