14th June 2018. Hellolyf Telemedicine platform clocks 3028 patient-doctor consults on 14th June. This gives an annual run rate of over a million consults. Compared to this, the world’s oldest and largest telemedicine platform Teladoc (TDOC: NYSE), a 3.76 Bn USD company clocked 1.46 Mn consults last year. In just one year, a rural tech based integrated healthcare company, Glocal Healthcare Systems; head quartered in Kolkata, India, seems to be catching up very fast – at least in volumes. Says Srikanta Mukherjee, Tech Head Glocal: “we may take another two years to catch up with their revenue as they bill in dollars and we are the most affordable in the world. But the difference is that we are already becoming EBIDTA positive and so that is a big plus”. Glocal also has tech superiority because it operates through digital dispensaries where patients not only get video consultations; but its IoT telemedicine terminal called LitmusMX also collects patient vitals, does all investigations including Liver, Thyroid & Kidney Function Tests, Hb%, electrolytes, Glucose, Proteins, Lipid Profile, Urine tests and most infectious disease tests. Once the doctor comes online, he/she can also examine the patient remotely, can hear the patient’s heart & lung through a digital stethoscope, do otoscopy, dermascopy, direct laryngoscopy etc. At the doctors’ side, there is a semantic algorithm based Clinical Decision Support System called LitmusDX which helps doctors deliver better healthcare. In some centers, there are also automated medicine dispensers, called LitmusRX, that dispense the medicines based on the prescription, directly to the patient without human intervention. All the tech pieces – LitmusMX, LitmusRX and LitmusDX are IP of Glocal. Most of Glocal’s Digital dispensaries are in the most difficult terrain of the country – from Nabarangpur in KBK region of Odisha, Dantewada of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
India has been grappling with various healthcare problems. In such a scenario, the concept of telemedicine is like a breath of fresh air. Most of the time, seeing a doctor is essential; but, there are issues with the availability of the doctors. There are either geographical or time mismatches between patients and doctors. This gap can be filled by telemedicine. However, most telemedicine programs have failed to live up to the promise because often they are half baked. The complete healthcare need of the patient is not fulfilled because he needs tests, examination and medicines. Glocal’s Digital Dispensaries have provided an interesting and comprehensive solution. It streamlines many of the inconvenient episodes that are encountered by a patient while visiting the clinic. It is convenient, user-friendly and cost-effective as the patients do not have to travel to see a doctor. There are several companies in India that are trying to establish themselves in this space. Glocal has deep experience because it is the only organized healthcare player that entered and established 10 hospitals in tier 3 & 4 towns of the country. The past seven years’ experience enabled it to invent and create a comprehensive telemedicine program from grounds up. Its technology was not a copy of how things were attempted in the west but arose from the felt needs. With a strong grounding in technology & operations, it took seven years to create Hellolyf and LitmusDX suite. But the seven years of Jacobian hard work seems to be paying off handsomely, if it emerges as a dark horse to challenge the world’s largest telemedicine player.