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Aiming to serve 10cr patients globally, set up network of 10 lakh healthcare professionals in 5 yrs: QurHealth

Telemedicine reducing healthcare costs significantly; Hyderabad proves to be a front runner in digital healthcare adoption

Ravi Kunduru, Founder, CEO, QurHealth
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Ravi Kunduru, Founder, CEO, QurHealth

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Chennai-based healthcare data management company QurHealth is on a mission to redefine personalised patient healthcare to improve patient quality of care, patient engagement and patient education. The subsidiary of US-based Ventech Solutions leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and data analytics to promote research and innovation in healthcare technology. The company has multi-year contracts with over 100 hospitals and 2,000 doctors serving 2.5 lakh patients in its first 10 months of business growth. Ravi Kunduru, Founder and CEO of QurHealth, shares with Bizz Buzz his vision to serve 10 crore patients globally, while also establishing a network of 10 lakh healthcare professionals over the next five years

QurHealth was incepted in India about two decades ago. In 2016, we pivoted towards health-tech research and innovation to redefine personalised healthcare worldwide. We introduced Sheela – India's first multilingual conversational AI health assistant in 2020 to help people track their activities using their smartphones and Alexa

How has been the journey of QurHealth? What is the revenue model?

QurHealth was incepted in India about two decades ago. In 2016, we pivoted towards health-tech research and innovation to redefine personalised healthcare worldwide. We introduced Sheela – India's first multilingual conversational AI health assistant in 2020 to help people track their activities using their smartphones and Alexa.

Furthermore, to ramp up the war against Covid-19, we launched QurOne, India's first patient care concierge programme; through that, we effectively served more than 600 patients over the course of seven weeks and were felicitated with the prestigious 'IHWs 2021 Gold Award for our innovative Covid-19 response.

What kind of products and solutions does QurHealth provide to its customers? How is it different from other healthcare providers in India?

The onus of ensuring individuals remains healthy and has easy access to quality healthcare falls on the government as well as the country's health-focused ventures. Only with the convergence of industry players, service providers, and medical professionals, along with cutting-edge technology, can this be made possible.

At QurHealth, we leverage industry best practices and cutting-edge technologies such as AI, ML, and Data Analytics to promote an innovative paradigm for patient quality of care and patient interaction with caregivers, doctors, and hospitals for better quality healthcare. We are intending to revolutionise the way diagnoses and treatments are made. Our success and USP to clients is the power of 'Sheela', the world's first personalised and multilingual patient health care assistant, to help patients manage over 30 disease conditions using their smartphones and Alexa. QurPlan, a super flexible disease care plan and therapeutic diet plan, ensures that medical experts can deliver high-quality care and guidance to patients.

What is the overall team size at present and are you going to add to the headcount in the near future?

We are a company of about 125 members spread across Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad. QurHealth inculcates the people-first philosophy in its work culture, and our creative team members use their freedom of thought to deliver their best work. We plan to expand our operation to the Mumbai-Pune region from the next quarter.

Let us know about the expansion plans in Hyderabad? Why is it an important market for QurHealth?

Presently, we have 30 resources in Hyderabad spread across various departments like technology, corporate and clinical sales, clinical excellence, customer experience, and operations. We plan to expand the team in the region aggressively in the coming year. We are seeing great adoption in Hyderabad concerning digital healthcare.

Also known as the healthcare capital of India, Hyderabad is proving to be a front runner in digital healthcare adoption compared to other tier-I and tier-II cities. Hospitals are adding more satellite branches in districts to accommodate the needs of patients. With people becoming more aware and adopting digital healthcare, personalised care is gaining traction.

QurHealth's offerings further add an advantage to this rapidly growing ecosystem. We are redefining personalised healthcare with virtual care support, care planning, and professional dietary advice. We provide the users with a seamless interaction with each healthcare touchpoint to give them the experience they are looking forward to and deserve.

Could you throw some light on the investments made by the company till now?

The company is currently funded by its parent organisation Ventech Solutions. So far, around $10 million has been invested in building the current technology, process and people to reach the company where we are today.

