Healthcare analytics is a fast growing industry worldwide and is expected to have a total addressable market size in excess of $15 billion over the next three years as per various industry estimates. It is at a very nascent stage in India and hence the current market opportunity is probably under $100 million, says Madhu Aravind, CEO, Searchlight Health, a subsidiary of Piramal Group, in an interaction with Rajbala of Elets News Network (ENN).
What are Searchlight Health’s offerings for hospitals and health insurers?
We are working with the simple premise that healthcare in India can be transformed by data analytics. Examples of these can be the ability for Insurers to launch personalized products to drastically improve access, doctors to see previously unseen patterns in care delivery, pharma companies to understand health drivers and large scale real world usage information, etc.
We believe that by bringing together anonymised patient data, leveraging data that is publicly available and by building best-in-class analytics solutions, healthcare in this country can be more accessible and can create more impact with available resources.
Does Searchlight have any proprietary technology or tools?
What we have seen is that problems faced in India are fairly different from the West, given the state of maturity of the market. As an example, almost all the data is non-standard, so we had to build the machine learning solutions to convert that into standardized data. Similarly, the models that we needed to solve both the operational and clinical problems also had to be developed from the ground up.
Since our group companies have been into this business for 20+ years, we were able to leverage the processes, security models etc. but we had to develop the solutions needed in India from scratch.
What is healthcare analytics and how big is the segment in India? What is the total addressable market/business opportunity for Searchlight in India? An estimate would do.
Copious amounts of healthcare data is generated daily by various stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem like hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, drug stores, diagnosis centres, etc. as part of their business operations. Healthcare analytics refers to the science where this data is scientifically analyzed to create technology solutions that improve clinical outcomes, operational efficiency of these businesses, health care financing, etc. It benefits both the industry as well as consumers.
Healthcare analytics is a fast growing industry worldwide and is expected to have a total addressable market size in excess of $15 billion over the next three years as per various industry estimates. It is at a very nascent stage in India and hence the current market opportunity is probably under $100 million. However, with increasing technology adoption and understanding this space too will start growing at a good rate in the years to come.
How difficult it is to persuade hospitals to sign up? How many hospitals have you signed up so far?
Initially, it was a challenge to explain our value proposition to hospitals and since this wasn’t tried before, there was no precedence. Gradually, we have been able to demonstrate the value of our offerings and more importantly the business impact for our partner hospitals and the ensuing patient benefits. We have signed up over 85 hospitals in three cities so far and are aiming to partner 200 hospitals by the end of this year and around 1,000 hospitals by 2020.
What is the feedback to your offerings from health insurers?
We are working on multiple pilot projects with health insurers in India and the feedback has been quite encouraging. We help health insurers create market leading products by understanding the cost implications of policy specifications scientifically. Our offerings combine nationwide hospital data with powerful modelling tools to help health insurers identify new product and segment opportunities.
Who are your competitors?
The whole health data analytics market itself is in a very nascent stage. In nascent markets, competition is never the challenge.
It is only about making progress every day. There are many players — from IBM to startups — who are using their own entry points to serve the space.
What is the business/revenue model?
We typically begin our engagement with hospitals by signing them up to the ‘anonymized data sharing’ partnership and offer our standard set of free services for immediate value creation. Based on the evolution of this value that hospitals derive from our analytic services, they sign up for customized, higher value-added features later which are paid-for.
What is the scope of operations for Searchlight currently? How big is the Searchlight team in India? What is the mid-term and long term strategy for Searchlight?
We started our operations two years ago and are headquartered in Bengaluru. We have signed up over 85 hospitals across 3 cities – Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai. We have a team of over 40 currently. By the end of 2017, we aim to partner with 200 hospitals and the goal for 2020 is to partner with 1,000 hospitals.
What is the impact that Searchlight’s offerings can have on the public at large?
Though we are primarily operating in the B2B space currently, our offerings can bring positive impact to end consumers (public) at large in the medium to long term. By helping hospitals improve clinical care delivery and driving efficiency in operations, we indirectly help in improving the standard of healthcare in the country for patients. By helping health insurers identify new product and segment opportunities, we help improve access to health insurance for millions of people who were uninsured earlier.
How much Searchlight plans to invest over the current fiscal to expand its operations?
By virtue of being a subsidiary of Piramal Group, we are not constrained in terms of capital investment when it comes to expanding our operations. We have an aggressive plan to build the business, hire a larger team and partner with more hospitals and health insurers over the current fiscal and beyond.