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Technology Enabled Proactive Healthcare:: Indias only Hope against the Chronic Disease Epidemic

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Truworth brings state-of-the-art technology to India that is easy to implement anduse. The company offers products and services for the entire list of stakeholdersin the healthcare vertical.

In an interview with eHEALTH, Rajeish Moondraa, Director and Chief OperatingOfficer, Truworth Group of Companies, talks about the importance of preventiveas well as proactive healthcare in the Indian setting.


Rajeish Moondraa

CEO
Truworth Group of Companies

What is the importance of preventivehealthcare?

India is on the brink of a disasterof chronic diseases like diabetes, cardio-vascular ailments, respiratorydiseases and obesity. In the latestreport of International DiabetesFederation, India has 50.4 milliondiabetic patients that amountsto approximately 7% of the adultpopulation. By 2010, 3 out of 5 heartpatients in the world will be Indians.More than 50% of deaths due to strokeand 25% deaths due to heart diseasesoccur because of hypertension.

Considering mainly the effectsof premature mortality, WHOestimates that (between 2005 and2014) diabetes, heart disease andstroke combined will cost patientsUSD 336.6 billion in India. It will be ahuge tragedy if these diseases are notcontrolled in a timely manner. Thebiggest problem with these diseases is that these diseases are silent killers they do not show symptoms untilthey reach a stage where life-longmedication or surgery is the onlysolution left, and once you areaffected by them, you are at risk forthe rest of your life.

The only saviour for India nowis preventive healthcare. In fact, Iwould take it one step further and callit proactive healthcare where peopleare motivated to be proactivelyhealth conscious and take necessary steps to delay, if not avoid, the onsetof these life-threatening diseases.To handle the growing epidemicof chronic diseases in the country,mere education and awareness willnot help a proactive program isneeded.

If the magnitude of the problem is sohuge, why is preventive healthcarestill being neglected in India?

Preventive healthcare, as of now, isvoluntary in India and requires a visitto a lab or hospital. Very few peoplein the age group of 25-40 go for apreventive health check because it isnot affordable in terms of actual costsand time for the middle class, whichis the largest market segment andforms the biggest chunk of Indiasproductive workforce.

Preventive healthcare for themajority ends at the lab values. Thecurrent process eats up about halfworking day from ones schedule,which is a big deterrent for bothindividuals and their employers.Psychologically also, it is diffi cult foran individual to undergo screeningin the care delivery setting. Lackof awareness of the severity andnon-symptomatic silent killercharacteristics of these diseases isanother major reason why peopleare so negligent about the wholephenomenon. Labs are using health check-ups as money-making tool bybundling essential and non-essentialtests thereby jacking up the cost.Believe it or not, even grown-ups arescared of syringes. Nobody wants togo to the hospital by choice.

What are the initiatives taken by yourcompany in this area?

Keeping in mind all of the abovehindering factors, Truworth hascreated a service for people to availpreventive healthcare and technologyenabled proactive healthcare attheir doorsteps, with minimal effort required from their side, at a fractionof the time and cost that it takes themnow to get a preventive health checkdone. Truworth also runs corporatewellness programs and diseasemanagement programs.

What is the current portfolio ofproducts & services that you offer?What is your fl agship offering in termsof expected impact on the market?

Our flagship offering is called MakeMe Healthy, which is our lifestylehealth risk assessment service. Itfacilitates health checks at peoplesdoorsteps brining in ultimateconvenience in terms of time, costand availability.

We also have disease managementprograms for different chronicdiseases. No Extra Sugar (www.noextrasugar.com) for diabetes,No Extra Cholesterol (www.noextracholesterol.com) for highcholesterol and heart ailmentsand No Extra body-fat (www.noextrabodyfat.com) for obesity management.

Apart from this, Truworth is alsointo healthcare informatics likeHIMS & EMR.

Tell us more about how Make MeHealthy works?

Make Me Healthy (MMH) is wherepreventive healthcare starts. Unlessyou know where you stand, youcannot decide how you will reachwhere you want to. Therefore MakeMe Healthy, is the first key to openingthe doors of good health by providing a lifestyle health risk assessment(LHRA).

Make Me Healthy is a home-healthcheck-up program whichharnesses technology to give the bestcustomer experience. Those whowant to undergo the LHRA simplymake a call or send an SMS to theMMH call-centre. MMH technicianreaches the home/offi ce (or any other place of preference) of theindividual and conducts the LHRA injust 15 minutes.

