What’s Tripping Healthcare in India and How Startups Are Tackling It
Monday, April 13, 2015
Today, in India, banks send alerts on financial risks instantaneously, ecommerce companies use tech tools to coax users to buy, and social networking sites are creating personality profiles of its users. However, hospitals still do not have the technology to predict and alert us about critical health risks. Most of them don’t even have digital systems to capture medical data to create a health history.
Technology professionals have already spotted this huge gap and are moving fast to fill it.
Take Subhasish Sircar for instance. He holds a PhD in material sciences and was working with the NASA in the US. His friend, a seemingly-healthy 32-year-old, who underwent regular health checkups, suddenly passed away of a cardiac arrest. His health history had suggested risk factors but the doctors did not convey those to him because they didn’t know its severity.
This prompted Sircar to pack-up and return to India. He started Health Vectors, which does health risk assessment and provides analytics, in 2011. “In spite of all medical advances, we are still stuck with the “detect and contain” stage. But by the time you detect diseases like diabetes, it is too late as you have to start taking medicines there on. We want to be in the “predict and prevent” domain,” says Sircar.
Vishal Gondal is another entrepreneur for whom his own personal experience led him into health care.
Gondal launched a wearable device called Goqii, which is a virtual fitness coach to help you build a strong immune system.
“I was running a gaming startup before this. It made me round as a volleyball as I would eat too many pizzas and never exercise. After it got acquired, I thought I will download all the fitness apps and get fit. But nothing worked. I had to consult a fitness coach who kept suggesting meals and recommended exercise daily,” recalls Gondal. Today, Goqii does the same prodding through its device and app.
All his efforts at Goqii are towards reducing doctor visits. But then, Gondal is also interested in in startups that make money when patients visit a doctor. He is an angel investor in Ziffi, an online portal which helps users book appointments with doctors, diagnostic clinics, masseur, and so on. The startup claims to provide verified ratings on their site.