Some of the challenges that the Indian diagnostics market is facing include a highly fragmented diagnostics market with over one lakh labs, limited availability of trained resources (pathologists and technicians), and non-adherence to quality standards (while government is keen to enforce standards like NABL & ISO certifications), says Raju Venkatraman, MD and CEO, Medall Healthcare, in conversation with Gopi Krishna Arora of Elets News Network (ENN).
Q Medall Healthcare, which is South India’s largest chain of medical diagnostic services, provides people best and costefficient diagnostic facilities. What distinguishes you from other stakeholders of this field?
As Medall, we differentiate ourselves on multiple parameters as compared to other stakeholders. Some of them are:
• Customer reach and ease of access:
› Wide geographical presence in 8 states and 63 districts
› 7,000+ customer touch points across India hence making it more accessible to the customers
› Serve over 10 million customers performing 30 million tests
• Integrated Diagnostics: Medall is the largest integrated diagnostics service provider and is also the fourth largest diagnostics player in India providing radiology and pathology services under one roof. Using the state-of-the-art technology, affordable services provide high level of clinical confidence to doctors and patients.
Strong clinical and experienced management team bring in years of rich experience in operations, process excellence, quality, IT and supply chain management. This empowers Medall to carry out large projects in a record time without compromising the quality.
• Strong focus on quality: We have 8+ NABL accredited and 100+ ISO certified labs across India.
Q In the era of internet and technology, people usually have all the information about solutions and services. How do you strategise to cater people with best services in a cost efficient manner?
To serve customers of all types, Medall has developed many clinical and technological innovations. Some of them are:
• Online real-time portal to monitor the quality on a daily basis of all 175+ labs.
• Web-enabled real-time digital dashboards for monitoring project performance metrics to customers.
• Operations monitoring dashboard
• Deployment of CMS to streamline the supply chain for all consumables and reagents
• Digital reporting center helps us to centrally monitor and approve the reports on time
• Mobile app for customers to access and monitor patients and their family’s health across the world
Q How do you analyse Indian diagnostic market in terms of opportunity and challenges?
Indian diagnostic market is the fastest growing industry, also known as a sunrise industry growing at 17-18 per cent every year. The industry size was approximately Rs 6,000 crore in 2017 and will touch Rs 1.35 lakh crore by 2025.
Growing health awareness, rising income level and changing attitude towards preventive healthcare is expected to give a boost to healthcare industry in future.
Highly fragmented diagnostics market with over one lakh labs, limited availability of trained resources (pathologists & technicians), non-adherence to quality standards (while government is keen to enforce standards like NABL & ISO certifications)are some of the industry challenges forcing the common man to compromise in terms of quality or price or sometimes even both.
Q Shed some light on latest innovative products introduced to enhance patient care?
We believe the future of healthcare is in preventive care. With the increasing awareness, people have become more proactive in getting a health check-up done for themselves and their families at least once in six months. One of the recent products Medall launched – SASH (Stay Aware Stay Healthy) caters to this section of the society, wherein an individual can know his/her Health Score. SASH is first of its kind health screening in the industry covering eight major systems including the vitals with 57 parameters at just Rs 640. It empowers healthy individuals to take proactive steps and lead a healthy life.
Q How do you anaylse Medall’s contribution to strengthen healthcare delivery process in India?
Medall strongly believes that partnering with the Government is essential to reach out to poorer sections of the society. In accordance with this strategy, Medall is the first company to successfully execute two large PPPs in laboratory services across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, covering 25 districts in a record time of 90 days.
This has helped us to serve over six crore people with the best of technology, quality and speed, which in-turn is reducing about Rs 700 crore of out-of-pocket expenses for the poor customers. This was possible also because of the support and continuous feedback from the governments of the respective states.
Our contribution to strengthen the healthcare delivery process through the district approach, covering 1,400+ hospitals in Andhra Pradesh and 110 hospitals in Jharkhand has made healthcare easily accessible and affordable.
Q How has been your association with the Government of Andhra Pradesh in healthcare domain? What kind of projects are you working on?
Our association with the Andhra Pradesh government started in 2011 and continues till date. We implemented the radiology PPP in a record time of 30 days after winning the bid in association with IFC and GE. Through this project, we made high quality diagnostics available 24 x 7 at an affordable cost in teaching hospitals, also reducing the waiting time from two to three weeks to two to three hours.
In 2015, we won the bid for Lab PPP across 13 districts of AP and the same was also executed in a record 90-day time period. Through this project we covered 40 area / district hospitals, 192 CHCs (Community Health Centres) and 1150 PHCs (Primary Health Centres). 105 labs were set-up and over 2,000 qualified professionals were deployed across the State. We have served over 1.2 crore people in last 28 months.
Under the leadership of the Chief Minister, Special Chief Secretary, Advisor and other officials of Health Ministry, AP’s NTR VaidyaPariksha stands out as one of the most structured, well managed and implemented PPP projects in India.
Through these projects, Medall has now become a trusted partner with the Government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) in healthcare diagnostics and we are proud to be associated with the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Q How do you rate Indian healthcare industry in terms of technology, innovations, accessibility and affordability?
We feel that there is still a huge scope when it comes to technology, innovation and accessibility. With the use of automated analysers which can improve the Turn Around Time (TAT), Digital Reporting, Maintenance of Online Customer Health Records, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and Data Mining in the healthcare industry, we see a great opportunity to increase availability, accessibility and affordability for the customers.
Q Tell us about your association with other State governments and future aspects?
Apart from Andhra Pradesh (AP), Medall has been associated with the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand for diagnostic services and we see that the governments have become more open to collaborate with different private partners. Increased allocation to the NRHM scheme and the National Health Policy of 2017 reinforces the point that both the central and state governments are focussing on various healthcare needs of the people. Healthcare has become a priority.