Watching the footsteps of the great: Apollo Hospitals
Redefining Healthcare Industry with its telemedicine deftness to foster equitable access to healthcare services
Pooja Kundoo • The CEO Magazine
There’s always something to take from the treasured endeavor of a brand that has nurtured itself as a household name. Apollo Hospitals, one of the most successful and pioneered Telemedicine titans across the globe, has always striven to reinforceaccesses-able quality healthcare for the communities, both across the urban and rural geographies. Hoisting a global expertise of 18 years within the domain of Telemedicine, Apollo’s mettle has been acknowledged globally for creating one of the largest and the oldest multi-specialty Telemedicine networksin the world. The bedrock of this healthcare pioneer was laid back in 1999 by Prathap C. Reddy as Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation (ATNF). Later, the organization added Apollo Telehealth Services (ATHS)and HealthNet Global (HNG) to its portfolio of Remote Healthcare. By synergizing healthcare services, Information & Communication Technologies (ICT),medical equipment and patient information system, Apollo Remote Healthcare provides specialized solutions like Tele-consults, Tele radiology, Tele-cardiology, Tele-Condition Management and others; thereby empowering consumers to remotely access Apollo’s world-renowned doctors. Acclaimed for its quality healthcare services focusing on patient centricity, Apollo Remote Healthcare’s e-health vertical has added more values to its offerings by multiple folds and paved a way for the brand to reach inaccessible and remotest of locations for providing healthcare services at affordable prices.Apollo is home to clinical expertisewith a team of world-class doctors possessing a diverse pool of talentand patient handling skills. Leading up to the day of publishing this report, Apollo-the healthcare leaderhas establishedmore than 64 hospitals with 300+ pharmacies, along with400 e-health delivery centers and 60000 rural telemedicine centres nationwide which together have enabled Apollo to reach much greater pinnacles. Trailblazing its endeavor as the best-in-class healthcare partner for the patients, the brand has cultivated a cutting edge for its deftness in the market. In a true manner, Apollo remote Healthcarehas rooted itself as a global brand with an integrated healthcare system that speaks volume about its quality and customer service.
What has driven the growth of this new flagship division called Apollo TeleHealth? We reached out to Mr Vikram Thaploo, CEO, TeleHealth, Apollo Hospitals Group- the dynamic leader who has played an instrumental role in laying the bedrock of Apollo Remote Healthcare.The inspiration behind his voyage was none other than Dr Prathap C. Reddy, Founder &Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group and the guiding force behind him is Ms Sangita Reddy, JMD, Apollo Hospitals Group.
How does Apollo Remote Healthcare sits within the healthcare entrepreneurial ecosystem of India today, touching billion lives?
Telemedicine in India is an evolving market with a lot of growth potential, primarily involving the amalgamation of healthcare with technology. Two decades back it seemed unimaginable to even think that India can also have such platforms which can connect the doctors to the remotest of locations. But now over the period with new innovations and continuous learning, we have become a full grown entity in the healthcare ecosystem. Not only Apollo Remote Healthcare follows the entrepreneurial spirit itself but also empowers its stakeholders/ clients with same, therefore, providing various employment opportunities in rural and urban parts of India. We envisage providing betterment in the quality of life and greater social progress within societies by enabling a healthier society.
With a blend of IT, state of the art medical devices, Quality clinical services with patient information system, Apollo Remote Healthcare empowers its patients to avail cost effective treatment sitting in the comfort of their home.
Apollo Remote Healthcare specializes in integrated healthcare delivery to provide Teleconsultations, Tele Radiology, Tele Cardiology, Tele Condition Management, e-ICU services among others. It is also one of the largest Public Private Partnership leaders in Indian Healthcare system.
What are the key ingredients behind ARH’s unique character?
We have proven ourselves in digital healthcare delivery as well, with our state of the art technology and high-end devices, supported by clinical protocols and clinical decision support systems. Telemedicine enabled diagnostic services and drug dispensing units is another attribute which is making Remote Healthcare as next generation. We have always focused on providing evidence-based quality care and a safe environment for patients and strengthening the functional efficiency of our hospitals, stimulating quality improvement while reducing variations. Every parameter is benchmarked with the international institutions that are considered best in class with respect to that particular parameter. These benchmarks have been chosen from the world’s best institutions including Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, National Healthcare Safety Network, Massachusetts General Hospital, AHRQ US, Columbia University Medical Center and US Census Bureau.
Apollo Remote Healthcare has a competitive edge of medical expertise with its huge presence across India, making us proficient enough to serve the remotest locations at affordable prices.
