Startup Circle: How is Doceree using AI and Machine Learning to revolutionize the Pharma Industry?

By : |November 20, 2020 0

Doceree: In healthcare, robotics and machine learning are already having an impact on patient care, providing basic assistance across many clinical facilities – no doubt a life-saving job. Some may feel that eventually technology – specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI) – will progress to a point where it can deliver advanced consultation, without the need for a physician.

For others, interaction with a machine to determine a course of treatment will never be able to replicate the personalised consultation with a physician, the latter of which has an unparalleled level of expertise and training. To understand the role of Artificial Intelligence in medtech, and how Doceree is helping in sector, hear Dr. Harshit Jain, Founder & CEO talk on the subject matter.

What is Doceree about? Tell us about the team.

Doceree is First Global Network of Physician-only Platforms for Programmatic Marketing. Our platform is disrupting the Physician marketing landscape much in the same way digital ad networks transformed the consumer marketing space. Doceree’s integrated and collaborative ecosystem enables pharmaceutical brands and digital platforms to mutually benefit from untapped opportunities present in Physician marketing in the most ‘regulatory compliant and transparent manner’. Doceree is enabling Rx drug marketers to promote their brands in the digital domain to Physicians in a regulated manner. At the same time, Doceree provides an opportunity for digital platforms to make more revenue. With our platform, they can now focus on their core business and the problems they are solving in healthcare than swaying their attention to making more monies.

Coming to the team, I am the Founder and CEO. I studied medicine and went on to doing MD. For a few years, I practised Internal Medicine and then jumped to healthcare advertising. I worked with a renowned global healthcare advertising company and worked in India, UK and the US at leadership positions before founding Doceree. Apart from me, Daleep Manhas is the Co-founder & EVP Partnerships. Including both of us, we have a team of 35 people spread over India and the US in technology, marketing, customer success, operations, human resource and partnerships verticals.

How did you come up with the idea?

Pharmaceutical marketing was nowhere close to the way consumer marketing evolved remarkably in the digital realm over years and that constantly hit me. In my previous work stint at a renowned healthcare advertising company, I gained tremendous market exposure while serving in India, the UK and the US. And when I drew parallels between where consumer marketing stood vis-a-vis pharmaceutical marketing in the digital arena, the latter was a total laggard. It was striking that the picture wasn’t much different as we compared different markets; it was quite the same globally. The only bottleneck turned out to be the mental block about regulations that stopped Pharmaceutical brands from taking the big digital leap, as opposed to what their counterparts in the consumer world did.

This pushed me to plug the ‘global pharma marketing’ gap. The determination to take up the cause got strengthened when I realized the acute problem of the rising cost of healthcare could be addressed by bringing in ‘efficiency and effectiveness’ in Physician marketing with methodical use of data and creativity.

What is the trend observed on Doceree?

Coronavirus outbreak has accelerated adoption of digital in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector. Data suggests that the Pharmaceutical sector had been hesitant in embracing digital technologies. However, post COVID-19, a new picture has emerged as traditional marketing methods of touching base with Physicians got halted. Pharmaceutical brands are now realizing the importance of digital mediums and how platforms like Doceree can make their marketing efforts effective and efficient, and even help them cut costs.

What is your business/market growth?

In the last four months, we have signed with top 7 out of 10 pharma brands and over 30 digital platforms in India have partnered with us. We are working with the most specialist agency networks in the US. We have also launched multiple new features in the Indian and the US markets to realize our vision of making Pharma marketing effective and efficient.

The pandemic has improved the MedTech sector. What are the new things coming up in the industry?

When the news of the pandemic broke out, Pharma marketers and business teams began scrambling for solutions that could help them reach out to Physicians and were quick to convert, but their legal, compliance and regulatory departments weren’t prepared. It is seen that digital platforms like Doceree that are regulatory-compliant are seeing a lot of traction amid these times. Also, digital solutions that bring transparency in doctor reach and results are a lot welcome as Pharma brand marketers are sceptical about the results that are shared with them by digital platforms they are partnering with. We recently launched AI-enabled dashboard to address the issue.

How are AI and Machine learning revolutionizing the Pharma Industry?

If we talk about the current scenario of AI and ML in Pharma, at best we can say that we’re in a very early stage of adopting these technologies and how we’re able to set our foundations will define the future for us. We are swimming in an ocean of data, or a better way to put it would be that we’re drowning in it. Organisations and institutions are generating terabytes of data per day which in the case of India is not even being recorded correctly. To move from data to information, use that information to obtain knowledge and then draw wisdom out of it will take at least a few years. It’s this wisdom that defines the basics of AI and ML.

We can count on machines to get better results than humans when the processing power of humans reach their limits. Even today, machines have replaced humans in healthcare and pharma sector, be it recognition of cancer cells using MRI/CT scan machines or regression models to predict Diabetes in patients, health tech is evolving day by day and will continue to do so to stay one step ahead of the limitations of current systems being hit every day.

What are some challenges and untapped potentials of the market?

Over the last decade, innovative digital business models emerged in a lot of sectors. However, pharmaceutical, by and large, remained an exception in opening up to digital mediums. The marketing approaches are still confined to traditional ways of doing business and Physician marketing is nowhere close to consumer marketing that grew leaps and bounds after companies in the space switched to digital methods and made them an essential tool to reach out to their target audiences. This lack of adoption of digital in Pharma presents a huge opportunity to players like Doceree that can bring efficiency and effectiveness in digital Pharma marketing by making apt use of data and creativity.

What are your Post-Covid plans?

In the last six months, we have grown a great pace. We are hopeful to build on the initial traction as Pharmaceutical brands and digital platforms have got a fair taste of how Doceree can positively impact their businesses and revenues. The focus is not just to gain from the situation right now, but to make our clients see value and worth in Doceree. Going forward, we will eye new market expansion and potential acquisitions.

Funding

We raised $1 million in seed funding from a group of angel investors from India and the US in May 2020.

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