Education for most of us ends with our college or university degree when we stop studying and start focusing on our work. But for an area like medical science, which is ever-evolving with new dilemmas and remedies being discovered daily, education never ends.
It merely shifts its one-dimension stream to an open dimension, where regular interaction with other students, scholars and doctors advance the process of continuous learning and discovering.
It was this idea that struck Hitesh Ganjoo that made him come up with Buzz4Health. “A medical practitioner needs to stay updated with the latest information on new drugs, research, approaches and emerging evidence-based treatment protocols. We wanted to disrupt this continuous medical education space by giving a continuous and secure access to real-world medical cases, where medical science students collaborate with similarly verified healthcare professionals.”
Founded by Hitesh Ganjoo and Tushar Gupta, New Delhi-based Buzz4Health was launched in March 2015. It was during their stint at Stryker, a Fortune 500 Medical Technologies firm, where they got a chance to have a close look at the healthcare ecosystem from a training and education perspective.
“We realised that not all medical professionals have access to the right tools at the right time. There is a great lack of infrastructural facilities, high operational costs and negligible use of technology in the healthcare domain in India,” said Ganjoo.
It was to bridge this gap in the country’s medical information realm with the help of technology that the duo to came up with Buzz4Health.
The tier 1 cities have a host of premier institutes, hospitals and strategic places, where research works go on a daily basis, which is essentially lacking in tier-2 and 3 cities, says Ganjoo.
“Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities lack the exposure and the infrastructural setting the tier 1 city. Infrastructure can often be a hindrance to high-quality medical care. This often affects patient outcomes. Technology, on the other hand, can play a big role in tier-2 and tier-3 cities by bridging the gap and connecting stakeholders remotely, and at a big scale.”
Buzz4Health, however, has seen some success in reaching the rural areas of the country. “We have been able to penetrate and reach the farthest corners of the country. Some of our most active users are also from rural or tier 3 cities. Our app being mobile friendly and available on android and iPhone has further helped our cause.”
Buzz4Health is having a large base of over 1, 00, 000 registered doctors. It sometimes becomes difficult task for doctors to get recognised from the crowd and get proper credit for their contributions. The platform has created a suitable currency system to cater to the problem.
“We have a simple yet effective system where a doctor earns a virtual/social currency called Credit Points every time a fellow verified doctor endorses his view or medical opinion. This builds a doctor’s reputation on the platform and leads to more meaningful collaboration amongst the medicos.”
The platform has verified doctors from over 10 countries, who are mostly from the emerging markets of South East Asia and the Middle East. It gives access to real-world medicine and helps physicians to share and gain knowledge from multiple specialists with relevant work experience.
“Any doctor can register and become a user on our mobile or web app for free. We do however follow a protocol by marking him/her as a verified doctor on the platform. This is a key requirement for building a credible platform. Verified Doctors enjoy a full-access to the features on the platform, e.g. endorsing another doctor’s medical opinion etc.”
For a student of medical science, Buzz4Health is a hotbed for worldwide knowledge in that sphere. There are 4, 000+ cases on their platform, which helps the users to refer to any case of their specialisation and use it for the future.
The curated home feed is where the doctors find relevant medical cases related to their specialisation. It also gives the user a direct access to the solved medical cases (cases marked solved by the author) as well as trending medical cases (image and video based content).
The app lets the user discover solved medical cases in the form of “Best Answer Marked by Author” on case discussion. Doctors and medical experts even share medical cases and get expert opinions from peers across the world. This feature is particularly very useful for doctors from remote town/cities to reach out to the medical community in tier1 cities and get timely help on critical medical cases.
“This is still an early phase for the doctor exclusive mobile platform businesses. Smartphones have opened a lot of avenues for disrupting the Continuous Medical Education space but this is still a blue ocean industry where the market size of the industry could well run into billions in India alone,” says Ganjoo.
The monetization and traction model of Buzz4Health includes marketing intelligence gathering and helping medical companies with their digital marketing. Apart from that, they are also in an early stage revenue where they are selling premium medical content through short online courses with test assessment.
“These courses are created by a select panel of expert medical professionals who are also renowned teachers or key opinion leaders. These short courses are also accredited by the state medical councils (typical known as CME Credit Hours). So in a way, it’s digitising the offline model of training and education through physical conferences and workshops and creating an online marketplace.”
Buzz4Health had raised an angel funding of 300,000 USD back in 2014. The app has seen 1.5 lakh downloads since its inception.
“The app has been well received and the learning quotient through peer collaboration combined with gamification through credit points has quite been a differentiator. Going forward we want to scale the same model in Africa and Europe before becoming a truly global brand in the next 3-5 years.
There are other players in this Continuous Medical Education space that include PlexusMD, Docplexus, Daily Rounds and Curofy.