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BW Businessworld

Driving Synergies In Healthcare

With constant innovation and research as its core focus, THB managed to overcome the challenges thrown up by the pandemic and stay profitable

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PURPOSE AND PROFESSION or passion feed on each other to make life meaningful for most people. This has been true for Akansh Khurana as well, who was drawn to the healthcare sector due to his experience with the health industry, while working as an investment pro­fessional Helion Ventures and Abraaj Capital. Prior to this, Khurana worked as a management consultant at Bain & Company. Khurana, who has been battling type-1 diabetes from childhood, experienced deficien­cies in the healthcare sector first-hand, and this made him launch THB in September 2015, a technology driven company focused on healthcare. 

The company holds the distinction of being the first in its field to leverage clinical data to generate evidence-based diagnosis and treatment in India. Presently, they are working with over 20 pharma companies and more than 50 healthcare providers in the country to maximise the reach of their clini­cal evidence solutions. Their user base is spread across 2 crore patients and over 300 doctors.

However, the pandemic has played a spoilsport with respect to raising finances in the startup sector. Says Khurana, “It was a tough time to raise money. Many companies looked internally, managed cash flows through their clients, through their existing investors, and that is how we managed as well.” 

THB managed to remain a profitable company during the pandemic. They managed to do so because they have two customer segments, namely the hospital industry and pharmaceutical industry. Due to Covid-19 and the scare of infection, the hospitals suffered significantly. The pharmaceuti­cal industry on the other hand fared well. Thus, one part of the business helped mitigate losses in the other part. Overall, THB’s business doubled in the past year, but profits could have been higher.

Product Diversification

Another factor which worked in their favour was product diversification. They launched two new products within 45 days of the Covid-19 outbreak. They adopted the strategy of sticking to the clients they already had while brainstorming on new products. In fact, their first product post lockdown contributed 30 per cent of their business in the pandemic season.

Another major challenge was training and retaining its team. “This is an area we need to work on,” Khurana humbly acknowl­edges. They’ve added human resources personnel, while mak­ing it mandatory for senior peo­ple of the company to train the people. The company is aiming at a trickledown effect, that is, learn­ing from the top management and imbibing best practices. Tying employee satisfaction to progress he says, “We are devel­oping a system where everyone can work towards upskilling and growth satisfaction of their respec­tive team members.”

Healthcare is a specialised field, where finding the appropriate talent is a big challenge. “This is so because we have an element of medical sci­ence, data, as well as technology.” Another challenge is to orchestrate the work of healthcare consultants, analysts, doctors and the people in provider industry, he says.

Keeping an extremely positive outlook for the upcoming years, Khurana notes, “Very immodestly, 2021 will be the year of THB in healthcare. We have a big focus on international markets and on expanding our operations in the pharmaceutical industry.” 

Focusing on innovation, the com­pany aspires to become the largest medical intelligence company in Asia-Pacific. “I have a personal goal of getting the entire team together to make this happen. By 2025, we want the company to be publicly listed in India,” says Khurana.

He also predicts that digitisation will play a key role in healthcare going forward. Besides, this field will also will see a lot more innovation and novelty. “Lastly, all of us have learnt to value human relationships a lot more, be it personal or client based,” he adds.

Given that THB is a part of the healthcare ecosystem, they already have the advantage of being a part of the industry that has the biggest impact. Focus on clinical research and evidence generation from healthcare gives them an added advantage to make a wider impact.