This startup brings vacant hospital rooms in Southeast Asia into the sharing economy • TechCrunch

The sharing economy has been a symbol of success for Uber and Airbnb. Entrepreneurs are also trying to match demand by providing untapped assets or services. HDLtd., a startup based in Bangkok, applies the economic model to healthcare throughout Southeast Asia.

HD is a platform that allows three parties to come together: private surgeons, patients who want to save money, and vacant surgical rooms in hospitals. Although it may seem counterintuitive to those in the West, the medical system in Southeast Asia is built around very different dynamics between hospitals and patients.

Shiji isHD CEO and cofounder Hu was inspired by the idea of HD when he saw surgeons from Thailand posting on Facebook to draw private clients. Hu, who co-founded HD, says that dual practice is “very common” in Southeast Asia for doctors. Southeast Asian eCommerce aCommerce.

“They get accreditation from working in big hospitals, but they get low salaries, so they also work in private hospitals where they get money,” he says in an interview.

People in Southeast Asia go straight to the hospital when they are sick. Ho believes that there are long waiting lines in public hospitals. Doctors try to get patients to private institutions. “The doctors [in the region]They work across multiple platforms in a similar way to merchants.

In 2018, forty percent of Southeast Asia’s health expenditures were paid out of pocket. According to the World Health OrganizationComparable to 29.8% in Europe, and 32.4% in Americas, Patients end up paying exorbitant prices due to the lack of a centralized platform that offers cost transparency.

As Thailand, a popular country for medical tourism, was hit by the COVID-19 epidemic, large swathes o urologists’ rooms were suddenly freed. Hu pointed out that the oversupply was caused by Thailand’s pre-pandemic hospital building spree. The government was betting on an aging population as well as increasing land values.

“Organically, hospitals wanted to use our platforms,” ​​Ho says. They can negotiate lower room rates because HD brings clients to them. Patients who have surgery such as orthopedics, hemorhoids, and thyroid surgery through HD pay 15-20% lower than the market rate.

Why not create a central point for all of these needs. HD launched HDcare surgery two months ago. According to Ho, the platform powers more than 20 operating rooms in Thailand and Indonesia. It also has access to over 1,500 healthcare providers and more than 40 types surgeries. The goal is to increase the number of surgeries per quarter to 200 by the fourth quarter 2023.

Amazon Health Services

HD surgery is a new business that adds to the already established business. It’s a marketplace for outpatient care. The model has been successful in the large healthcare market. ChinaWhere local competitor AlibabaSimilar e-commerce business exists that sells third party healthcare services, such as immunizations.

Because there is no primary care in Southeast Asia, people will need to ask friends for recommendations or navigate the hospital several times before they find the right doctor.

This contrasts with the United States, which has a much higher percentage of immigrants. 75% of adults have primary care physicians2015 was the first year that common conditions could be treated and they were referred to hospitals only for urgent or specialized treatment.

HD, like Airbnb, started out setting up hospitals. They also helped customers set up their product pages. Hu said, “But this is also the moat.” “SaaS remains very early days in Southeast Asia.”

HD takes a cut from the transactions and charges a listing fees from healthcare providers. This is similar how an e-commerce platform would invest. It also offers healthcare marketing services to providers through its platform, much like how Amazon Ads or Tmall Ads allow brands to increase their reach.

The issue of platform operators’ liability is a hot topic in the tech industry. Businesses that can affect one’s health are making it more difficult. HD does not usually deal with disputes as a market platform. HD’s founder says that HD follows a similar approach to Amazon’s in that it puts patients and customers first, takes them back, and deals directly with providers.

“In general, HD prioritizes elective minimally invasive, short-stay, surgical procedures that have low outcome differences such as thyroid and hemorrhoid surgery, as well as outpatient procedures.”

HD has served more than 250,000 patients since its inception four year ago. It has seen its sales increase 7x during pandemics and plans to maintain its growth rate of 2-3x in the years following COVID.

Recession: Optimism

While the epidemic negatively affects the global economyHe is optimistic about his own venture. Some companies took off when the recession began. They were taking advantage oversupply. Groupon was profiting from an oversupply in restaurants. For Airbnb, it was vacant houses,” he says.

“So as we go into recession, there are enough opportunities — hospitals are sitting in excess rooms. We have a two-to-three-year window to grow this part of the business quickly.”

Despite encouraging signs of growth HD’s fundraising operation was rocky. Investors have turned towards telemedicine startups to provide a solution for their healthcare needs as the pandemic spreads. He doesn’t agree with this assumption.

“Telehealth is doing well in the Western market. Basically, you can talk to your GP. [general physician]You get a prescription. Then you go to Walgreens for the antibody you need.

You can find that same grade of medicine in pharmacies in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. [over the counter]eliminating the need for telehealth.”

Investors are now realizing the potential of HD, which allows offline providers to use digital platforms to complement them. The startup has recently raised $6 million from Partech Partners and M Venture Partners, AC Ventures and Orvel Ventures. It was also recently accepted into the Startups Accelerator program in Southeast Asia by Google.

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