In Conversation With Dr. Mohender Narula, Founder and Chairman, MyDentalPlan Healthcare Pvt. Ltd.
One of the major challenges is that dental treatment is still not considered mainstream medicine by the majority of the population.
1. Take us through the journey of MyDentalPlan and why it was started?
MyDentalPlan started as a passion project amongst three pioneering dentists of the nation - Dr Mohender Narula, Dr Anandakrishna and Dr S Girish Rao, in 2015. At the time, the founders felt the need for a standardised service that reflected the quality of a dental clinic and in so doing, correctly assessed the hygiene procedures followed and the commensurate pricing for the clinic. With a vision to bring quality dental care to the Indian masses, the founders worked towards working on a model that brought price transparency and predictability into dental care while benchmarking the quality of services.
Since its inception, the organisation has been helping approximately 60,000 patients per year and providing them with quality dental treatment. The start-up has been growing at nearly 150% y-o-y which in all likelihood will significantly increase from the year 2022 onwards with the number of MyDentalPlan clients having increased fourfold.
It has been MyDentalPlan’s mission to improve the quality of dental care in India while delivering affordable and standardised dental services to all age groups.
2. How is MDP different from its competitors?
MyDentalPlan is a one of its kind start-up in the dental care space that works with experienced and the best dentists in the country. The company works as a partner with dentists and is, therefore, more focused on the quality of work that it does.
With its customer-centric approach, MyDentalPlan seeks to eliminate all the challenges that Indian users face when they have to visit a dentist. The company offers carefully curated dental packages that suit the needs of all individuals and corporate alike.
The company not only benchmarks standalone dental practices on key criteria such as hygiene but also reputation and customer orientation. In doing so, MyDentalPlan is also standardizing the fee structure for various dental procedures and at the same time, building pricing transparency.
Moreover, the free software provided by MyDentalPlan to the partner clinics helps the dentists in accessing additional services from MyDentalPlan, such as treatment cost financing, easy maintenance of patient records, many other clinic-friendly solutions, and financial products. MyDentalPlan further makes available this network to all its wellness partners.
3. How many clinics & cities are you currently present in? What process MDP follows to enrol doctors on its platform?
MyDentalPlan is present in 330+ cities and has chalked out a plan to expand its footprint to 400+ cities in India by the end of this year. Simultaneously MyDentalPlan is adding customers to its base and strives to serve more than 150,000 patients every year. Over the last seven months, the company has added more than 900 clinics to the network.
An elaborate checklist helps in the selection process of the right clinic with the right dentist. MyDentalPlan team personally visits these clinics in order to inspect the quality and skill level and hygiene before onboarding the practice.
A standardised cost list is provided to the doctors, the partner clinic is required to follow the standardised cost catalogue in order to bring standardisation and transparency in processes.
Additionally, MyDentalPlan provides practice management software to its empaneled clinics, free of any investment, to be used at their practice.
4. What are your views on the Dental Care market in India?
The dental care market in India is highly unorganized as more than 80% of clinics are standalone. There are nearly 1.1 lakh dental clinics in India with another 10-15 thousand dentists graduating and adding to this ever-growing list every year.
Owing to the gaps between the dental health services and awareness towards oral hygiene, there is a mere 2% penetration of dental care as opposed to nearly 80% in the USA.
This mismatch in service providers’ growth rate and a lack of commensurate growth in demand creates problems in the Indian dental sector. This oversupply leads to price-cutting and an idle capacity that can eventually become a hardened reason for treatment cost inflation thus further leading to shrinkage in services. MyDentalPlan is working towards spreading oral care-related awareness to bridge this gap.
5. What measures according to you should be implemented to increase awareness around dental care in India?
One of the major challenges is that dental treatment is still not considered mainstream medicine by the majority of the population. This mindset needs to change significantly for society to progress in the healthcare sector.
Poor oral hygiene is linked to aggravation in more than 120 systemic diseases. There is limited awareness about oral hygiene and how it can impact the quality of life in general. Most people decide just to live with their oral problems because they consider the treatment to be expensive. However, they don’t realise how many problems can be avoided if only they could take care of their oral health in time.
Timely intervention in maintaining good oral hygiene can have huge benefits especially in one’s later years. All it takes is a little preventive care that MyDentalPlan subsidizes in a big way.
Besides, oral health awareness, mitigating prohibitive costs of treatment can significantly add to the numbers in the clinics. This is where dental insurance can give the much-required fillip to the dental market growth.
Most other structural problems around the discovery of clinics, quality and price transparency are being addressed by MyDentalPlan already.
6. What are your growth plans for MDP?
The dental market is expected to grow 10X in the next 5 years. Affordability and access to quality dental care is the key that MyDentalPlan strives to deliver each day to its customers.
Over the next 5 years, MyDentalPlan hopes to enable the dental insurance market in India such that dental care can reach a substantial number of Indian citizens. As of now, dental care penetration is only about 2% in India, with dental insurance kicking in this number could easily reach 20% within the next 5 years. MyDentalPlan is looking forward to advancing the said 10X growth with revolutionary ideas.
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