Telemedicine or Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies like through websites or online applications. Telemedicine allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients at a distance with care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions. This approach has been striking a chord with evolution in the last decade and it is becoming an increasingly important part of the healthcare infrastructure.
Vinayak Venkatesh, COO, GraphMyHealth, is a profit Centre Management Consultant with over 19 years of Multi-sectoral exposure across Geographies, and experience in leading pan-India Business Initiatives. He specializes in Product launches, Corporate Sales initiatives, Brand Management and PR, and other aspects of Business Development along with International assignments added to his list of experiences. He also has come up with an online application to get all the possible healthcare services under one roof through GraphMyHealth.
GraphMyHealth is a healthcare aggregator that aims to fulfill people’s healthcare needs by providing healthcare services at affordable prices without the hassle of visiting hospitals or clinics.
Many people, even today, lack access to basic healthcare facilities, either because they are unavailable, or because they are unaffordable. This app intends to bridge this gap by ensuring that services reach the patients timely and at optimal costs, and not the other way around. It helps patients in making informed decisions – right from the comfort of their home. Patients can book appointments, avail online video consultation with healthcare experts, book diagnostics, preventive health check-ups, and many such medical and home care services right from the app, without having to ponder anywhere.
Space telemedicine has evolved with times
Vinayak started his career with the telecom sector and from telecom, he moved to telemedicine which proved to be sensible for him, “At that point of time, we used to have a small budget to connect hospital in tier 1 cities and major healthcare hospitals to tier 2 and tier 3 clinics, so in a way, we were delivering different technology at that point in time. Since then we have moved on quite a lot because now telemedicine is not only used along within rural areas, it is also used in cities maybe as a specialty or a center of excellence, they use telemedicine technology to move forward and its use has evolved more strongly. In Fact, now the broadband and connectivity are much better as the company has progressed quite strongly as currently we have 4G technologies as far as cell phones are concerned and I believe even 5G technologies would be coming soon. So telemedicine especially in the current COVID scenario is quite strongly relevant cause people are hesitant to visit clinics and hospitals and even doctors are hesitant to check patients, so in the face of the current scenario, this is a logical solution and to safeguard everyone and there will be a better variant as we go further,” he says.
Multi-sectoral exposure across geographies
Vinayak has 19 years of Multi-sectoral exposure across Geographies, and experience in leading pan-India Business Initiatives,
“I did have a lot of exposure with regards to healthcare units and hospital's corporate groups across various geographies. I also had an opportunity to be exposed to a healthcare group internationally like the Middle East and Southeast Asia and I am also on quite a few platforms like Link where we offer healthcare advice. I am currently on a platform called CURRENT which is an AI platform that comes specifically to the latest in healthcare and AI blockchain technology in healthcare, so these are strongly relevant especially in the current scenario,” he says.
GraphMyHealth for innovative technology and medical facilities
Vinayak feels that there are 2 things lacking in the healthcare sector in India, “First and foremost there is a problem of shortage of trained healthcare people compared to our population, as per WHO standards, we have 1:1000 doctor-patient ratio, this is a very abysmal ratio. There is a concentration of super-specialists only in the tier 1 cities, so what happens to the remaining 60% of the population of our country that are in rural areas? You know they are not being addressed with the right quality of healthcare in spite of India boasting of expert medical specialists. The distribution is quite skewed in favor of tier 1 cities and this needs to be improved. The second point that I have faced all along in my career as far as healthcare is concerned is that there are 2 things that are lacking in healthcare that is trust and transparency. If you talk to anyone who has had an encounter with a hospital, they will feel that was not the best experience that our Indian hospitals are concerned; majorly it is because of the pricing aspect - why is the price so high? Have we been better priced? Do I have a secondary option? So all these questions have continuously been asked and we have encountered them. So we thought we should come up with a platform to address these basic questions that is where the seeds of GraphMyHealth came into the picture. We have formulated a team of healthcare professionals who have distinct exposure in the various corporate hospitals not only in India but we have implemented it in Middle East, Africa, Central Europe and we have international exposure,” he says.
All services in one app - GraphMyHealth
Vinayak and team thought to bring all the best healthcare practices in a singular health portal, “There are variety of portals with respect to healthcare for example there are a lot of apps available when you want to order medicines, get some diagnostic tests done and so on but we wanted to bring everything onto a singular platform, something similar to the app available in hotel sector where you want to book a room, so there is a comparative platform available, where you can compare the rates, check the vendor and user ratings as per your location, say for example you are in Baroda and you would like to see a doctor around you unless there is a super specialty like a cardiology problem and we know that the best cardiology hospital in Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai or Madras Medical Mission, Chennai so you would like to take a consultation with a cardiologist there so you book an online consultation and you don’t have to travel all the way so your primary issue has been addressed by GraphMyHealth. Next, you may need to get a diagnostic test done so that it is taken care of, next you’d like your medicines to be delivered to the home, that is also taken care of. Post this, if you are advised hospitalization, you can definitely take a second opinion so that is also available in the application. After taking a second opinion, if you would like to do a comparison as per the quality and pricing of a set of hospitals, so we have an option for that as well. Next, post-discharge if home care services like a nurse or some medical equipment like an oxygen cylinder are required, so that too is possible on this platform,” he says.
Electronic Medical Report
Vinayak believes that in the current day where Rs. 10 thousand mobile phones are available on EMI, why not healthcare? Wherein the amount is 3 – 4 lakhs, “So definitely people might require a bridge loan so we can arrange a loan going forward also health insurance. We also offer everything including AYUSH, Ayurveda, homeopathy, Unani, smart wearable integrations like step counter on a singular platform. So we intend to have all the services on a single platform. That helps to keep a track of your health and all this in turn is integrated into an Electronic Medical Report. So this will track and take care of not only yours but also your family member's health on a single platform. No person goes to one single doctor like for a toothache you go to a dentist for fever you go to a physician, so all these encounters are captured on one single platform and this is of advantage," he says.
