18 April 2016
A start-up in healthcare taking on a remote village may not be the best idea if it’s also aiming to operate profitably. In an earlier edition, we saw why it was wise for Drishti Eyecare to cater to some towns and not others. But Tier-2, -3 and -4 markets are in need of a range of healthcare solutions too, and this is where GenWorks Health steps in.
The start-up is a flagship venture by Wipro GE Healthcare and plays the role of familiarising Tier-2 and -3 towns with GE’s products.
The longer term objective of the joint-venture start-up remains to give these markets access to product portfolios rather than single products so that comprehensive solutions are possible in those areas. A year ago, when beginning operations, GenWorks had a presence in only 50 locations.
Says Ganesh Prasad, Founder, Managing Director and CEO, GenWorks, “A 100 locations now… covering Tier-2 to Tier-5 towns in over 300 districts. Today, there is a GenWorks person at a distance of 200-300 km from a customer, compared to the traditional 700-800 km in these markets.”
Milan Rao, President and CEO, GE Healthcare India and South Asia, says, “Before GenWorks, of the over 650 districts in India, about 200-250 were being traditionally served by healthcare companies like GE. The remaining were dark markets for distribution or access. GenWorks has helped expand GE’s presence to over 430 districts.”
But getting to this point meant changing the model of indirect distribution for Tier-2 cities and beyond. GenWorks says it invests in understanding the unique needs of healthcare providers in tier-2 and -3 towns and villages to provide comprehensive solutions that make for a stronger healthcare ecosystem.
Knowing, for example, that healthcare providers in smaller towns were historically buying refurbished CT that were more than 10 years old is vital. Older CTs typically exposed people to higher radiation levels while involving high maintenance costs and power consumption. But due to access limitations, the older CTs were more readily available in those markets. GenWork’s challenge was to offer healthcare providers a superior CT.
The company claims there are now over 100 installations of GE’s Revolution ACT in those areas. (Made in India, the tool has also begun to sell in the ASEAN region.)
Describing what seems like a makeover of what were ‘small’ markets, Prasad of GenWorks says, “Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan would be our top three States based on 2015 operations. Medical infrastructure in Tier-II towns and beyond in this these States is rapidly growing leading to better healthcare.”