Session Blog. See overview at IoTMATRIX 2020 Conference Summary
Moderator - Vijaya Kumar Ivaturi (IVK), Co-founder & CTO, Crayon Data.
Mr. Suthirth Vaidya Predible Health (Lung IQ)
Dr. Vishal Rao (AUM Box) HCG.
Ashish Gawade (Jeevtronics)
Mayur Sirdesai (Somerset IndusCapital Partners)
The panel joined to discuss the Affordability of Healthcare devices in India both from coverage and diagnosis with two devices manufacturers, one from software and the other from investment company. While Ashish from Jeevtronics built the world’s first cranked defibrillator, Dr. Vishal came out with an affordable voice box for cancer infected patients
Developing the defibrillator was conceived as a solution for rural India where power supply is always inconsistent and the cardiac arrest patients had to be responded within a 10 mins window. This device also works with an inbuilt generator. With Ashish’s earlier work experience and exposure to automotive industry and supplier ecosystem helped them leverage vastly to bring down the costs and really turned this product into a world-class ultra durable and affordable device in its category.
Dr. Vishal started with a quote from Dalai Lama who said, “Idea comes to you not from you”. He further added Healthcare innovations should have its roots in Patients and being a doctor, he could relate this over a couple of years. His motto was, Can I make my patients speak? This followed by mention of Occam's razor,
“A principle in science and philosophy, much applied in medicine, that one should try to account for an observed phenomenon in the simplest possible way and should not look for multiply explanations of its different aspects”
He stressed a need for Design Thinking for Health and Collaborate effort between health and non-health expert’s ecosystem has to be nurtured to bring simplicity to the device and always keeping the end user need in mind. Adding to that was, understanding demand and building a scalable business model with the role of distributors was very essential.
Suthirth Vaidya from Predible Health highlighted the challenged faced by their firm when they went to market as a software company as people never would want to pay for software and when they flipped around the model of giving built in software with the hardware is which something worked out with them. They specialized in applying machine learning techniques to patient’s radiology images. Like the previous panelists he too was of the opinion to identify the right problem and having scope to scale.
Our last panelist Mayur Sirdesai opined that MedTech and Diagnostics was a lucrative and opening up sector for investors and they looked for startups or companies with a technology for right use cases who good quality products in terms of innovation and for masses. He felt that MedTech is seeing similar patterns like indian pharma industry in 1980’s.
He highlighted that in India there are many distribution companies which have access to the ecosystems, and they should try to collaborate with innovators for product development and they can offer market access to these devices. While he mentioned that investment decision making takes longer in capital intensive business, but certain platform investors and innovators have come together to speed up these businesses.
Some of the other points that were touched upon where the panel felt was there has to be a balance between the social goal and investor community. Price, volume, target segment had to be understood and researched well before launch of any devices. The role of Govt. played an important role as a regulator and also as an important participant in the PPP model which mostly works in India for the healthcare sector post Covid environment.
On the Talent side, panelists uniformly addressed need for a well-balanced between knowledge and skills. Engineers need to hands on with stuff they work on. Also, cultural awareness about working in startup’s vs MNC’s was critical with interdisciplinary and other domains exposure was a must.
Pricing the devices was a critical factor and hence the panelist added do a proper market research first and then do engineering. Pricing models has to be different for each target market and they have to be dynamic and now the annual subscriptions model is moving to pay per use.