Any vision of building the brand value…
Apollo Hospitals group is known for its Brand value endowed on its Healthcare products and services till date. It is reflected in the way patients connect with us for our quality healthcare services delivery, safe environment, patient engagement, technology etc. Building a brand value comes with a vision of “Patient Centricity” i.e. more empowered, active, participative e-patients with access to their health records. This in turn enroots a more collaborative and interactive relationship between patients and healthcare providers, thus making it a distinctive value.
A set work culture empowers you more, or it helps to become a bigger brand. Do you agree?
According to my belief, employees are the representative of your brand. We believe that, through a set work culture, brand value is inculcated within the employees, helping spread company’s message to the end user. Employee’s perception is the most authentic marketing tool for building a brand image in the marketplace, for both job and customer markets. Work culture definitely helps to become a bigger brand.
What next for Apollo Remote Healthcare? What do you see happening in the industry in 2018-19?
We started with the mission of reaching out to villages across India to provide quality healthcare services at affordable prices. With our various projects in association with both government and private players, we have been able to achieve the first goal of our mission. With expanded horizons we now want to take this mission across the urban and rural geographies, globally.Apollo Remote healthcare in the year 2018-19 is planning to cover every nook and corner with our comprehensive healthcare services keeping in mind the organizational vision of touching more than a billion lives. With the shift in demand for healthcare, we have added highly advanced clinical services like Tele-Emergency and Tele-ICU amongst others. Solutions like access to digital consultations, EMR (electronic medical record), second opinion services, discussion with a panel of doctors to arrive at a care plan for a disease come to a diagnosis, online dispensing of drugs, point of care testing devices will add value to the holistic approach of healthcare delivery.
We are partnering with various state governments to cater the healthcare needs of the population in line with the vision of National Health Mission. In sync with the Digital India program, we are focusing on continuous digitalization in healthcare with AI enabled platforms and devices, IoT, IoM, CDSS- Clinical decision support system for aiding in the diagnosis protocols, ML- machine learning with the data analytics and management.
A piece of advice for the entrepreneur venturing into some domain…
Key for entrepreneurship is the passion; one should have in-depth knowledge of the subject in which they would want to venture. Ground preparation includes product/ service research, Market Research, Market trends, Need Analysis, etc. Having a clear vision is important for the growth of any business. But no business comes without risks and patience. Also, there is no shortcut to success.
One should have the zeal to learn and experiment new things without being afraid of the failures. My personal advice would be to do the pilot first in order to know the know-how of the business before making the expansion plan. Telemedicine being the upcoming field of healthcare delivery is a mix of Healthcare and Technology. Hence, there is a vast scope of opportunities not only for healthcare personals but also for the people hailing from the technological field.The crux of it will be- dream with open eyes and chase them until you turn them into reality.
Ms Sangita Reddy- JMD, Apollo Hospitals Group
Passionately committed to transforming health care using effective and efficient technology, Ms Reddy steered Apollo Hospitals to harness technological advancements in accelerating positive transformation and 4 hospitals have even achieved the HiMSS Level-6 certification.
A driving force for the eHealth initiatives, it was under her leadership that Apollo emerged as a recipient of three consecutive HiMSS-Elsevier ICT achievement awards. She steers Apollo’s thrust on research, innovation and healthcare initiatives. In growing the group’s retail healthcare foray, Ms Sangita spearheads AHLL- the company running Clinics, Cradles and other retail service formats. She is also the Chairperson of Apollo Knowledge, the education vertical of the group.
Ms Sangita Reddy is the Vice President of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry). She has been a recipient of numerous prestigious awards for business and leadership along with an Honorary doctorate Degree from Macquarie University, Australia.. Yet her mainspring is her resolute commitment to bring about many more transformative changes in Indian healthcare making it much more accessible, affordable and truly inclusive.
Mr Vikram Thaploo- CEO, TeleHealth, Apollo Hospitals Group
A hands-on business leader armed with the standards of excellence, Mr. Vikram Thaploo is a home to result oriented, enthusiastic and decisive management persona who holds proven success in effectively strategizing and implementing projects to become successful businesses.
Nestling around two-decade experience in setting up, operating and scale-up of startups, business expansion, strategic planning, execution and management of diverse businesses, he has been an instrumental part of the initial teams of many prestigious brands.
Currently, he leads Apollo Remote Healthcare vertical which comprises of three companies-Apollo TeleHealth Services (Healthcare delivery and Teleclinic Company), Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation (a foundation set up to propagate Telehealth) and HealthNet Global Limited (Healthcare Technology Company), with a goal of making healthcare affordable by leveraging the convergence of Technology, Telecom, Medtech ecosystem and Healthcare. He has been recognized as “CEO of the YEAR 2017” by Healthcare Achievers and Leadership Award and has received “Leadership Award of the Year” by ASSOCHAM in 2016 for his perseverance and hard work along with various awards and accolades on different platforms.