Are you looking to raise funds or acquire any similar company? What is the vision for the next five years?

Our current growth has already garnered much interest from investment firms, and few of them are in touch with us. We are evaluating our options and will move forward very soon. Our target is to achieve $1 million in revenue in next three quarters with a projection to grow to $36 million over three years with a deep footprint in India and US.

Over the next five years, globally, our goal is to serve 100 million patients as their safe and trusted care concierge company. Establish 1 million providers and healthcare professionals. We would also like to create one lakh QurPlans with a customisable catalogue for doctors, hospitals, payers and patients.

What is the market size of health tech or healthcare data management in India?

While the healthcare industry was one of the largest even prior to the pandemic, the crisis has sparked a surge in demand for digital health services, pushing healthcare to move beyond the hospital's four walls. Digitisation is delivering high-quality care to everyone efficiently, allowing them to benefit from an innovative, inclusive and technologically advanced experience.

Indian health-tech market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 39 per cent from FY2020 to FY2023, reaching $50 billion by 2033. India's telemedicine sector will be worth $5.5 billion by 2025. This is primarily due to traditional methods alone being insufficient to resolve these challenges, necessitating the development of technology-enabled new techniques.

Given the statistics and the rapid adoption of technology in the sector, we can safely say that the healthcare market will witness astronomical growth in the coming years.

How is technology supporting the healthcare sector in the country?

Due to the pandemic-induced disruptions, there has been an accelerated need for a robust and effective healthcare system that can offer high-quality, personalised diagnosis and adequate treatment and care. Technology and innovation have significantly improved people's lives by enhancing day-to-day management, addressing problems, and lowering expenditures globally.

Furthermore, patients nowadays expect healthcare providers and platforms to recognise and fulfill their most basic needs. So, several healthcare organizations are incorporating AI and chat bots into their systems to enhance diagnosis accuracy, eliminate human error, improve customer service, streamline request processing, and provide proactive and personalised care.

Digital disruption is altering the structure of the healthcare system by simplifying the path to universal healthcare coverage.

What are the significant changes in this sector post the pandemic period?

Pandemic has resulted in a paradigm shift in the healthcare delivery system. While the developed countries were conducting mass testing and securing their citizens during this time, the Indian healthcare ecosystem was stretched thin and needed to be bolstered. This was when the private sector swooped in with innovative solutions that digitised healthcare in the country.

We have seen a massive change in the way hospitals and other stand-alone clinics are operating now. Hospitals are now shifting many in-patient healthcare services to remote or home care services. The massive gap in demand and supply is also being addressed with tele-health tools. Telemedicine is now playing an instrumental role in reducing healthcare costs to the patient.

Besides, remote monitoring of patients' well-being and chronic medical conditions is helping patients avoid unnecessary hospitals visits and thereby improving healthcare delivery. On the other hand, patients are also benefiting immensely by digitisation, given the convenience and comfort that remote healthcare offers.

New ways to control chronic conditions and the demand for personalised care have also increased. Patients have appreciated the faster response time and the convenience of managing and monitoring their care from home. As for the government, it has supported the private players a lot in the quest for better access to healthcare. Our government is doing its bit, from forming new guidelines to support telemedicine to launching programmes to encourage patients to utilise such platforms. The biggest healthcare scare has just been witnessed worldwide, and we are still recovering from the massive impact. The focus has now shifted towards a more proactive approach than reactive.

How digital health monitoring is saving the lives of people, particularly older people?

Digital health tech significantly impacts older people who need a little extra care. From sharing patients' information with doctors to prescribing medicines and giving round-the-clock monitoring, digital health tech has made care more accessible. Remote monitoring is helping older persons to avoid unnecessary hospital visits, and eliminating the possibility of fatality.

Apart from that, the smart health monitoring devices empower them with a personal healthcare provider that offers real-time medical support, generates alerts, facilitates early intervention, and remotely monitors their health status, proactively saving lives.

N Sharath Chowdary
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