The healthcare and medical device sectors have grown significantly in the last decade. At present, many medical device manufacturers (domestic and international) are chasing this massive under penetration of medical devices in India as a significant growth opportunity.
India is among the top 20 markets for medical devices worldwide. The market is expected to increase at a 37% CAGR to reach US$ 50 billion in 2025, from Rs. 75,611 crore (US$ 10.36 billion) in 2020. The medical devices sector in India comprises large multinationals and small and midsized companies.
The Government of India (GOI) has commenced various initiatives to strengthen the medical devices sector, with emphasis on research and development (R&D) and 100% FDI for medical devices to boost the market. FDI inflow in the medical and surgical appliances sector stood at US$ 2.35 billion between April 2000-December 2021.
Chandrasekhar K is the Founder & CEO of Forus Health Pvt. Ltd. Forus Health is a medical technology company with an audacious goal — to eradicate preventable blindness — a global healthcare challenge today.
Product offerings from Forus Health
Chandrasekhar K says, “Our primary inspiration came from Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai. India has the largest blind population in the world. The reason for this is-
- Fewer doctors
- Prone to cataract
- Diabetes on high rise
We felt that this country of 1.4 billion people has only 20k ophthalmologists and we need to bridge this gap using technology. So, we started with this company called Forus Health. We wanted to solve the problem using our technology and that is why we started with Forus Health. The goal is to eradicate avoidable blindness with our technology by complementing the best hospitals for our clinical technology.”
USP of Forus Health Pvt. Ltd.
Chandrasekhar K informs,” The USP and primary difference compared to any eyecare is that we did not want to become an eye care device system but instead we wanted to eradicate the avoidable blindness. Medical device was a consequence. There is a goal and a mission is there in everything we do. The goal was to solve the problem. The gaps found were-
- Expensive medical devices
- High-end hospitals
- A specialist requirement
When you want to do screenings for people, there is a need for technology. It should be accessible to the common man. So, we started building medical devices by focusing on three areas-
- Comprehensive Retinal imaging for adults
- Advanced Neonatal imaging
- Innovative Refraction
This is how we started. We have about 3000 installations in 50 + countries and we have touched the lives of 9 million people so far globally. When we started building up devices, it was meant to be public health. To go into public health, we can't just be a device company. We built an end-to-end platform- the largest teleophthalmology project with Govt of Andhra Pradesh and Apollo Hospitals. We have complemented this with Artificial Intelligence into a platform for improving productivity. We have started to engage corporate and home screening to provide people and connect them to the hospital ecosystem. We are unique globally in holistic eye solutions.”
The imaging can help in perfect diagnosis with the interpretation of an ophthalmologist. We are not compromising on clinical expertise. Our goal is to eradicate avoidable blindness. It's not just about screening, it's about getting treatment for the problem. This is the overall objective where we are pushing people to get the problem solved by opting for treatment. ”
Funding raised so far for Forus Health
Chandrasekhar K says, “We have raised money of 18.3 million dollars in 3 series Accel Partners, IDG Ventures, and Asian Healthcare Fund. We have used this to build products and market penetration. We have regulatory approvals for many 50+ countries. The money has been used for raising the platform. The platform has got HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity compliance. We have ensured that data privacy has been built as well. Most of the fund has been used primarily for these.”
Employment for the needy
Chandrasekhar K informs,” We need to give opportunities for rural entrepreneurship who can take up the ownership activities for a village and for the community. This helps in taking care of the community and livelihood. The rural entrepreneur should be able to manage that where he can do collection and imaging and no interpretation and this will ensure access to rural locations and livelihood for people. These can be semi-healthcare people who can be communicated for regular screening. Disease management is very important in chronic eye care problems like glaucoma and macular degeneration. We should provide access to people to avoid these chronic eye problems by taking images and sending them to hospitals. There is a very big role of access and technology in primary care, preventive care, and disease management.”
Revenues in FY22- FY23 for Forus Health
Chandrasekhar K informs,” We are a venture-funded company so we don't disclose revenues. However, we have picked up positively from covid to last year. We are planning to grow back to 70 - 80%. We wanted to build a company from scratch in India which is reasonable in the medical device space for not just creating devices but offering services.”
Goals and future expansion plans for Forus Health
Chandrasekhar K states, “We basically focus on increasing reach and screening more people with refractive errors. It's a combination to build more devices to fill these gaps for building a comprehensive platform to connect doctors and patients for managed care. Our main focus is to multiply this 9 million impact to 100 million impacts. This is our goal.”
Message from Expert- Forus Health
Chandrasekhar K advises, “In my experience, the deeper you understand a problem, you will find solutions. The primary objective is not technology and implementation, but it is to understand the problem for better solutions. This will help you to build a product with a solution. Understanding the problems with various questions for deeper understanding will give you solutions for problems. India has bright minds for better solutions. Do it thoroughly, India can be a very big player. We need to think of building global products and take care of hygiene factors to build technical and aesthetic products. Your mindset is important for a world-class product.”
Edited By: Dr.Rati Parwani
Contributed By: Chandrasekhar K, Founder & CEO, Forus Health Pvt. Ltd