Pooja Gupta | PurpleDocs
Ms. Pooja Gupta’s venture PurpleDocs effectively freed the healthcare industry from the clunky clutches of paper by digitizing data, unlocking new doors of possibilities and impacting outcomes like few ideas in recent memory.
The genius of Ahmedabad bred PurpleDocs lies in successfully disrupting a timeless practice and leading healthcare’s transition from paper to digital. Today, Ms. Pooja Gupta (Founder & CTO of PurpleDocs) leads the revolution from the front, empowering stakeholders across the Healthcare terrain access patient data in easily retrievable and analyzable forms – thereby making informed clinical decisions.
THE TURNING POINT
After completing her education from Delhi and finishing her B.Tech in Computer Sciences in 2002, Pooja Gupta followed the trend of her time by working for MNCs and Startups across India and USA. The turning point finally arrived when she (and fellow co-founder, Deepak) decided to relocate back to India to be near Deepak’s ailing mother who was being treated for cancer. The ‘homecoming’ proved destiny altering. It was during this time that they realized that there is little or no technology being used for preserving patient treatment history by any hospital. In case of emergency surgeries, doctors had practically no clue about their patients’ health history. Crucial time was lost in profiling the patient, resulting in delayed treatment which sometimes becomes fatal.
Even the hospital that was treating Deepak’s mother for the last three years did not have her digital data. During the surgeries, Pooja and Deepak had to sit outside the OT with 3 bags full of records and CDs. When they took her for second opinions, a dedicated person was required just to carry a bag of records, which made seeking multiple opinions a real challenge.
This was 2008, the pre-whatsapp era, a time when doctors did not know the importance of preserving patient records and were considerably less tech savvy than they are today.
There was a lack of compliance enforcement and everyone saw patient data management as a cost rather than an investment that could help them revolutionize care and increase their patient retention.
SPOTTING THE GAP
This startling revelation prompted Pooja and Deepak to investigate deeper into why Hospitals use the HIMS systems only for registration and billing, and not as a complete Information Management System. They spoke with Providers and realized that technology was perceived more as a barrier than a facilitator, primarily because it was not customizable. The huge learning curve involved - which the nursing staff would not be able to adapt to – proved to be a stubborn hurdle to modernization and digitization. Being ‘techies’, this tempted Pooja and Deepak to try their hand at cracking the puzzle. Before long, they had quit their cozy, money minting jobs and founded PurpleDocs. The rest is healthcare history.
CHANGING THE GAME
The system was already ripe for disruption – Pooja and Deepak just happened to be the right minds at the right time at the right place. Vital patient data was being stored primarily in paper form. HIMS systems were only used for registration and billing purposes. Making adoption of technology even more challenging for doctors was the fact that they barely got more than 5 minutes to spend per patient, which made them naturally favor quick methods like paper based prescriptions.
What made PurpleDocs a true game-changer was that it offered customisable interfaces that could be tailored to match the exact needs of the doctor. This meant that Providers could focus only on fields relevant to them – turning things simple, intuitive and efficient. PurpleDocs also made it easy for Providers to create and use templates on the run time, reducing typing efforts and time. It also made the overall prescription generation experience more efficient, while staying fully compliant with the government guidelines. In fact, switching to PurpleDocs has been proven to save upto (and sometimes more than) 30 minutes in a day in OPD activities. Not surprisingly, adoption has been high, universal and loyal.
Other key is that they have been able to link the revenue increase for any clinic or hospital via adoption of their solutions. Hospitals and clinics see an upside in their revenue and that acts as an incentive to go digital and adopt PurpleDocs’ solutions.
Says Pooja, “It’s ironic that the country that is known to provide tech talent to the world was itself lacking in basic health tech infrastructure that can enable a provider access such vital information on a click. We are happy that finally, steps are being taken by the government to resolve this issue and make all patient data available to doctors and patients when they need it. With our solutions, we are helping Doctors/ Clinics/ Hospitals in digitizing their IP as well as OP records with minimal changes in their existing processes. Once the health data is digital, it can be pushed easily onto the healthcare tech stack, enabling the entire ecosystem to make smarter clinical decisions and provide vastly enhanced patient care.”
THE BIG IDEA WASN’T THE ONLY BRAINWAVE
While the idea behind PurpleDocs was both timely and impactful, it wasn’t the only spoke that sparkled in Pooja’s unique success story. The way Pooja and Deepak influenced acceptance and adoption of the product amongst the community was equally brilliant.
For one thing, PurpleDocs was conveniently unobtrusive. Pooja and Deepak had realized early on that the need of the hour was to disrupt the system without making it feel like a disruption – in other words, engineer change from ‘within’ (as opposed to force-fitting it externally) by integrating and embedding the solution seamlessly within the fabric of the existing process. This meant both identifying current pain points, and ensuring that the panacea was spot-on, easy and quick.
Not only that. Their marketing strategy was equally insightful – primarily because it lacked the traditional trappings of marketing. Instead of spending heavy on marketing, the duo invested their energies on evangelizing and educating the healthcare community about the ‘new way of doing old things’. They organized CMEs, sponsored healthcare events and even offered their services for free in the initial years to make sure everyone got a chance to try out PurpleDocs. There’s nothing more contagious than raw conviction, and their hard work soon paid off. Starting with their native region of Gujarat, PurpleDocs gradually found acceptance across the country - as curiosity turned into customers and customers, eventually, into loyal fans.
WITH THE HEADY FEELING, CAME THE HEADWINDS
Like every big idea, PurpleDocs too had to face resistance and potholes, and work its way through. Explains Pooja, “Long payment cycles by customers made things a little difficult. We are primarily a customer funded company, the external funds raised are primarily used for new product development and scaling up our operations.”
On the brighter side, there has been substantial tailwind and plenty of goodwill to balance the equation as well.
“Thankfully now we have quite a vibrant startup support in Gujarat, there are pitch dates and other events happening that brings opportunities to reach out to national level fund houses.”
The learnings from her journey have been rich, something which Pooja is happy to pass onto the next generation of Idea Leaders. She shares her views and wisdom generously: “It's ironic that Indian engineers are the people driving tech leadership globally, yet doctors in our own country are lagging in the area. It’s time the tech and entrepreneur community stepped forward and gave Healthcare – especially healthcare in rural and remote regions – a fresh and much overdue tonic. To budding entrepreneurs who are tinkering with new ideas, I will recommend rigorous hands-on ‘market surveys’. In other words, go talk about your idea with the actual stakeholders and potential adopters and try to gauge their pulse. There is no better litmus test of product feasibility. The problem is that we tend to see people's problems from our – not their – perspective, and shy away from discussing it publicly in the fear that someone may hijack it. What we forget is that people can steal the idea, but they can’t steal the passion.”
HOW WOULD SHE WANT TO REMEMBERED?
“I am a creative person who keeps looking into ways in which we can solve existing pain points. That is what we are trying to do with PurpleDocs as well. In future too, I would like to get involved in something that fulfills my appetite for innovation. The journey of an entrepreneur is only worth it, if it makes someone's life easy. I would love to be remembered as an innovator”, says Pooja.
*This story is published by VOH Team*
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