Manisha Chowdhury, Co-founder and Managing Director, Aptsource Software, talks to eHealth about how her 7-year-old company has made a mark for itself in such a short span
When did Aptsource come into being and what was the original vision of the company?
Aptsource started operations in Janu- ary 2007 with a clear focus in Health- care IT. Aptsource always had a vi- sion to develop, acquire, and integrate health Information Technology capa- bilities for quick turnaround of cost effective software solutions for the healthcare sector.
Why Healthcare, I mean what was the driver for your business to specialize in Healthcare domain ?
Timely delivery of information to healthcare professionals is critical for delivery of the most appropriate care for the patients. I have witnessed loved ones falling victims to situations that demanded such timely informa- tion and complete lack of the same led to wrong decisions and fatalities!This has always troubled me inside and drove me to constantly explore how I could leverage technology for significant positive impact on improv- ing the quality of care and increasing access to healthcare. Based on my professional experience in Health- care IT markets with products and solutions across geographies, I still feel that in most of the developing countries health informatics is in its infancy and there are a myriad of op- portunities available, especially with changing regulations of the health- care industry and larger emphasis on prevention rather than cure.
What kind of work are you doing in the healthcare space?
Solution consulting services encom- passing Enterprise IT Strategy, Health- care Informatics Maturity Planning & ution , assessment of EHR readi- ness, analytics, implementation of risk stratification tools and techniques ( for chronic and long term ailment) and al- gorithms related to disease prevention. We work with partner companies in the UK on several such projects for NHS and its endorsed partners.
We also have our own product APTCARE which is a comprehensive and configurable EHR solution con- forming to international standards. We further have derivative web based solutions (from base version of Apt- care) for rehabilitation and commu- nity health settings .
It seems right now you do service business as well as product -would you like to transition to a pure playproduct company or continue to grow your service business as well?
We are a small team which also in- cludes few senior experts with dec- ades of experience in Health Infor- matics. These people are the core team that helps build the domain competencies as well as generate rev- enue from their specialized consult- ing skills. We plan to be seen more as a product company within the next two years, however, this service busi- ness which is earning us the desired insight and experience in the health- care domain should continue to com- plement as well as support our prod- uct initiatives.
Tell us about your product Aptcare? How is it different from other similar products?
As you know, the healthcare landscape is really complex with evolving regulations, new research findings, emerging technologies and diverse speciality practices . Hence, health- care practitioners no longer require static products but adaptable solu- tions that can evolve and support new trends and practices. Aptcare was built to keep pace with such changing trends in the most efficient way.
Aptcare rests on a domain model leaving the practice of healthcare in the hands of care providers and not software designers. Rather than guid- ing the clinicians to use the system adhering to its processes, the system can flexibly accommodate require- ments of diverse range of clinicians and their institutions by customiza- tion of data structure, screens, pro- cess etc. That makes it different enabling rapid implementation through customization techniques using scripts rather than having to change code. It has the capability to embed treatment protocol adapted from lo- cal, national and international guide- lines which can be configured using a simple toolkit.
“We plan to come up with our next release of the community health version for mother and child health in India & UK”
How big is the global market for EHR like that of Aptcare ? Where do you see market for Aptcare?
Driven by regulations and the Fed- eral Meaningful Use guidelines in par- ticular, the United States is expected to remain the largest EHR market and globally, with a projected annual growth rate of 7.1 percent , it will be total $9.3 billion by the end of 2015. As per reports in EMEA, where a slow economic recovery has prevented EHR growth in recent years, the market isexpected to grow from $6.5 billion in 2014 to $7.1 billion by the end of 2015. Government-funded initiatives are expected to generate most significant EHR growth in the Nordic countries (5.1 percent), United Kingdom (4.1 percent) and Germany (3.6 percent). Within EMEA, the United Kingdom is expected to remain the largest EHR market, growing to $2.1 billion by the end of 2015. Although the Asia Pacific region represents a smaller market, it is expected to grow 7.7 percent to $4 billion overall by the end of 2015, with country governments expected to in- vest in EHR initiatives through 2018.
Also from studies it is revealed that IT is being more widely available in re- source-poor areas, is allowing health advocates tackling complex challeng- es such as managing HIV/AIDS andtuberculosis. Successful EMR projects are now operating in such diverse lo- cations as Zambia, Peru, Haiti, Rwan- da, Kenya and Malawi.
Although US is the largest mar- ket, we are currently not planning to market Aptcare in the US unless we chance to strike strategic partner- ships in complementary areas. We have started selling the base version of Aptcare for both out-patient and in-patient care delivery in India and Africa. We are selling the rehabilita- tion version (which is a derivative of the base version) in the UK market which is more of a scheduling and bill- ing system for smoking, drugs and al- cohol management.
What is your business plan and product roadmap for the next 3 years?
We are still very small but have ag- gressive plans to grow our business in Mid-market in the developed economies with special focus on UK and rest of Europe as well as all seg- ments in the emerging Economies in Africa and Asia . While we are work- ing through our partner company in the UK right now, we have plans to set up Aptsource, UK within March 2015. Allen Carr is our recently acquired customer in the UK who should soon be going live with Apt- care (rehabilitation version) from 11 locations. As a next step we plan to closely work with their franchise clinics to see how they can also pos- sibly adopt Aptcare within a reason- able time frame.
We have implemented Aptcare al- ready in Lusaka and currently working on a decent pipeline. Considering the business opportunities we also would like to expand in Africa through our own branch office in Lusaka very soon.
Needless to mention that we have a desire to add customers in India and we are already working on several possibilities to tie up with consult- ants working on Healthcare projects across India.