July 24, 2024

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Diagnostics play a critical role in healthcare, serving as the initial step in disease detection, prognosis, and treatment regimen determination. However, more than 80% of the diagnostics market is still unorganised, feels Sriram Iyer, the CEO at Apollo Health & Lifestyle, one of India’s largest retail healthcare companies, who has initiated a major exercise to expand its footprint. In this interview with Sudhir Chowdhary, he discusses technology’s crucial role in the retail healthcare space.

What does digital mean to your business?

Digital is key for us. In the current portfolio of services, we’ve big expansion plans, and have a clear ethos of being ‘digital first’. We’ve been leveraging various digital platforms to streamline our internal and external processes, right from logistics to supply chain, CRM, automated manpower deployment based on the dynamic load etc.

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Retail healthcare services are now becoming extremely hyper local with a tremendous amount of focus on product differentiation and service delivery. At Apollo, our principal goal is providing care, with the highest level of empathy and the best quality of excellence. For instance, in diagnostics, advanced digital, analytics and AI capabilities can be deployed to select the closest centre for my customer. 

Today, our representative can reach any PIN code in the country within 60 minutes. ProHealth, an AI-based prediction tool allows us to detect the health condition of the patient. Apollo clinics have a queue management system to maintain the traffic of patients who are coming for radiology, X-Ray, USG, dental service etc.

Which technologies excite you most?

The pandemic has taught us that prevention is better than cure. I feel the world is now moving from a curative care to preventive care. Patients do not want to end up visiting the hospital, therefore, the relevance of the retail healthcare formats like Apollo Health and Lifestyle are beautifully positioned. 

Solutions like integrated CRM are an important tool to access a patient’s historical data, be proactive in knowing his and his family’s health and remind them about tests that are supposed to be repeated every six months. It builds the customer’s journey without getting commercialised and customers can get lifetime value with relevant propositions. Secondly, AI-backed care for chronic disease management and preventative care can transform traditional approaches, making them more efficient.

Please share your expansion plans in the diagnostics space.

We are the fastest growing diagnostic player in the country. In the last three years, our growth rate has more than doubled as compared to other players. We’re going to embark on a massive expansion plan on diagnostics and aim to double down our 400 labs, 2000+ centres, plus expand into 100-150 new towns. Our diagnostics division will also expand in Tier I and II towns . We want to become a big player by addressing the unserved need of high-quality diagnostics in remotest towns of India. 

How are you utilising cloud-based solutions from Oracle?

With the support of Oracle’s Fusion Cloud ERP Applications, we’re streamlining operations, improving data driven decision making. Oracle Fusion Cloud services serve as the backbone of the infrastructure because it centralises all the financial data while automating the processes, providing us with real time insights.

With Oracle Fusion Cloud, we can adapt quickly to the market dynamics to drive  growth. It has been a welcome change for us, and the company’s suite of cloud applications provide us with a comprehensive platform for managing all the financial processes.

What is your technology roadmap for the next 2-3 years?

Our primary vision is to become a ‘digital first’ organisation where we want to adopt, partner and co-create. We partner with the biggest technology firms in India and global, including startups to resolve use cases and then build technology around it. However, we need to monitor the speed at which we can innovate and how we can train our workforce. With this vision, we’ll focus on a mix of in-house capabilities and partnering with technology players to customise healthcare wherein we can define queries, build customer cohorts and target those cohorts with relevant offerings.


Our primary aim is to become a digital-first organisation where we want 

to adopt, partner and co-create.


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