Sameer Subhash Sawarkar, CEO at Neurosynaptic Communications Pvt Ltd
Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Sameer Subhash Sawarkar: Access to basic healthcare is very big challenge in Rural India and most Developing World. 70% population in Rural India gets just 20% doctors, 25% dispensaries, and 40% hospitals. Very little Insurance, severe gender skew in access and many challenges. It’s pushing tens of millions of families below poverty line annually. Health is the largest non-productive debt in rural areas. However, it has been impossible to take Doctors to the Rural areas, and the only way to provide a good quality healthcare access seems to be with help from technology. Further, there are several gaps in the primary healthcare system in India, which include Broken Healthcare Information System, Severe gaps in Infrastructure, Inadequate Human Resources at all levels, and Insufficient diagnostic and pharmacy services, resulting in huge inefficiencies in the system.
Its not just a big challenge, but a huge market too! However, this is a viable market only for the solutions which can cost-effectively connect the entire ecosystem.
We got introduced to this challenge through the work done by the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai. While it was initially thought of as a technology related solution, we soon realized that it needs to link up the whole ecosystem. NCPL’s journey is about putting this ecosystem in place through various partnerships / collaborations, and the associated challenges.
In recent times, the Indian Telemedicine market has been estimated to be 5.5 Bn USD.
Great Companies: What are the various Services provided by Neurosynaptic Communications Pvt Ltd (NCPL)
Sameer Subhash Sawarkar: NCPL has deep experience in the field of Remote Healthcare Delivery. We are committed to make quality and affordable healthcare available to masses through our ReMeDi® telemedicine platform and Managed Healthcare Services. NCPL has three basic offerings:
a. ReMeDi® Integrated SAAS based Telemedicine Platform for access to affordable healthcare. This includes both Software as well as intelligent medical devices. This can be used for Telemedicine Clinics, Home care / Community Screening or Direct to Home Teleconsultation models. The platform and devices are able to provide 40 point-of-care diagnostic tests, which can be carried out by a nurse / health-worker. The software offers entire Remote OPD workflow, electronic medical records, audio/video conferencing and integrated devices. Additional devices also have been integrated, and are offered based on the needs.
b. End-to-end Managed Telehealthcare Delivery Services, which include components like feasibility, installation, resource mobilization, operationalization, project management, impact assessment, etc. at the last mile.
c. ReMeDi® Medical Devices with communication & control interfaces, allowing strategic partners to build their own workflows. This is a suite of 40 point-of-care diagnostic tests, including Blood, Urine & Physiology, and the Interfaces for integration. These are lightweight and portable, with rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth / BLE communication interface, Indigenously developed and Certified Devices. The set can be used effectively for Maternal & Child Health, Non-Communicable & Communicable Diseases, and horizontal primary healthcare. Customized configurations are also possible.
Great Companies: What makes Neurosynaptic Communications Pvt Ltd different from hundreds of other Healthcare Firms?
Sameer Subhash Sawarkar: The very first differentiator is a Proven Product, Delivery and Partnerships – NCPL has developed a significant brand and reputation of quality and affordable healthcare solutions and delivery on the ground, which very few companies may be able to claim. This platform has enabled more than 2600 telemedicine centres till date in India and 12 other countries, and has brought access of healthcare closer to over 50 Mn population.
The second differentiator is the Diagnostic Devices. The range of diagnostics offered at the point-of-care, the amazing ease with which these can be operated, the possibility of tracking each usage, the direct storage of readings in the medical record without manual intervention, the streaming data from the devices, and remote controllability of the devices from the doctors’ end are all are very significant differentiators. Moreover, these Certified products are indigenously developed with support from BIRAC, Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
The third significant differentiator is the grounds-up development of the ReMeDi® platform, being a pioneer in this field. The feature sets, workflows all have originated from the field requirements directly.
Further, the solution is highly configurable, and accommodates several aspects that vary across projects, thereby providing a significant time advantage. Several features like Management Information System (MIS) allow tuning of the delivery parameters to optimize the programs. It is highly scalable.
