Before launch Prava Health, A company that combines telemedicine with physical clinics, Silvana Sinha had a successful career in international law, including working as a foreign policy advisor for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and working for the World Bank in Afghanistan . While visiting Bangladesh for a family wedding in 2014, Sinha had a “lightbulb moment” when her mother died after an operation at a top private hospital.
“When I had this experience with my mother, I saw that there was really no amount that could get you access to quality healthcare in Bangladesh,” she told TechCrunch.
“I really felt that despite the country’s progress, and a middle-class population of 40 million people, that there really aren’t very good options for excellent health services,” he said. “You have thousands of people go abroad every year and billions of dollars a year outside the country to access better health services.”
Born and raised in the United States, Sinha moved to Bangladesh in 2015 to begin work on Prava. Today the company is announcing the Series A Prime Round, raising $ 10.6 million in total. Prava has claimed that its growth has tripled every year since it started services in 2018, and now serves 150,000 patients. In 2020, it processed 75,000 COVID-19 trials in-house.
Prava’s supporters include a list of prominent angel investors: former Central Intelligence Agency director and United States Army General David Petraeus, who also invested in Prava’s seed round; Esther Dyson, executive founder of Wellville; SBK Tech Ventures; Dr. Jeremy Link, Consultant for Digital Health for Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research; Co-founder and CEO of Iora Health, Drs. Rushika Fernandopul; And Geoff Price, co-founder and chief operating officer of Oak Street Health.
The company has a major medical center in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and a network of 40 small clinics across the city. Prior to expanding into the country’s second largest city, Chittagong, Prava plans to open more clinics in Dhaka.
Its “brick-and-click” model, including online counseling, also allows patients across the country to reach out. Virtual healthcare accounts for about 40% of Prava’s services, including telemedicine and an online pharmacy.
Bangladesh is one of these Fastest growing economies in the world, But there is a huge shortage of health workers for its 170 million people. World Health Organization estimates There are only 3 physicians and 1 nurse for every 10,000 people, and most work in urban hospitals, even though 70% of Bangladesh’s population is in rural areas. This means that people often travel long distances for consultations that can last less than a minute.
“One of the things we see telemedicine really helps is that patients outside Dhaka need to find out if they too need to take that trip,” Sinha said. ”
The company found that in more than 80% of cases, especially primary care, its providers are able to address a patient’s online needs. In the remaining 20% of cases, they would ask them to come to a clinic in Prava, which offers a wide range of outpatient services, imaging and lab diagnostics, and a pharmacy.
At the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, approximately 90% of PRAVA consultations were occurring virtually, although clinic visits have increased again. Most of Prava’s doctors are full-time salaried employees and one of its goals is to create a deep provider-patient relationship, with appointments typically lasting about 15 minutes.
Sinha said, “I think technology is the future of health, there is no doubt about it.” “But when it comes to seeing a doctor and the kind of health care we need during our lifetime, technology is not able to change completely.”
Between Bangladesh’s public health system and more expensive private hospitals, the majority of Prava patients currently pay per visit, and are priced at market rates. It has also introduced a subscription plan with a flat rate for unlimited access to services.
Sinha said that this is a very new type of model in Bangladesh, where only 1% of people have health insurance, mainly for hospitalization.
He added, “This is our experiment to introduce value-based care to the region, so we’re very excited about the product, but it’s a new product and we hope to take it more in the coming years, ” They said. “It has already picked up a lot in the last year, because I think people are more health conscious and corporations are more willing to invest in the health of employees.”
With its new funding, Prava will focus on creating a “super app” for patients, to consolidate all its digital services into one mobile app. There are also plans to open 10 more healthcare centers in Dhaka, before expanding to Chittagong. Prava’s “brick-and-click” model may scale in other emerging markets, but it plans to focus on Bangladesh for the next few years.
Sinha said, “170 million people are there to take the first care. “So we’re really focused on this market for now.”