Healthcare Start ups Healthcare Technology

How Indian start-ups are making the mark in the global healthcare technology space?


(Source: Venture Intelligence)

At the ICU of one of the largest hospital in Victoria, Australia a robot helps the oncologist treat cancer by precisely inserting a needle in the affected area to burn and freeze the patient’s tumor, a technique better known as ablation. The robot had a strip under his right arm mentioning “Made in India” which amazed the Australian oncologist. Yes, he read those words correctly and this is just an example of how India based organizations/start-ups are changing the face of healthcare and leaving their footprints across the globe. This state of the art, next-generation robotic healthcare device has been developed by Chennai-based start-up, Perfint Healthcare. This device provides clinicians the luxury to perform complex procedures with high degree of accuracy, minimal invasion and less side effects.

In 2012, the healthcare industry enjoyed great private equity and venture capital investments and trend is likely to continue for coming years. These funds play a pivotal role in backing up start-ups such as Perfint which are engaged in developing such cutting-edge technologies in areas such as medical devices, stem cells and next generation drugs. These breakthrough innovations are rapidly transforming India into a serious contributor to the medical technology market.

Aarin Capital, a private equity $100 million fund, is a front runner that invests in Life Sciences start-ups.  Artiman, another US based venture capital firm, which manages a global corpus of $750 million (about Rs. 4100 crore) is adopting ‘deal creation’ model to find potential start-ups with proof of concept for their ideas. This model, where the capitalists throws a bait of idea and wait for interested candidates with a unique business model to make that idea viable, is doing very well in US and now is being adopted in India as well.  Artiman, replicating this model, has done 3 major investments in healthcare sector in India across fields such as drug discovery, cancer diagnostics and imaging technology.

In 2011, for Indian start-ups, there were 38 deals worth $421 million in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector whereas in 2012 this sector attracted $1.2 billion worth of investments from private equity and venture capital players. This emerging confidence of the investors is based on the fact that over the last decade more number of Indians are returning from the west, driving this surge of new startups in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector. Also, the supply is on the lower side and the demand continues to rise.

The biggest challenge for such innovation-driven startups is to follow-on capital as it is still very risky for an investor to infuse money into such startups. However, these startups with their science and innovative products are also aiming to attract capital from global pharmaceutical companies.  Stempeutics Research, a Bangalore based organization, achieved capital investment from Cipla for their research on stem cells.

Do you believe that Indian brain backed by appropriate money power can make a difference in the healthcare sector?  What are major challenges that Indian startups can face in achieving this and how to overcome those?

By Dr Sumeet Kad


About the author

Sumeet Kad

Marketing and Business strategy professional with considerable experience in marketing and consulting for MNCs and Fortune 500 clients in the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry  Dr. Sumeet is an avid reader, social media evangelist and has authored various blogs on marketing, branding, healthcare and life-sciences and social media.

He also manages his blog The New Age Marketing Blog. Find him at his Linkedin Page and follow him at @sumeetkad.

Healthcare Start ups Healthcare Technology Public Health

How Tele-medicine is changing Healthcare delivery in India

when we talk of tele-medicine the first thing that comes to our mind is helplines. Like the 104 helpline that has been running in Assam and Andhra Pradesh.  The success of the 104 helpline has led to it being set up in Karnataka as well.

But Tele-Medicine is more than just helplines. It is the delivery of healthcare consultancy, advice and treatment guidelines over technology negating the need for the patient and doctor to be co-located. It is nothing but the extension of how we work in virtual teams, connected by internet and telephony.

What makes Tele-Medicine a necessity in India is the distribution of the Indian population, 70 % of which is spread over 700,000 villages in India, most with population less than 1000 people. The second factor necessitating the need for Tele-Medicine in India is the lack of doctors and trained nurses. If current estimates are to believed there is a short fall of 600,ooo doctors in India. To add to it now we have low cost portable monitoring device like the $ 100 Ultra Sound developed by GE. and Finally we have the wide spread reach of mobile communication, where India has more mobile phones than toilets.

According to a report by Infinity research the global tele-medicine market is around $ 9 billion with a CAGR of around 20 %. But the Indian market is relatively very small at about $ 7.5 Million according to a quote from KSA Technopak in a Wharton interview.

When I was a practicing dentist, I would often receive telephone calls from my friends and relatives for advice on their dental problems. I have also analysed and studies X rays sent over MMS and SMS and given by diagnosis. So I was way into Tele-medicine space before it was established as a practice. Even today my colleagues  give advice and prescriptions to their patients over phone for non critical symptoms.

But the challenge remains can doctors make money by consulting over phone? Because the basis of capitalism is gtting compensated for effort otherwise the idea does not take off.

hellomy_logoIn my search for the answer, I came across the Hyderabad based start up “Hello my Doctor”. Founded by Raj SN, the venture is looking at ways to monetize phone consultations for doctors. ” Most Doctors are already consulting patients over phone” Says Raj, “Our vision was to create a platform by whoch doctors could provide consultation for their existing patients”.

The system is based on the simple fact that doctors should be able to provide preliminary care over phone and cal only those patients that require intervention to the clinics. That was both the doctor and the patientcan optimize their time.  Currently Hello my doctor has around 150 doctors already registered, and Raj and his team are embarking on the next step and that is to educate the patients on the advantages of Tele-medicine consulting.

