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Interview 2016-07-01

FHIR is now being known globally as de-facto interoperability standard: Varun Anand

The HealthTech market is to grow at a CAGR of 9.5 per cent from 2016-2020 and is expected to cross US$ 182 million by fiscal 2020.

FHIR is now being known globally as de-facto interoperability standard: Varun Anand

In 2008, a child in the US suffering from cancer was shifted to Sloan Kettering Memorial from Florida. The hospital had to put together all the patients’ records and FedEx it to the Sloan Kettering Memorial which took a couple of days to get that data out. The incident made headlines as the child lost his life due to long waiting for the required data transfer from one hospital to the other.

While, the doctor at Sloan Kettering Memorial made a statement saying that in today’s day and age, even if I had this information a day before, I could’ve put this kid on some kind of an experimental drug which could’ve at least elongated the life or improved the chances of his survival.

Taking note of this lack of resources and time management, Mahesh Uberoi, President and CEO of My Personal Health Record Express (MphRx) conceptualized this venture to facilitate the healthcare space with speedy access to data delivery of patient’s health.

Further elaborating on the business DNA of MphRx, Varun Anand, Co-founder, MphRx told WI Bureau, “Our initial idea was to bring patient at the center of everything. Thus, the title of the venture MphRx came out of My Personal Health Record Express. The idea was that patients should be able to walk into any hospital, get their patient record maintained and make keep a record of it which may include heavy files of ultrasounds and MRIs report.”

He further informed that their investigation the area for the solutions, it became a nightmare. Hospitals were running on closed legacy systems ensuring that we handled enterprise by enterprise. User platforms couldn’t have scaled just yet at that time due to limited mobile internet proliferation. This was the same time when giants like Google health failed.”

A well-funded venture

HealthTech wasn’t a fancy business model when we started this venture. VC community was hesitant owing to slow IT adoption by the hospitals. Accordingly, we decided to create a platform which had the capability to connect to any hospital IT system so as to allow patients and physicians to access data from any location. We tasted early success with largest privately held imaging center chain in the US who also eventually came in and invested in the company and the other one was Max Healthcare. We consciously haven’t raised a lot of fund owing to the complex IT structures. Our revenues have funded us comfortably till now. Over the last 12 months, we have been able to evolve our Minerva platform further by leveraging Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR).

eWellness in India

We are one of the few healthcare IT enterprises which have a product development unit in India but truly addressing the global markets’ need and demand as well. We thrive on innovation and picking up one of the most difficult challenges in the healthcare IT – record aggregation and health analytics. Our global partnerships vouch for that. We are one of the few health care IT enterprise companies which have a product development unit India, but truly addressing the global markets. Our global partnerships and clientele which include some of the largest healthcare chains across different corners of the world testify it. Over the last 12 months we were able to evolve our Minerva platform further by leveraging FHIR.

Marketing strategy

We follow a different approach. Our nimble structure and tech orientation allowed us to commercially deploy a platform at minimal investment. This is the same area where large giants have spent millions of dollars to demonstrate a solution leave aside commercial deployments.

Revenue model

Our current revenue model is enterprise SaaS. We are evaluating new GTM models whereby we are breaking down the entry level barrier to subscription, anchored around interoperability and patient engagement. We are in talks with some national level health organizations to deploy our solution on revenue sharing models

Overcoming challenges

Healthcare IT was not really the talk of the hear with the investors when we first started off. Slow IT Adoption and traditionally long sales cycles were obviously discomforting for investors lured with the quick wins of other industry verticals.

However, we were convinced that the idea of making Healthcare information interoperable was a problem worth solving, and while it may take longer than setting up an online business, the overall market size was unparalleled. It was important for patients and physicians to have access to their data regardless of where they were, and more importantly to bring healthcare up to the technology adoption of its other industry peers.

We tasted early success with several large health systems signing up with in both the US and India. We consciously did not rise outside capital so as to cultivate a more sustainable growth story for the company. The power of being a near bootstrapped company that has grown on revenues has been the ability to make some critical decisions that lead to growing value for customers and users rather than focus on metrics that may not necessarily reflect the health of a business.

In one of our major decisions, we decided to re architect our entire platform and create Minerva, which has been a culmination of all our learning in the space. We leveraged a new Healthcare standard called FHIR and are one of its first production uses, which is now being acknowledged as the de-facto future proof interoperability standard in Healthcare. We even presented our new platform at a meeting with various stakeholders at the Office of Science & Technology (White House) in the US along with one of our customers.

We today have some large multi-billion dollar companies as partners that are selling our Minerva platform in over a 100 countries world-wide and are actively engaged with various national level health programs globally to further grow on our impact in this space.

The fact that we were outsiders to Healthcare, and took a fresh technology oriented approach to solving problems in Healthcare has allowed us to deploy our platform at minimal costs globally.

Geographical presence

Currently our primary markets are US, UK & India. We are now selling our solution in 100 countries via our strategic partners like Agfa, TechM and Dell. Our products are being leveraged by +250k physicians and aggregate+40 million records annually, growing exponentially.

Pricing strategy

Market requirements vary as per geography and accordingly our pricing models too. In 2016 we intend to add patient licensing models to our standard enterprise licensing models. This will allow for smaller hospitals and labs to leverage our platform to offer better patient engagement propositions at a fraction of their current IT spend. We intend to empower all forms of health entities like hospitals, path labs, radiology labs and doctors to offer best forms of remote patient engagement without incurring any significant costs.

Technical upgradation

Like any other startup we are short staffed to the extent, that even the founders frequently code and fill the gap. To be honest, that also helps us be in touch with the developers and us closer to reality. We are looking for mavericks across the stack – product design, management and development. We are kind of equally split between the core backend platform and mobile platforms (iOS & Android). We have also started to beef up our analytics team. That will need both the clinical experts and data scientists. Especially looking at the volume of data that our platform handles today, they will have their hands full.

Future plans

As we step into 2016, we are looking at packaging some of our enterprise solutions into SaaS models particularly for emerging markets like India and Africa. One of such products is our ‘forward platform’ that allows patients to send in all their health records from the comfort of their homes directly into hospital’s IT systems. It allows for precise patient scheduling, treatment prioritization amongst other benefits. It is expected to drive 25 per cent more efficiency in terms of patient engagement. In the U.S patients typically waste $11.2 billion worth of time waiting either for patient admission, coordinating with emergency response team or patient transfers. Forward is focused in driving this efficiency. We can well imagine the scenario for a country like India. If people from remote corners could send out their records, hospitals could e-refer to other hospitals if they were not in a position to offer treatment.

We are also working on creating a health ecosystem to aggregate patient information from various points in the patient journey and make it accessible for him for lifetime.

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