GlobalSpa gets in conversation with Sohit Kapoor and Harsh Parikh, Founders, DRiefcase, India’s first and only health platform in India that helps digitise a family’s medical history from the convenience of one’s home.
With an aim to aid users maintain healthcare records more efficiently and in a consolidated manner, investment bankers and IIM-B alumni Sohit Kapoor and Harsh Parikh have introduced a single-point, easy-to-use access to one’s medical data through a mobile app “DRiefcase” that digitises personal health records and provides patients with their own medical locker.
With 130 crore Aadhaar numbers, 118 crore mobile subscribers, about 80 crore internet users, and about 43 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts, this digital medical recording system can be seen growing immensely in the coming years – thanks to its simple and organized framework. DRiefcase also offers a Scan at Home/Pick Up & Drop services to digitise all types of past medical records.
In conversation with the brainchildren of this concept, Globalspa explores the beginning, future, and now of DRiefcase.
1. What inspired you to create an online platform and Scan-at-Home service for maintaining medical records?
Harsh: People take care of their health but not health records, and this behaviour leads to a serious information gap between patients and doctors, particularly during an emergency. For instance, in 2013, I found myself in a nervous situation when my uncle, who was visiting me from the US, began to feel breathless and was rushed to the hospital. When the doctor asked me about his medical history, I struggled to arrange the critical information as his health records were back in the US, and the fact that records were paper-based and disorganised further added to the delay. This realisation became our problem statement, and so in 2016 Sohit and I launched DRiefcase as a smart digital health locker to help people get in control of their health by managing their health records digitally.
DRiefcase is a simple to use application that enables users to digitise, secure, access, and share their and all of their family member’s medical records anytime and from anywhere, all within seconds. It also ensures ease of upload as a user just has to capture a photo of the paper record and upload it.
A few dispute the need for digitization of medical records, but most people display inertia in doing so. While the average person is now used to taking selfies to record personal events, the same behaviour is not prevalent in case of medical records. Keeping this inertia in mind, DRiefcase offers a Scan at Home service wherein a team is sent to the user’s location to digitise all types of past medical records, including X-rays and MRIs reports. DRiefcase also gives each user a unique personal mailbox, wherein anything emailed to it gets uploaded to the user’s account automatically.
2. What are the advantages of digitising a family’s medical history?
The problem with health records is not that of storage but that of quick access and retrieval, so digitising health records saves time in finding and avoids risk of losing them. Furthermore, maintaining a family’s health records digitally will let healthcare providers access a patient’s latest health data as well as his/her medical history and thus allow doctors to provide more efficient, higher quality, and more personalized care and coordination, especially when more than one specialist is involved and when it is important that each specialist has a complete picture of the patient’s care. Similarly, patients can gain insight into how their health is evolving over time by looking at their own health data and thus allow them to amend their lifestyle more easily.
3. DRiefcase is a patient-centric platform, but can it also prove valuable for doctors?
DRiefcase makes access to medical history quick and easy. This has many benefits for the doctors that go a long way in increasing their productivity. For example, quick access to the records significantly improves doctor’s speed of diagnosis, especially in cases of emergencies. It also allows for improved remote monitoring of patient’s health and continuity of care. Furthermore, the presence of a patient’s complete medical history, that too in a structured format, helps healthcare professionals across disciplines for prescribing more appropriate and effective health interventions. Similarly, it lets doctors and hospitals gain insights for strategic planning and operational improvements and to utilise healthcare resources more efficiently.
4. How can services like DRiefcase help during healthcare emergencies like the pandemic?
The outbreak of the COVID pandemic left healthcare providers struggling with how to provide patients essential healthcare services with minimal or no contact. Moreover, a doctor’s access to a family to get a complete patient’s history became a challenge when patients were not in a position to give it themselves. Also, the patient-side struggled to find specialist healthcare, especially in lower cities, and were often in the dark without frequent updates on patient’s care in the absence of physical interactions with caretakers. In such emergencies, an app such as DRiefcase allows quick and complete movement of health information between not only patients and doctors but also amongst various healthcare stakeholders.
5. What has been the impact of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) in India, and how does DRiefcase aim to advance the mission?
ABDM enables the movement of health data from one entity to another irrespective of whether the two are connected to each other, just as UPI allows transfer of money between entities irrespective of their banks. So for instance, if someone gets a health check-up done at a lab and wants to share the reports with a hospital or insurance company then the same can be done with a click. As in UPI, in ABDM data privacy is built in its basic design, so no sharing of health information happens without the user’s consent. This seamless sharing of health data across the healthcare ecosystem has benefits for all the stakeholders, but the biggest beneficiary are the people. Soon, the bulky files that people carry around to doctors and hospitals will be a thing of the past. There will be no more losing records and need for re-tests. Furthermore, better health history will allow doctors to provide quicker and better diagnosis. Also, purchasing insurance and processing claims will be faster and cheaper. Overall, all these benefits should lead to better care, lesser stress, and lower costs.
DRiefcase is the pioneer in the digital health locker space in India and is India’s first health locker approved by ABDM. DRiefcase has been helping users manage their medical records for more than 6 years and, given its experience and expertise, has actively contributed to the development of the patient-side framework of the ABDM. As of today, DRiefcase is India′s first and only fully ABDM integrated PHR (Personal Health Records) application that provides complete patient-side functionalities of ABDM. So now using DRiefcase people can create their ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account, a unique health account, like UPI ID) address, give consent to movement of health records among different healthcare stakeholders, and link existing health records into ABDM.