Bengaluru Based Corporate Turned Entrepreneur Santhosh Kumar Is Bridging the Gap Between Dental Patient Care And Their Ailments Through JUSTDENTAL.
The oral health is of least significance when it comes to the people of India. A lack of public identification of oral health deterioration and general awareness pulls back the people from seeking proper dental solutions. There is a dearth of efficient practitioners that leads to the lackadaisical attitude of masses towards oral health care. A possible and plausible solution could be to develop scientific temperament towards oral hygiene and factor in its importance in our daily lives.
JUSTDENTAL is a practice management company which aims at empowering the patients as well as the dentists. It is one of the fastest growing dental networks in India. Santhosh Kumar, the founder of JUSTDENTAL, started off with this idea to provide a unique experience to the patients. In a candid talk, he spoke about his company, its challenges, his dreams, and vision!
What is Just Dental?
“Just Dental” is one of the fastest growing dental clinic networks in India. We see ourselves as the leading visionary in dental care. With more than 65 clinics in Bangalore and 200+ clinics across india, we continue to expand our network and accessibility. Our vision is to make dentistry affordable and accessible to the entire population of India. Our innovative methods, patient centricity, and ethical practices make us one of the most liked dental service providers. We continue to focus on creating oral and dental awareness through our social programmes thus impacting and improving oral and general well-being of our people. As they say- “Dentists make the world a better place, one smile at a time”.
Tell our readers about the services offered by it?
To Patients: It provides access to the nearest dentist at a locality near the patients. There is a mobile app to manage appointments, prescriptions, medical records etc. and provide access to more than 100 top-notch dental specialists. It is known for its fair and transparent pricing for the treatment. JUSTDENTAL also conducts a regular educational programme for school kids etc.
To Dentists: To dentists, JUSTDENTAL provides access to practice management software, Branding and Marketing, equip them with latest innovations in the field of dentistry, Best dental materials and equipment and also efficient Dental Lab services.
When did you decide to try your hands in entrepreneurship?
I have worked with companies like Accenture, TCS and in my last role in the corporate world, I was a Senior Director with Quintiles research Pvt Ltd (Now IQVIA). I was heading Data Management for India, South Africa, and China. Here, I managed close to 500 people and was working with the top 20 pharma giants.
During my career of 15 years in clinical research, I frequently worked with doctors across the world and often felt our doctors in India are on par with the doctors of the West. However, what was missing was consistency and adherence to standard practices. Patients usually get a raw deal and may not always get the right treatment and care for their ailments. This, I felt was a huge problem and an opportunity to address and thus “Just Dental” was born.
What are the challenges you faced during the set-up of your company?
The transition from a senior leader in the corporate world to entrepreneurship was not an easy one. There were several challenges we had to face but we have successfully overcome each one of them “one by one”. In a corporate organization, I always had access to great talent, resources, and infrastructure at my disposal. My strengths and limitations were known and I knew what outcomes were to be expected.
In the Entrepreneur world, it appeared to be chaotic. I had to reach out to people with my gut feeling and trust which backfired many times! My risk management skills came to my rescue and we started identifying backups for all our vendors and services providers. There were many more challenges and I am sure there will be many more to come but we are confident to overcome every one of them.
Having Practo in the place where one can find, book and consult doctors. How is Just Dental unique?
Even though we have technology which is very similar to Practo, we are very different from Practo. Practo is like a search engine which helps patients locate doctors, whereas, Just Dental is a comprehensive solution provider to the patient and doctor. Our services not just create a digital presence but goes beyond in creating a healthcare delivery system, which is comprehensive, transparent, affordable and progressive.
How well has Just Dental fared according to you till now?
I strongly believe that Just Dental has fared very well. We were recently recognized as an “INNOVATIVE STARTUP” by Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion under the Startup India Initiative. We have been able to delight our patients and the doctors have recognized the value we bring on the table. In the past 7 months, we have brought smiles to more than 1000 patients and our network of clinics has been steadily increasing. We now have 65 clinics in Bangalore and some more will be added in the coming months.
How would you describe the current scenario of dental health in India?
Less than 2% of Indian population receives regular dental care from a dentist. The rest 98% of the population visit a dentist for dental emergencies only. With the improvement in economy, literacy, digital and social media, there has been a steady increase in awareness of dental and oral diseases. There is a slow but gradual shift from emergency treatments to preventative procedures. We hope to play a very important role in creating awareness of dental and oral health among the masses.
After all, Dentistry is our profession, but people are our focus.
What has been your strength in pulling off this novel idea to this point?
My family, friends, investors and all our network of doctors have been my strength. They have been continuously providing feedback and support to implement a solution which could potentially change the way dental practices are managed in India.
What are your plans for your venture in the upcoming years?
We have moved past the proof of concept phase and are now in the scale-up phase. We would close Bangalore expansion soon and will set-up our offices in Delhi and Chennai by end of this year. In the next couple of years, we will add close to 500 clinics across India and our ultimate aim is to have our network clinics accessible to the public from all parts of the country.