Ex-NASA scientist, doctor, and techies join hands to start a digital healthcare platform

By Sindhu Kashyaap|28th Mar 2017
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HealthSignz is an integrated health app that brings into focus the seamless connection between primary, secondary, and tertiary medical care for appropriate health management.

Over the past decade, while the number of digital healthcare platforms in India has grown substantially, making healthcare far more accessible than ever before, these four friends felt that there was still a need for seamless integration and personalisation between primary, secondary, and tertiary medical care for appropriate health management.

With this idea in mind, 44-year-old Vinod Nair, an ex-NASA scientist with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Boston University and an MBA from Stanford, 61-year-old Ram Papa Rao, a doctor with over 30 years of experience, 44-year-old Hanumanth Rao, who has 17 years of experience with corporates like GE, IBM, and Infinite, and 40-year-old Surendranath C decided to start HealthSignz Technology in October 2014 in Bengaluru.

The platform was started with a vision to provide a healthier life to individuals via a hyper-personalised healthcare pathway. The platform aims to change the face of personalised healthcare, backed by precision healthcare analytics.

HealthSignz Team

What does it do?

The platform facilitates real-time continuous health monitoring and health advice through the measurement of some tangible elements of one’s health and by subsequently connecting one with authentic wellness and medical service providers.

Through HealthSignz, one can use diagnostic screening to track their state of health, work on a symptom-based response, and engage in the selection of the best doctor or centre for care, hyper-personalised nutrition and fitness plans, and evidence-based recommendations driven by PHR history and scenario inputs, remote patient monitoring and digital connect to your personal doctor, pharmacy, diagnostic and doctor connects, and compatibility with fitness, medical monitoring devices and other health interfaces like EMR.

This is all done using the current state of health of the consumer on a real-time basis, as well as past records. Ram says,

“Though there are several technological advancements, the frequency of disease occurrences has started to highlight huge lifestyle-related disorders, which if not addressed with holistic understanding of health management may have a deleterious effect on the quality of well-being of the population at large.”

Addressing the gaps

He adds that while there are wearable devices and health apps that are capturing data, they have failed in propelling personalised health management. On the other hand, while there does exist Watson-like predictive healthcare technology, it is only accessible for big healthcare organisations, and is not common for consumers.

It was to address this gap that the four professionals got together to build a health intelligence engine that would bring in an alignment with medical specialists across the broad medical spectrum.

Ram says,

“Through our app, we are aiming to reach a situation where lack of accurate data is never a deterrent for healthcare delivery. For instance, if a healthcare-seeker is miles away from his family doctor/service provider, an ideal situation for effective healthcare would be that his past health records, such as drug allergies, heart rate average, blood sugar and more, are available on a single digital platform.”

Additionally, data is captured through other channels. Ram believes that precise data would not only enable users to take charge of their health, but will also support doctors and other healthcare service providers in making intelligent and timely decisions.

Building the product

Furthermore, the Healthsignz platform extends its services to the entire family on a single device, facilitating convenience while largely directing service providers to analyse health trends within the family, a crucial parameter for effective diagnosis.

However, conceiving and working on an individual-specific format for service delivery based on the pre-existing health status and family history required a deeper study of the major conditions affecting a large segment of the population.

The team spent the first three years doing research, building the product, beta testing, and re-iterating based on insights and user feedback, all eventually culminating in the development of a final product. Ram adds that during the prelaunch, they had over one lakh registered users.

 The healthcare market

Over the past few years, the healthcare and healthtech market has witnessed the rise of several players in the SaaS and discovery space, such as Sequoia and Tencent-backed Practo and Tiger-backed Lybrate. In the pharmacy space, meanwhile, are Myra and 1mg. It is also notable that Practo has also ventured into the health insurance and delivery space.

The Bengaluru-based healthtech major has also acquired several health companies like Qikwell, Insta, Fitho, and Genii.

There seems to be a global shift towards focusing on the preventive care and wellness segment, and international healthtech players are already penetrating the wearables, bio-devices, and fitness space. Even technology giant Apple has begun to take notice of the growth in the segment.

In India, the preventive care and wellness segment is growing at close to 30 percent YOY, and is currently estimated to be $490 billion.

Revenue and future

The team at HealthSignz, however, believes that healthcare service delivery is incomplete without an integrated service delivery model where every required component is suitably incorporated.

This is precisely what sets HealthSignz apart from all the competitors in the market today, as most of the healthcare startups could be viewed as collaborators who can align with the HealthSignz platform, creating a robust healthcare model for consumers.

The main chunk of HealthSignz’s revenue comes from service bookings, customised packages, and tie-ups with healthcare companies. By the end of this year, the team is looking at over 1.5 million customers, with a revenue of $3 million.

With a team of 130 people today, HealthSignz aims to move towards making precision medicine a common practice in India. This while also utilising digital tools, especially patient monitoring solutions, in an intense manner by integrating them with Healthsignz applications.

“In about a year’s time, we also intend to provide clinical decision support systems, and of course, big data analytics significantly defines the direction in the future,” says Ram. The team is projecting revenues of $4 million next year.


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