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Onco.com envisions to become a one-stop platform for all cancer related needs for patients and their caregivers

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Rashie Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, Onco.com discusses the company’s vision and expansion plans in an exclusive interview with Sanjiv Das

How is Onco.com’s Online Cancer Patient Assistance Pathway helping cancer patients? What type of services are being offered by Onco.com? 
Our platform is one of the first online service in the world to provide customised cancer treatment advice and helping patients with the right information they need to navigate their journey through cancer. Through this platform, any patient or caregiver can avail free preliminary treatment guidance by first providing basic information like the type of cancer, organ affected, stage of the disease, patient’s general condition and treatment done to-date. We then provide them with diagnostic and treatment assistance, as per international protocols, based on a proprietary knowledge database created by our team of oncologists. Onco.com has a network of more than 1500 oncologists from India and the US as well as 500+ treatment centres (speciality hospitals, infusion centres) and diagnostic labs from across India. We prioritise the needs of both early and advanced-stage cancer patients, by empowering them with an unbiased opinion from our panel of oncologists. While recently diagnosed patients can get help on suggested treatment routes, those who are undergoing therapy, or are on the verge of signing up for a procedure, can also evaluate their options with us. Today, we serve patients from 18 countries including India, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Our platform offers two consultation services – a preliminary opinion that is free of cost, and a Tumour Board opinion, which provides a chargeable, detailed report by a multi-disciplinary panel of oncologists. We also help connect patients with hospitals and diagnostic centres for relevant tests. Most dear to our hearts is our care management service where a care manager helps support a patient and the family throughout the diagnosis, treatment and post-cancer process.

Recently you have received an accolade from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). What was the recognition for?
Online Cancer Patient Assistance Pathway (OCPAP™), built by our team was honoured at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Breakthrough: A Global Summit for Oncology Innovators conference, for its innovative and cutting-edge technology offering tailored treatment guidance for cancer patients. The ASCO Summit brought together the very latest in oncology practice, scientific discovery and technological advances to transform the future of cancer care.

What changes do you foresee in terms of funding for cancer care in India?
The cancer care sector in India is growing at 15 per cent annually owing to increase in incidence, new technologies coming in the market and growing insurance penetration. Moreover, according to recent statistics, there are three million cancer patients in India, with 1.5 million new patients being diagnosed every year. This number is slated to touch two million by 2022. Although the burden of cancer in developing countries is less than their developed counterparts, the proportion of cancer-related deaths is 70 per cent in these countries. As per the Global Survey of Clinical Oncology Workforce 2018, for every 10,000 cancer patients, there are only one to five trained oncologists in developing countries like India, while there are 50 to 100 in developed countries. Likewise, the new patients-per-oncologist ratio ranges between 700 to 10,000 in developing countries compared to 70 to 200 in developed nations. These numbers, as well as our own analyses make us believe that funding will remain open and grow bigger in the healthcare segment, especially in cancer care.

You have recently completed a $7 million series A funding by Accel, Chiratae Venture and Dream Incubator. How will you utilise these funds and how will it change your business progress?
Onco.com envisions to become a one-stop platform for all cancer related needs for patients and their caregivers. We want to expand our customer base and scale up our operations globally.

How many patients are you currently catering to in India and abroad?
Currently, over 30,000 patients from 18 countries including India, the US, and nations in Africa, Middle East and South Asia, actively use the platform. Onco.com will utilise the funds to further strengthen the team, scale operations and expand customer outreach in India and beyond.

What will be your business strategies and investment plans for the next five years?
In the next five years, we will expand our outreach to international patients not just in developing countries but also in the EU and the US where a service such as Onco Tumour Board can help provide comprehensive online guidance ahead of the treatment. We are growing in double digits every month and we continue to keep the same growth momentum so that more patients and their families can use Onco’s services and get started on their treatment with confidence. We would also like to explore financing especially for patients from underprivileged backgrounds as cancer treatment is expensive and a lot of people drop out because of lack of funds.

How many doctors have registered with Onco.com so far?
Currently, Onco.com has a network of more than 1500 oncologists from India and the US.

What type of technological innovations would you foster to support cancer cure in future?
Our current focus is to build a convenient and navigable platform that provides quick access and essential information for a patient’s needs. Our platform powered by predictive analytics and a smart medical database at the back end allows us to offer preliminary opinion to cancer patients today. In the future, we will keep on building this technology to offer more comprehensive and personalised guidance to cancer patients on their treatment options and diagnostic tests they can avail.

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