July 2008

Business

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HealthSprint eyes 100-fold growth in users

Healthcare IT services company HealthSprint plans to expand its reach a 100-fold in 2 years to 5 lakh patients a month and take ehealth services to rural areas in tie-ups with microinsurance providers.

By then, it expects to be connected through its internet portal to 1,000 hospitals, 2,000 pharmacies and 2,500 diagnostic centres, co-founder of HealthSprint.

It currently has tie-ups with about 159 hospitals, including Manipal Group of Hospitals, the Wockhardt Group and St. Johns Medical College Hospital. Through its portal, HealthSprint provides services such as exchange of healthcare data, including health insurance procedures, searches for specialist, scheduling appointments with doctors, securing medical reports and getting prescriptions online directly from hospitals. It also helps connect customers with labs and pharmacies in the neighbourhood.

The company's e-health services for rural areas will be launched in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh by connecting rural hospitals to those in metropolitan cities and rural customers with microinsurance companies. It is in the process of tying up SKS Microfinance and the Sewa women's co-operative federation in Gujarat for the venture.

HealthSprint also has a tie-up with Yos Technologies to collaborate for creation and maintenance of personal health records. 

MedPlus unveils diagnostics plans

Pharmacy chain Medplus Health Services has opened its first five regional diagnostic centres already and has plans for 50 more by the end of the fiscal as it diversifies into the lucrative market for diagnostic services.

The regional dia gnostic centres for routine tests will first be launched in Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam. A total of INR 20 crore will be invested to set up the 50 centres.

MedPlus Pathlabs, a fully-owned subsidiary of MedPlus Health Services, has been operating a clinical reference laboratory for complex clinical tests for the past 8 months.

Being part of the organised segment, it would attempt to bring standardisation to the market for clinical testing services, he observed. “There are 40,000 diagnostic labs in the country, mostly individually run, which accounts for the high degree of inconsistency in the services.” The chain plans to add 600 outlets by March 2009, with 70% of these as franchises.

MedPlus claims to have a 30% share of the organised pharmaceutical retail market, with a turnover of INR 100 crore in the last fiscal. It is aiming for leadership in diagnostic services with a 40%-50% market share.

India to earn INR 8000 cr through medical tourism

Easy access to visa facilities permitted by India to overseas patients coupled with the best emerging medical infrastructure in large and tertiary towns will make the country earn to an extent of INR 8,000 crore in foreign exchange by 2012, a new study has said. Currently, the earnings accrued through medical tourism annually are estimated at INR 3,500 crore. A comparison of the medical treatment costs of various countries shows that a procedure like bone marrow transplant costs US$ 2,00,000 in USA, upto US$ 2,00,000 in UK, US$ 62,500 in Thailand and just around USD 20,000 in India. Similarly, a by-pass surgery would cost US$ 15,000-20,000 in USA, around US$ 20,000 in UK, US$ 14,250 in Thailand and US$ 4,000-6,000 in India.

As a result of higher and very expensive medical costs in the western countries, patients from economies of scale including Africa, Gulf and various Asian countries have started exploring medical treatment in hospitals located in various well-to do places in India, Director of Ganga Ram Hospital and one of the lead authors of the study said.

GE Healthcare IT extends collaboration with HP

GE Healthcare IT, a division of General Electric Company, has announced an extended collaboration with HP to offer pre-configured, pre-installed GE Centricity

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