With just 840,000 registered physicians in India, there is only one doctor for roughly every 1,400 citizens. When Lybrate cofounder and CEO Saurabh Arora saw that people were either self-treating or leaning on more unqualified local pharmacists to diagnose and treat what ailed them, he resolved to solve the accessibility problem. Having previously worked as a data scientist at Facebook, he knew the how powerful technology could be when it came to connecting people--in this case, patients and doctors--and so, Lybrate was born.
The website and app, which the company says have been downloaded more than 3 million times since its January 2015 launch, tackle what Arora sees as major problems with health care in India. First, it connects people with 90,000+ closely-vetted, high-quality doctors for expert opinions, either via one-on-one virtual consultations, or anonymously through open threads that tackle common problems and a customizable Facebook-like Health Feed that focuses on health tips posted by participating doctors. Second, it helps patients skirt the stigma that surrounds some health topics like sex, gynecological issues, and psychological impairments. It also gives users--particularly those in rural areas--a viable way to avoid the risks of self-medication in favor of expert advice. The app is free to use, but those who request consultations pay the doctor's fee plus anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of the cost to the New Delhi-based company for making the connection. In 2016, the company launched a bot on Facebook Messenger that allows patients to more conveniently connect with the platform's more than 100,000 doctors, find vetted medical content, and interact with a health quiz.