Devang Mody, CEO, Bajaj Finserv Health, talks about the new venture by Bajaj Finserv into the health tech biz, its growth prospects and how it will provide a comprehensive solution in the healthcare ecosystem, in an interaction with Sanjiv Das
- How has the health tech business evolved in India during the COVID-19 pandemic?
It has been seven months since we started living in this new reality of COVID-19, a reality that none of us had prepared for. The unique challenges unleashed by this pandemic, pushed us to quickly adapt to the ‘new normal’ and transform the way we work, learn and live. This health crisis has created an opportunity for a health tech business, for example, telemedicine has seen a massive growth and is expected to reach $5.5 billion by 2025. It’s also expected that around 20 per cent of the healthcare ecosystem will shift to virtual care, tele consultation, home visits etc. This pandemic has accelerated the adoption rate of technology in healthcare, like what happened to digital payments during demonetisation.
Bajaj Finserv has recently ventured into the health tech biz. Tell us more about the new venture?
The health sector is disaggregated today with service providers – practitioners, diagnostic centres, pharmacies, loan companies, insurance providers, all working independently. We believe that the healthcare ecosystem needs an essentially India-centric solution. While there are existing players offering solutions in certain parts of the healthcare ecosystem, there is a wide opportunity for a large group like ours who are entering this space and enabling connected healthcare solutions to improve the patient outcomes. Today, access to quality and affordable healthcare is what the consumers are looking for and that’s where we are striving for. Bajaj Finserv Health is a health management platform that integrates service providers and enables personalised healthcare
solutions to consumers, with the help of technology and data. Our research tells that much of the healthcare expenditure comes out-of-household pockets, which adds to the financial and emotional stress factors. We saw a problem that we could help solve and launched this new venture to improve the health outcomes of consumers by changing their behaviour from being reactive to proactive towards healthcare. Under Bajaj Finserv Health, we have launched ‘Aarogya Care’ an industry-first, one-of-a-kind, personalised, preventive, prepaid healthcare solution.
‘Aarogya’ means ‘good health and wellness’ and ‘Aarogya Care’ is our India-centric holistic approach towards solving the country’s health needs. We believe that attending to healthcare needs goes way beyond just visiting a clinic or getting access to healthcare facilities or having an insurance cover.
- How is it going to impact the company’s growth prospects?
Today, we stand at the forefront of a technological revolution and the health crisis that we were thrown at, a few months back, created an opportunity to build and live a digital-first environment. Consumers are looking for preventive healthcare with easy accessibility. With Bajaj Finserv Health, we are focussed on integrating the inter-connected yet disassociated service providers of the health ecosystem all under one roof, so that customers’ pain of accessing their services are taken care of. Because at the end of the day, all these services are complementary to each other. And, that’s where Bajaj Finserv Health is going to operate, to provide a comprehensive solution in the health ecosystem. It will also create a provider network of doctors, diagnostic labs and hospitals.
- What are your plans to reach out to the masses? How affordable will be the health packages?
Today, we are living in a connected world, where a digital-first experience in availing primary healthcare services is the need of the hour. Through a consumer first, digital approach, Bajaj Finserv has always tried to explore, understand and deliver innovative solutions to serve the unmet financial needs of Consumers in an increasingly ‘phygital’ world. So, we understand customers and their needs and challenges. Bajaj Finserv Health is into the health-tech space, where, using advanced technological capability and quality provider network, we bring affordable, accessible and personalised healthcare delivery closer to our Indian customers.
- With how many hospitals did you tie-up with?
Currently, Bajaj Finserv Health has presence in 232 hospitals distribution points with 189 partnerships and 671 lab distribution points with three partnerships.
- Which technologies have been used for this new venture?
Technology adoption would have been our biggest challenge before COVID-19. Now, in this post COVID world, technology adoption has become a must. Government policies and frameworks are also helping in giving this a meaningful direction. Timely issuance of tele-medicine guidelines helped remove ambiguities for what is allowed and not allowed. We are trying to make our solution extremely easy to use and ensure it solves a real problem for our partners and customers. Our technology solution is mostly homegrown with mobilefirst and fully on cloud. Our application development is on MERN stack giving us both performance and agility. DevOps process is fully followed with all tools from Azure. For e.g, we use Azure API gateway to secure and manage all APIs, use AKS to deploy, scale and manage docker containers. QA for mobile apps is done on third-party cloud device farms to test compatibility across a variety of devices. Our product and solutions are built to be data-driven from day one. We are investing heavily to use data to personalise our product offerings and app journeys. Just to give e.g. our PHR (Patient Health Record) on app enables text search within prescriptions and lab test reports uploaded as images making it easier for our customers to quickly retrieve the document stored.
- Tell us more about your business model?
Our approach is to provide access to the healthcare ecosystem. We have a trusted network of providers, which includes doctors, diagnostic labs and hospitals. We will have various products to service consumers, right from covering doctor consultations to yearly preventive health tests to hospitalisation. With the help of data management tools, we intend to offer personalised products to consumers. Our product suite will also include a healthcare management application which will allow consumers to interact with healthcare providers. Through our mobile app, customers can maintain health records digitally, which would be integrated with National Health ID.
- What are your plans for the next five years?
While the healthcare market is huge, at the same time, it’s extremely complex, primarily because of its fragmented nature. Long-term opportunities can be sizable, and we are focussed to create seamlessly
consumer experiences and develop a meaningful network of providers.