The process is simple, the patients receive a toll  number and an extension number of the doctor they want to reach. The doctor chooses how much he wants to charge for the consultation. ” We usually advice the doctors to set limits per minute as it goes along with the call metering methodology followed by most telecom providers”

The patient has to buy coupons for various denominations from the site and then he can call his doctor. The doctor also sets the best times that he is available for the consultation. So this is a win win situation as the doctor saves time and gets paid for consulting over phone and the patient is able to talk to the doctor and probably avoid a visit to the clinic.

But doctors want more than just tele-consulting their existing patients, they would ideally want to take on more patients through this medium. and this is where patient education becomes important and a necessary step for the idea to succeed.

This model is  unique and has been successfully been implemented in UP by US based World Health Partners. They have set up an extensive Tele-Medicine network in UP, which has received almost 35,000 calls till date since 2008. All patients requiring intervention are then directed to WHP’s franchisee clinics in the area. The model covers Meerut, Bijnor and Muzzafarnagar. The solution is branded under the name of Sky Care Providers and Sky Health Centers. All of them are provided basic training and given infrastructure to enable them to run the Tele-Medicine centers.

Similar system is being run by Apollo group, Narayana Hruduyalaya, Aravind Eye Hospital and Asia Heart Foundation. But none of them have the scale currently to cover the entire nation.

In such a situation the state supported 104 numbers seem to be the best bets.  also in my opinion there is a need to develop these facilities with a focus on providing primary care and basic consultation which can cover the bulk of the Indian population.

But a public helpline number funded by Pharmaceutical and Medical Device firms seems to be another option that is opening up. Raj SN of Hello my Doctor is working on one such model.

Some very successful initiatives like the AIDs helpline in Hyderabad are a testament to the fact that Tele-medicine has a future in the country.”The AIDs helpline receives more than 700 calls a day” Says Raj “And that shows that there is a need”

In conclusion, Telemedicine is all set to erupt in the Indian Healthcare Space. What it needs is a push and hopefully efforts like the 104 numbers and ‘Hello my Doctor” would just give the right fillip to lead India to healthier times.



Healthcare Technology

Hotspot profiling for health insurance segmentation

(Image Source: MSN

Segmentation is the basis for any marketing campaign. Traditionally is it defined as dividing the market according to certain characteristics like Geographic regions or Psychographics, but customer segmentation should be based on benefit.


Currently clustering is a key tool that being but to do segmentation based on benefits. Customer segmentation with clustering tools has its own drawbacks. One major weakness of clustering is that’s it is un-supervised in nature. That is to say, customers are segmented using information which does not include customer response informant ion (or performance data on business aspects). In other words, it is not geared for best results.


Rather it relies on luck! Unless you find useful patterns in clusters.


A better customer segmentation method is Hotspot Profiling Analysis. Hotspot searches segments with highest (or lowest) responses (or performances). In principle, it does the similar job as clustering. But it is focused to maximize response (or performance) indicators and directed to search such segments. In general, you just get better results using clustering than random techniques. With hotspot analysis, on the other hand, you may be able to achieve best results. Generally, you can expect better results than clustering.


Hotspot profiling analysis drills-down data systematically and detects important relationships, co-factors, interactions, dependencies and associations amongst many variables and values accurately using Artificial Intelligence techniques such as incremental learning, and generate profiles of most interesting segments. This can be applied customer data to find profiles of most (or least) responsive segments that can be used to develop marketing plans.

Health Insurance Customer Segmentation

In insurance industry, profiling is very important in determining premium rates. Typically, insurers collect information available. However, analyzing thoroughly is not feasible since the number of variables is normally large. The following two examples demonstrate how hotspot profiling analysis can be used in profiling risky insurance policies out of dozens of customer variables.



An insurance company keeps health insurance records in its database: gender, age, education, smoking, drinking, sun activity, height, weight (=obesity level), claim payment, etc., as well as contact information. The company wishes to know which health insurance groups are at the highest risk, i.e., have the highest claim ratio. The following is a possible output of hotspot analysis;

In this case we can see the probability of this individual claiming is much higher given the set of characteristics that determine his risk exposure.

This methodology would go a long way in the Health insurer’s new policy of concentrating on the average premium per member rather than the number of members added.


Healthcare Technology

An iPhone application to reduce anxiety



Mobile applications have been used for a variety of reasons. from buying movie tickets to reading news and to listen to music. But researchers in Mayo clinic have come up with an application for Apple devices to reduce anxiety.

The application named “Anxiety Coach” is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, which is considered the best way to handle fear and anxiety related disorders.

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria’s official blog, Anxiety Coach was developed by two clinical psychologists who are recognized as experts in the treatment of anxiety disorders – Stephen Whiteside, Ph.D., director of the Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Program at Mayo Clinic, and Jonathan Abramowitz, Ph.D., an adult anxiety disorders specialist at the University of North Carolina.(Source:

Some of the key features for the application are

  1. A self test to measure the severity of the fear and anxiety
  2. Provision to create a personal plan to manage the anxiety
  3. A library of more than 500 use cases of how other users have handled anxiety in the past
  4. A record of attacks
  5. Monitoring progress
  6. Tools to identify when the fear becomes a medical problem

The application is available for download from itunes for $ 4.99 at

Hopefully the application will help reduce the anxiety of people in India and abroad.



Healthcare Technology

Technological trends in ehealth

Trends in eHealth Technologies – International Perspectives and Developments-Dr Vikram Venkateswaran

(Paper was featured in the eworld forum 2011)