More than a decade after people around the world started using e-mail and text messaging to communicate with family, friends and work, healthcare services have finally transformed by digital and mobile technology. One reason is that the healthcare industry is magnificently larger than many other industrial sectors. In the past two decades countries like United States, Europe and Japan have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in healthcare information technology. However, now a lot of the innovation is taking place in emerging markets like China, Singapore, Indonesia and India. These countries are responding to developments and investing in digital services and mobile apps at a rapid pace. World Bank estimates the Indian government’s spending on healthcare at Rs 37,061.55 crores which is 30 percent as compared to China, where the government spending is 56 percent of the total health expenditure. The Out of Pocket Expenses (OPE) in India on healthcare by its citizens is amongst the highest in the world.
Healthcare industry is also a different type of industry. People need its services to stay alive. Most people do not have a choice about whether to “consume” healthcare services. They need to go see a doctor at a hospital when it comes to their health. Also, competition is severely limited because most individuals seek healthcare near where they live and there often are not that many choices. However, now the cost of digital technology has dropped significantly and much can now be achieved without spending millions on expensive information systems. Both the speed and reliability of telecommunications and mobile phone networks have continued to improve. Today, expert healthcare can be at your fingertips, as demonstrated by ground-breaking companies such as Kallows Engineering India Pvt. Ltd.
Kallows was founded as a software services company in Goa, India in 2007. In 2012 the company entered the medical device market launching ultra-portable and low-cost smartphone and tablet based cardiac monitors. The company believes in saving lives by developing inexpensive and innovative lifesaving technology, believing in the power of education and the duty to educate, providing opportunities for students and engineers both in India and the U.S.The founders of the company, GajananNagarsekar and Kevin Kreger, also use the company as a vehicle to teach students in Goa and to establish local expertise in embedded programming and mobile applications development. Kallows also provides educational services and supports local engineering colleges and universities in Goa.
Talking about initial challenges, GajananNagarsekar says, “Initial challenges we faced were w.r.t. lack of structure and training which is very much available at incubators today. Medical Devices has a larger gestation time from Ideation to Growth stage and to scale and get necessary quality certifications, consistent funds in the order of million dollars is required. Since never had any such large funding rounds and the Indian investment community in whole was not mature for medical devices – I personally believe it is much harder to work on such technologies and scale in India as compared to the western world. Having said that our Angel funding helped us very well and our investor has been patient and very supportive of the fact that such projects take time. We have been extremely lucky on that front”.Kallows has been the pioneer and dominates the Tele-ECG space and plans to be number one position in the cardiology devices domain across the various segments and also lead the Vitals monitoring and recording arena.
Massive amounts of sensitive data and rapidly changing technological environment, healthcare is among the economic sectors facing the most significant challenges in implementing effective IT solutions. From small doctor’s offices to major hospitals, the healthcare IT environment is increasingly complex and, if not managed appropriately, can negatively impact patient care. USP of Kallows has been their maturity to work on failures and use their experience to win over customers, as one understands that Medical Devices has a larger gestation time from Ideation stage to Growth Stage.
The company initially planned to also grow the educational services but never found the time to begin – they typically offer some internship to nurture local talent and if found good offer them employment. Quality is their core focus along with the best in technology as a product or solution offering. Nagarsekar asserts, “Being in the medical field we have our eyes set on making healthcare not only affordable but also state of the art. We have taken steps to get our processes align to international standards and still keep the costs affordable.” The company has the ability of walking the talk with its customers in not only developing on technologies for vitals monitoring but also changing the entire spectrum. Their products will be the future and will assist in less operational time with healthcare professionals and with maximum comfort to the patient.
The company’s open and flexible culture doesn’t bind their people in 9-6 working hours. To keep their team updated with the latest technologies in the market, they have an organized series of external and internal trainings. They also believe that local talent can continue to have a career with them if the employee expectations are met by the company. “As a company we are very employee centric and see that as a strong virtue. We have created 35 jobs till date of which 20 are based in Goa In a tier 2 town. Precisely the focus on the Make in India term,” adds Nagarsekar.
Embedded with the zeal to position Kallows as a leading provider in all the areas of its expertise, the professionals work as a team with the customers and deploy technology-enabled best fit solution across their needs. The company provides end-to-end services across a variety of technologies that includes:
Embedded Systems – Embedded is their specialty, especially C/C++, VxWorks, Linux, and DSP-based systems.
Medical Systems – They have superior domain experience in medical electronics and medical imaging. Domain specific knowledge of MRI signal processing and pulse sequences. In addition, biometric sensors and monitoring will be added.
Web Development and Hosting – Kallows offer web hosting services, and can provide a range of web related technologies.
Mobile Application Development – Experience with J2ME, native and Android based systems, they are developing their own mobile applications and peripherals.
Under the leadership of GajananNagarsekar and Kevin Kreger, Kallows won several accolades, such as:
2015: Won 2nd place – Goa Chief Minister’s Technology award
2014: Won 2nd place at the India Innovation Growth Program conducted by D.S.T., Govt. of India & Lockheed Martin Corp., USA
2013: Tech Sparks 30 – selection in top 30 innovative companies in India, event hosted by Sequoia India venture capital firm.
2011: 2nd Place in the Information Technology category at the Wisconsin Governors Business Plan Competition (participated as a Graduate student of UW Milwaukee, WI, USA)
Kallows is definitely the forerunners of next generation Indian Medical Tech companies and will be collaborating with partners to move forward in the Global scene.
By Kanak Prabha