We are taking the best-in-class product ReMeDi® to the customer, based on the deep expertise of last mile healthcare delivery. We provide an end-to-end solution to the telemedicine and remote healthcare delivery needs.
NCPL has been recognized at several National and International fora for its pioneering work and impact in this domain:
Finalist at REME-DIY Innovation Grand Challenge (final results awaited) 2021
Innovators Appreciation Award by Universal Health Coverage Conclave 2018
Inspire Innovation Award 2017
Frost and Sullivan Emerging Digital Healthcare Service Provider of the year 2017
Business Line Emerging Social Enterprise Award 2017
Millennium Alliance award in 2016
ASME Innovation Showcase 2015
NASSCOM Social Innovation 2014 as Jury’s Special Choice Award
Fastest Growing Social Enterprise in the Healthcare Category by Action for India Forum in 2013
Global Indus Technovator in 2006 by IBC at MIT Boston
Finalist at the Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2012 Award by Jubilant Bhartiya Foundation and Schwab Foundation
Finalist at Inclusive Innovation 2013 by Indian Merchants’ Chamber
Grand Challenges Canada Stars in Global Health
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Sameer Subhash Sawarkar: There are several types of challenges that we have faced in the past.
First kind of challenges are lack of bandwidth, qualified healthcare resources, infrastructure (both medical and non-medical) at the last mile. These were quite significant in the earlier part of our journey, but are progressively and rapidly subsiding.
The second kind of challenges that we have encountered are the lack of regulatory and legal frameworks and standing for telemedicine. These become very significant in customers’ / investors’ view, and are starting troubles, which stunt the growth of business. With the release of the telemedicine guidelines by MCI last year, as well as certain developments on the regulatory front, these challenges are getting addressed as well. Indeed this easing has resulted in a significant growth for the company in recent past. However, regulatory aspects vary with geography, and hence still pose a significant challenge which needs to be addressed for further growth.
The next set of challenges are related to the context and business models – as the ecosystem is disconnected, it still remains a major challenge to provide last mile access. There is also severe healthcare financing challenge, which we hope will ease in the future due to public and innovative private group health insurance models. While we have successfully tackled many of these challenges in projects; each one poses a unique aspect of the challenge. This is where expertise in the domain has given us a significant advantage.
Acceptance of technology based remote healthcare delivery by the providers has been an important achievement of recent times.
For the Company, of-course being an impact based for-profit organization, and taking up the toughest rural-healthcare problem, where healthcare financing mechanisms are scarce, presents another unique challenge.
There have been several challenges, but we have been able to successfully tackle those. We have achieved significant growth in the past couple of years, and are rapidly growing. Present challenges for the company are to raise the required financial resources for growth, and put together structures to propel it.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Neurosynaptic Communications Pvt Ltd?
Sameer Subhash Sawarkar: Having achieved over a 115% revenue growth in the previous financial year with 68% more customer acquisitions, the Company has significant contracts at hand with a forecast of 260% revenue growth in the current financial year. It is going to be an extremely busy and important year for the Company.
With increased acceptance for the Managed Healthcare Services, and strong partnerships in multiple geographies, the Company is looking at large growth in both domestic and overseas business, and intends to make investments into appropriate Teams, Delivery and Product Development for local regulatory requirements. We plan to raise funds to propel this growth in the near future.
NCPL offers an excellent investment opportunity due to its strong Foundations and Team, Capable Leadership with decades of industry experience, Proven Product, Delivery and Partnerships and the accelerated growth path that the Company is traversing.
We see ourselves becoming a significant Global player in the remote healthcare delivery market, especially in the developing world, where affordable and quality healthcare delivery is a significant challenge.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Sameer Subhash Sawarkar: Well, there are numerous things that one needs to look out for, but one thing I would like to suggest is adaptability during the entrepreneurial journey. There are several things that usually may not go the planned way, in spite-of best-of-the-planning. Quickly Learning from the experiences and course corrections are extremely important.