Practo, a prominent healthcare startup that deals mainly with arranging appointments between doctors and patients, is expanding its services in a new direction. The company is now moving to engage into tie-ups with fin-tech startups in order to let its users — Doctors and Patients alike — seek financial assistance for their needs.
Speaking with ET, Shashank ND, Founder and CEO of Practo, said,
We are helping both doctors and consumers with the ability to finance their purchases better. Some fintech players are integrating with us for this.
Fintech players here refers mainly to startups that hold an NBFC (nonbanking finance company) license. However, companies who work with other NBFCs may also be included.
In case you are unaware of it, a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is an entity registered under the Companies Act and authorized to engage in the business of loans and advances, deposits, stock acquisition, leasing, hire-purchase, insurance business and so on.
By partnering up with NBFCs, Practo hopes to help doctors with the expansion of their practices, and patients with expenses incurred during the course of their treatment. While loans and medical insurances are already available for both these issues, Practo hopes to provide a better alternative.
For patients, a lot of times, insurance does not apply. We wanted to help consumers and guide them not in just the direction of the medical centre but also financially. Doctors also have purchases and need the ability to finance their expansion, especially the small and medium-sized businesses.
Healthcare is a pretty large vertical. While it used to be all offline, startups like Practo have brought it to the web in a big way. Thanks to these changes, a lot of data about both doctors and patients is also available. This data can also be deployed to calculate credit scores and issue loans with a minimum of risk. Which is exactly what Practo is attempting to do with its partnership with NBFCs.
While the company refrained from announcing the names of any partners, it did speak of launching the new dimension to its services within a few weeks.