"Our primary aim is to answer the questions with respect to transparency in healthcare and offer a value proposition to the user. If my platform saves Rs 100/- in the pocket of my user, we feel we are successful as then we feel strong value proposition,” he says
Graph My health is a multi-service - multi-vendor platform
Vinayak explains that Graph My health is a multi-service, multi-vendor platform which means for pharma delivery you will have 3 – 4 vendors, for diagnostic you will have multiple vendors, “Same is the case with hospitals associated, we intend to have all the best super specialty hospital onboarded with respect to any specialty. So the users will have the freedom to take services from any of these service providers and they will have the advantage of comparing the available options quality-wise, price-wise and of course with respect to proximity. So based on all these aspects, they can make a decision to their advantage. So we leave it to the users for a comparison platform,” he says.
Experience of working with Established Health care Providers
Vinayak has been the CEO of multiple hospitals like Mahatma Gandhi cancer hospital, Manipal hospitals, Sevenhills, Gleneagles global hospitals. He shares his experience of working with such big names, “We get to learn different things with respect to different assignments. I was associated with both multi-specialty and super-specialty hospitals. There are various challenges with respect to different kinds of assignments. I have also had the good fortune of being associated with both brownfield and greenfield projects," he says.
"Working for a brownfield multi-specialty hospital right from brand launch to everything, it is a challenge in itself. As far as greenfield project is concerned, planning the project right from scratch, going through execution, getting the necessary standard licenses like NABH, going forward looking at revenue and profitability, picking up the right talent to push the hospital forward, and keeping your cost-optimized so that you can tactically break in and move forward with respect to profitability, at the same time understanding what the shareholder's objectives are with respect to this project and pushing it as a unit head is a good challenge and as we channel the various projects. So there is a continuous focus,” he says.
Cancer care needs to be made affordable
Vinayak has been associated with Mahatma Gandhi hospital and Health Care Global, where he had the exposure to cancer care, “I feel that the biggest challenge in India is the cost of treatment for cancer which needs to be broadened and optimized and strongly made to be affordable. So all the corporate hospitals must go through this strong initiative and cancer care must be made affordable. Government initiatives like the Aarogyasri scheme in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana or the PM’s Jeevan Beema Yojna should be strongly integrated for cancer care as the Tata Cancer care initiative has been going on. These must be strongly encouraged. Also, as we go forward, there is going to be more and more pollution which in turn will lead to cancer which has become a normal occurrence now so screening capabilities must be strongly developed so this can arrest cancer spread. This needs to be addressed in the right fashion and there must be awareness initiatives created for people for example if people are properly screened and the right measures are taken at the right time, it is definitely preventable. I feel this knowledge is not properly given to our population and if all these awareness are bought in the right way, it will go a long way to help eradicate or at least help in decreasing the number of cases,” he says
GraphMyHealth is an affordable and no-hassle way to take care of health
Vinayak throws light on the current pandemic situation which has clearly brought into focus the lack of right kind of infrastructure as far as healthcare is concerned in our country, “I also believe that this kind of a crisis situation is a perfect way of seeing where we are and how we would smartly tackle these issues going forward. Now a day’s healthcare delivery in our country is slowly improving wherein we can take a consultation by just checking on an app. So telemedicine, mobile apps, and online-based apps are a great way of augmenting and supplementing this supply chain gap as far as healthcare is concerned to a large extent. So if you have a normal fever or back pain, you need not rush to the hospital. Earlier, if my child was unwell, I had to take a half a day off from office, schedule an appointment with the doctor, travel in traffic for the appointment, and maybe later take a diagnostic test as advised by the doctor, get medicines, so all this would take up half a day in tier 1 cities, and in tier 2 cities it is even more difficult, so we are trying to address this specific pain problem and once this is addressed and people get used to using this form of healthcare delivery consultation and medicines, it will go a long way and India is the fasted adapter of smartphones and mobile apps and by 2025, this market is going to grow almost 5.5 billion dollars only in India. So that is a huge segment to tap and we intend to be a huge chunk of that,” he says.
Our team has designed a wonderful product - Graph MyHealth
When there are different apps like Practo for online appointments, Credihealth and Hospital Suggest for finding the best hospital, DocsApp for online consultation with doctors, Vinayak explains the goal behind the GraphMyHealth app,
“I understand that the basic requirement of having a mobile phone is convenience, So why not have a single app to address all aspects of health? A good healthcare app should address all aspects of healthcare. So instead of keeping multiple apps on phone to say compare quality, pricing, different services, etc, one app is enough. No other app is available in the Indian health care system that is truly a healthcare aggregator platform and this is something which is lacking not only in India but also in the Middle East and other markets and we find that it is a struggle that the current Indian population uses various apps for various deeds," he says.
"Now is the right time to pitch aggregator platforms so they can compare various features and quality of care and delivery from multiple apps to a singular one. So I strongly feel that our team has designed a wonderful product which can really facilitate this kind of comparison and once that is done and people get used to it, believe me, they will not like to go to any other platform,” he says.
Good wishes to Medicircle.in
Vinayak shares few wishes for readers, “It has been nice sharing views with Medicircle.in. I believe that they are doing a great job, initiating people from healthcare, and especially in current COVID time. I believe this will be a very strong way of understanding the various ongoings in the field of healthcare. I wish you and your platform very good luck,” he says.
(Edited by Rabia Mistry Mulla)