LHRA comprises of collectionof personal health history, familyhealth history, symptomaticassessment, social lifestylehabits and biometric screening.Biometric screening comprises ofECG, spirometry, pulse oximetry,total cholesterol, triglycerides, random blood sugar, bloodpressure and body composition.All these tests are performedusing US-FDA approvedbluetooth enabled point-of-carediagnostic equipment. These equipment transfer test resultsinstantaneously to a laptop orsmart-phone, which sends it to thecentral monitoring station (CMS)along with the entire informationcollected.

At the CMS, there is a teamof doctors that analyses allinformation and test results andcreates a comprehensive riskprofile. This risk profile, along withthe doctors report, nutritionistsguidelines, fitness experts tips and a health guide are sent to theindividual by email within 4-6 hours. If they want it in print, it isdelivered using next-day courierservice at no extra cost.

What is your target market for MakeMe Healthy? How do you plan toreach out to this market?

All of the above services are availableto retail customers as well ascompanies for health managementof their employees. We believe thateveryone has a right to good health.Therefore, the target market is anyindividual, group or organisationlooking to use technology enabledproactive care.

We have successfully launchedthe service and are now looking to take it pan-India. Our plan is toappoint franchise partners, whowill take care of the front end salesand assessment service-deliverywhile we take care of the backendoperations such as selectionof equipment, technologyintegration, set-up and training,managing team of doctors andexperts, scientific algorithmdesign and improvement andreport creation and delivery.

We are also looking to workclosely with hospitals, whowould want to provide theseservices under their ownbrand. We can take care of thecomplete preventive healthcaredepartment for hospitalsincluding marketing, sales, setup,health risk assessment andfurther counselling for primaryand secondary treatment at thehospital.

Apart from the end customer, whoelse can benefit from this service?

Since healthcare is a very complexindustry with several stake-holders,we see a lot of other agenciesbenefiting from this service. Wehave already discussed about howhospitals can benefi t by improvingtheir brand and business. Thesecond biggest benefi ciary will bethe pharmaceutical companies asthey could reach out to the right setof people who need their treatmentmethodologies by partnering withMake Me Healthy. We also see lifeand health insurance companiesas potential partners because theybenefit from knowing the risk profi leof their potential customers beforeissuing the policy of their existingcustomers on a periodic basis so theycould motivate them towards propertreatment to avoid any untowardincident of illness or death.

How do you see Make Me Healthybenefiting corporates and theiremployees?

The USD 336.6 billion burden ofchronic diseases primarily consistsof the opportunity cost of time lostby employees illness. Imagine yourmost important resource taking asick leave three days before the allimportant projects deadline!

These diseases come with severalco-morbidities like degeneration oforgans (kidney, lungs, eyes, nervoussystem etc.), slow healing of wounds,increased risk and slow recoveryfrom other diseases and ailments. Insevere cases, often amputation is theonly solution left.

In this era of cut-throatcompetition where quality of humancapital is the defi ning factor betweensuccess and failure, no organisationcan afford to lose good employees. Ifthe employees health is taken careof by the organisation, there is a very high chance that the retention periodand productivity of the employeewill increase. Studies suggest thatemployers who take care of theiremployees health needs see lowerrate of attrition as compared to peers not doing the same.

Which are some of the recentmilestones for Make Me Healthy?

The response to MMH has beenvery encouraging since its launch.To mention some of the recentmilestones, MMH has been awardedan exclusive contract by the DiseaseManagement Association of India(DMAI) to conduct Health RiskAssessment of India (HRAI). MakeMe Healthy also bagged both juryschoice and online voting award forthe eHealth Initiative of the Year2009 at the eRajasthan summit, heldon 18th December 2009 in Jaipur.

Make Me Healthy and The Timesof Indias wellness banner TimesWellness, jointly published a HealthGuide to be distributed to peoplefocusing on the risk of chronicdiseases.

Make Me Healthys HRAI effortswere featured in the DiseaseManagement Association ofAmerica: The Care Continuums
newsletter.

Where do you see yourself and MakeMe Healthy two-years down the line?

Our sincere effort is to makesure that people from all strata ofthe society get access to preventivehealthcare in the coming years.We see Make Me Healthy becominga pan-India phenomenon inthe long term and the next two yearswill be crucial for the same. In the next two years Make Me Healthy creatingits presence in at least 20 major citiesin India using franchise partners forLifestyle Health Risk Assessment.

When can we see the DiseaseManagement services in action?

Disease Management serviceswill be started in its first locationwithin Q1-2010. After thecompletion of first successfultraining, the learning thereof willbe incorporated in the programand the same will be replicatedat all our franchise locations.Therefore the expected time frameto see a wide-spread Disease Management program will bearound end of 2010.

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