How Vi-Scan Diagnostics is transforming India’s oral healthcare industry by enhancing the visibility of dentists
With over 2.7 lakh dentists registered with the Dental Council of India (DCI), India has the second highest number of dentists in the world. According to the National Oral Health Programme, dental caries and periodontal (gum) diseases affect over 60 percent and 80 percent of the Indian population, respectively.
Valued at around $2 billion in 2017, the Indian dental services industry is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 7.34 percent by 2030. The perception that a dentist’s appointment isn’t necessary until one has a toothache is changing, slowly but surely.
Painless treatments, advanced technologies and collaborations with leading insurance providers are important factors in the growth of the dental services market. With the rising number of patients and a variety of advanced dental treatments being carried out, a very important demand has come to light which is dental diagnostics.
To that end, Bengaluru-based Vi-Scan Diagnostics has been one of the fastest growing entrants in the dental diagnostics space in India. They are working towards transforming the oral healthcare industry by supporting dentists in their diagnostic needs across the country. By bringing cutting-edge solutions to the masses, Vi-Scan is paving the way for more effective and precise treatment planning.
“We don’t proceed with a medical surgery unless diagnostic tests are performed, why should dental surgery be any different?” asks Dr Shilika Lilaramani (MD), Co-Founder, Vi-Scan Diagnostics while explaining the importance of dental diagnostics in treatment planning.
The journey so far
Backed by Chesa Dental Care, one of the largest dental equipment manufacturers and traders in India, Vi-Scan now operates out of 17 centres spread across north, west and south India making it among largest chains of dental diagnostic centres in the country. Founded in 2017, Vi-Scan has catered to over 15,000 dentists and played a role in improving the quality of care provided to over one lakh patients.
Looking back at the company’s journey, Dr Shilika says that the idea was to solve a glaring problem that was aggravated by a lack of awareness and availability of advanced diagnostic facilities. "I believe it is about time we give dental diagnostics the due respect and the chance it deserves to be able to positively impact the dental healthcare ecosystem," she explains.
Chesa Dental Care, founded in 1992 by Dr Vijay Lilaramani (CEO) and Dr Anju Lilaramani (COO) primarily manufactures dental chairs and trades in auxiliary equipment needed by dentists to offer quality treatments. Chesa played a major role in taking intra oral imaging to the grassroot level and promoting digitisation of dentistry in India back in 2014. Investing in Vi-Scan was a natural step to enhance the concept of low radiation digital dentistry.
Vi-Scan specialises in 2D and 3D images along with a detailed report to aid the dentist in diagnosis and enhance their visibility. This is carried out via the Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) technology. CBCT technology allows accurate imaging of hard tissue structures at a much lower radiation dose in comparison to conventional CT.
Affordability of an in-house CBCT in many dental practices is still a challenge as the returns on the investment are not always viable for a standalone dentist. Being a third party diagnostic centre, Vi-Scan allows dentists to utilise the technology without having to invest in it.
“The problem starts with the lack of affordability and availability of the right technology and the end result is substandard treatments for the patient, hampering the complete dental healthcare ecosystem,” says Dr Shilika.
According to her, Vi-Scan’s vision is to expand to every location where this service is needed, so as to provide access to every oral healthcare professional to be able to look beneath the surface and empower them to practise in an accurate, precise, safe and predictable manner.
She goes on to credit the brand’s popularity to standardised processes, low radiation high quality imaging and a great team of technicians, radiologists, business managers and backend personnel working together and efficiently.
“Of course, none of this is possible without the dentists who support our initiative, value diagnostics and ensure that their patients are getting the best treatments by using the available technology and services," says Dr Shilika.
Eyeing the next milestone
Vi-Scan is now gearing up for expansion via a franchising model, taking inspiration from prominent pathology labs such as Dr Lal PathLabs, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, among others. “The goal is to strategically expand in areas where there is a dire need for the service. We are open to work with like-minded individuals to achieve the vision for Vi-Scan. The first benchmark being over 500 dental diagnostic centres,” she adds.
The company is also expanding its services to include blood testing specific to dentistry in collaboration with other experienced players and soft tissue scanning focusing on early diagnosis of precancerous and cancerous lesions. It aims to further increase awareness about oral cancer across the country to combat its prevalence and improve prognosis by creating opportunities for early diagnosis.
To complement the franchising model, Vi-Scan is adopting technology to create a seamless customer experience leveraging automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to boost the speed and quality of internal processes, diagnosis and treatment planning. Vi-Scan is also exploring global opportunities in neighbouring countries where these services are required.
“Once we established the impact our service was making and the significance of the solution that was being provided, there was no looking back,” says Dr Shilika. She believes that one day, no dentist, regardless of their location, will have to think twice before asking his/her patient to get an extra oral scan and Vi-Scan aims to make that thought a reality.