Interview

THERE IS ROOM FOR NICHE INITIATIVES LIKE OURS : Dr. E. S. Rajendran, MD, New Steth Diagnostic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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What are the IT solutions/products offered by your company for medical professionals and service provider segment?

We have products for doctors and individual and chain hospitals. Doctors’ reference software is “eClinician” with wide reference data on 4500 diseases and patent pending differential diagnosis model from signs and symptoms. We also provide easy system examination and clinic management system in this solution.

“Cortex” is the hospital management solution, which has been recently updated to a web based solution.  

What are the unique technical and functional features of each of your solutions as compared to similar others available in the market?

eClinician is a unique product in the sense that there is no other product in the market offering quality reference data on a large number of diseases in the Indian market. Our model of differential diagnosis allows users to reach diagnosis from signs and symptoms with nearly 90% accuracy. 

“Cortex has been developed with a vision to cater to users with minimum software knowledge, and is ideal for users with no prior software usage practice.”

Cortex on the other hand, is built as a web based solution which can function in the intranet or internet environment. We cater to the entire spectrum of hospital administration needs- from patient care, inventory, finance and the doctors reference. Globally we are the only providers with doctors reference system in HMS.

Cost for IT-based automation seems to be the biggest concern for most healthcare institutions and service providers. How do you address this issue in your pricing strategy?

We offer free installations to hospitals. The hospital has to pay Rs.10 for new patient registration and Rs.2 for revisits. IP cases will be charged from Rs.50 to Rs.100 per patient. 

So there is no investment required for software. This amount may also be charged to patients, which will not burden them when the hospital is able to provide faster and quicker service. We do free software updates and maintenance, so the hospital will actually save lot of money in the long term as well.

eClinician is available at a very affordable price of Rs.7500/- only.

Lack of IT-friendliness among Indian doctors and absence of structured IT-curriculum in  medical courses are often identified as bottlenecks in automation of healthcare institutions. What is your take on this? How did you address this critical issue in your product development and business strategy?

IT friendliness per se need not require detailed curriculum. It can be achieved with some attitude to accept and learn new developments. Most doctors have started to use computer systems for making effective presentations, capture procedures etc. We are already seeing the younger generation of doctors use computers, and this trend will only increase.

eClinician as well as Cortex have been developed with a highly user-friendly interface and can be operated by anyone with little or no IT background. Training to use eClinician can be achieved in less than 30 minutes for a physician even if he has no IT knowledge.

Cortex has also been developed with a vision to cater to users with minimum software knowledge and is ideal for users with no prior software usage practice.

What has been the response and uptake rate for your solutions in the Indian market? Who are your present clients and what is their feedback about these solutions?

We have excellent response in Metros in India with sales of over 3000 units. Our customers include faculty and students at all major medical colleges. In our recent survey we find that 95% of our users are highly satisfied with Clinician, and we propose to upgrade them soon to eClincian. In the overseas markets we are receiving much better response and we plan to tap them this year by appointing more dealers.

eClinician is a unique product. It can potentially reach 5% of doctors in the next 5 years. With close to a million medical practitioners in India, we have hardly touched the tip of the iceberg.

Cortex has a history of 11 years and all the customers are highly satisfied with the performance. We are aiming to reach 100+ hospitals by the end of 2008 in India, directly and through franchisees. In the overseas markets we are offering franchise rights to business associates. We are targeting Middle East and African market this year.

What is your perception on the growth trend of healthcare IT market in India in last few years and how do you foresee the same in next 3-5 years?

If you consider the HMS market, it is far from saturated and there is room for niche initiatives like ours; where we focus on small and medium hospitals from 25-300 beds.

eClinician is a unique product. It can potentially reach 5% of doctors in the next 5 years. With close to a million medical practitioners in India, we have hardly touched the tip of the iceberg.

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