1. Ekincare raises $3.6 million funding
Hyderabad: Ekincare, an artificial intelligence-based healthcare start-up, has raised $3.6 million (Rs 25.81 crore at current exchange rates) in a Series A funding round led by a new investor.
The latest funding takes the total capital that ekincare, operated by Aayuv Technologies Pvt. Ltd, has raised so far to $5.6 million. It didn’t disclose the name of the new investor.
Other investors that participated in the funding round include existing investors such as venture capital firm Venture East, Eight Roads Ventures and Hyderabad-based Touchstone Equities.
The start-up says it helps companies efficiently administer benefits, optimise their healthcare spends and show health outcomes using its AI-based assistant.
The company said it will use the latest fund infusion to strengthen its technological platform, business development and marketing. It will also expand its portfolio of offerings for the corporate health benefits market.
Co-founder and chief executive officer Kiran Kalakuntla said ekincare’s platform recognises patterns across different health datasets and makes out differences between different consumer segments to serve customers better.
2. Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City Opens in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi: The Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), one of the 10 largest hospitals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), opened its doors recently, marking the completion of a 10-year, 3.2-million square foot project.
Leading global design firm Stantec led the master planning, architectural, interior, and landscape design of this flagship institution for the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA).
The hospital is the first of its kind in the UAE to provide advanced burn treatment and expand access to specialty care services like orthopaedic and thoracic surgery. The new facility replaces the existing Al Mafraq Hospital, which opened in 1983 and had reached its operational capacity.
As part of its project role, Stantec also provided mechanical, electrical, structural, and infrastructure engineering services. Additionally, the firm provided construction administration oversight for the duration of the construction period.
“SSMC was developed as part of SEHA’s vision to provide the best healthcare services in line with the directives of the Government of Abu Dhabi,” said Eng. Mohammed Al Zaabi, Chief of Facilities at SEHA. “SEHA is a leading healthcare provider and SSMC is a significant addition to the services provided—adopting cutting-edge technologies and providing a high-class environment to both patients and users.”
The SSMC’s design is distinguished by four towers, situated along thoughtfully planned landscaping, with patient rooms that each offer views of the campus and access to rooftop gardens for respite. Designated floors cater to patients looking for additional privacy and attention, with two presidential suites and 36 VIP suites. The hospital has space for 732 beds, distributed across three wards as post-surgical inpatient beds, maternal and child health beds (including 12 VIP), medical intensive care unit (MICU) beds, cardiac ICU beds, surgical ICU beds, burn unit beds, and neonatal ICU beds. An initial staff of 3,000 medical professionals will provide care for patients of all ages.
3. VPS Healthcare signs patient deal with Etihad Airways
Saudi Arabia: Healthcare service provider VPS Healthcare has signed a deal with Etihad Airways which makes the airline its preferred air transport provider for patients travelling from Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi for medical treatment.
Etihad will provide VPS Healthcare with special rates on airfares on its flights from Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. In July last year, Etihad Airways launched two specialised services for air travellers with pre-existing medical conditions.
The service was the first in the region to be offered by an airline and is carried out by members of the Etihad medical team who are qualified in aviation and transport medicine.
The first service allows guests, who require medical clearance prior to travel, the opportunity to request an Etihad aviation doctor to visit them and conduct an evaluation in consultation with their attending physician.
All medical forms and assessments will be completed by the Etihad doctor on-site, leading to a recommendation about their fit-to-fly status within one day.
The second service is an in-flight nurse who can accompany guests during their trip and provide medical support from all the Etihad destinations.
“Abu Dhabi’s location makes it an ideal setting for a hub for medical tourism,” said Shamsheer Vayalil, CMD of VPS Healthcare.
VPS Healthcare is a healthcare service provider currently operating 20 hospitals and more than 125 medical centres across the Middle East, Europe and India.
4. Lyfboat achieves NABH accreditation
Delhi: Global medical travel provider Lyfboat has been awarded the highest certification for quality patient care and safety in India – from the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH).
Achieving the NABH accreditation highlights that Lyfboat, whose services enable treatment in India for international patients, has been recognised for quality in a range of different operations, including training, facilities available, infrastructure, travel-related services such as visa assistance and local transportation, and website requirements.
“The accreditation from NABH is a major milestone for our company as it recognises Lyfboat’s endeavours and commitment to patients around the world,” said the Lyfboat management team, headed by Dr Surbhi Suden, Chief Medical Officer, and Anuj Gupta, CEO. “Our dedicated approach towards specialised healthcare has helped us in achieving remarkable success and this accreditation further reinforces our commitment to meet patient expectations for quality treatment and services.”
5. Max Hospital launches oncology tower in Uttar Pradesh
Ghaziabad: Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali recently inaugurated a new Oncology Tower. The building (MICC Tower II) was inaugurated by General V K Singh, MOS for Road Transport and Highways and MP Ghaziabad, in the presence of other dignitaries.
Abhay Soi, Chairman, Max Healthcare; Dr. Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman, Max Institute of Cancer Care, senior oncologists, members from Max senior leadership and representatives from Ghaziabad administration were part of the inauguration.
Commenting on the launch Abhay Soi said, “In Vaishali alone, we have over 50 cancer specialists providing the most specialised treatment in a very comprehensive manner. We have introduced the Disease Management Groups as well as invested in advanced technologies for comprehensive treatment of cancer patients.”
Dr. Harit Chaturvedi commented, “Our DMG based tumour boards are already adding a healthy dimension to the level of planning for each treatment. Also, the dedicated wing for women will offer specialised care, quick diagnosis and staging, and, personalised service to females of all age and backgrounds. We have ensured that close to 95% hospital staff on this floor is women.”
As per Indian Council of Medical Research data, India will have over 17.3 lakh cancer cases by 2020 — a doubling of cases in 25 years. It may see over 8.8 lakh deaths due to the disease, with only 12.5 per cent of the patients receiving treatment in early stages. Breast cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer, and lung cancer together constitute 41 per cent of cancer burden in India. In India, there are 450,000 follow-up patients every year and the annual registration of new patients in India is 50,000, with limited oncology specialists.
6. Google’s health care plans to include patient data
Global: Google announced a partnership with a large US health care system aimed at modernising its information system and providing new tools for doctors, in the tech giant’s latest foray into the health industry.
Announcement of its arrangement with the Catholic health care system Ascension followed a Wall Street Journal report that Google had access to thousands of patient health records without doctors’ knowledge.
Both companies stressed that their deal is compliant with federal health privacy law. Unlike most of the data Google collects on individuals, health data is strictly regulated by the federal government.
Google is providing cloud computing services to Ascension, which operates health centres in 21 states, mostly across the South and Midwest. It is also testing the use of artificial intelligence to examine health records and find patterns that Google says might help doctors and other providers.
Health care providers are increasingly interested in using data to help manage care and keep patients healthy. That might mean relatively simple things like tracking whether someone refills a prescription or something more complex like spotting a worsening medical condition and addressing it before the patient winds up in the hospital.
Health care systems are allowed to share patient information with business partners so long as the partners agree to safeguard the information and use it only in the way it was intended.
“To be clear: under this arrangement, Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data,” Google cloud executive Tariq Shaukat wrote in a blog post.
7. Aster DM leases Bengaluru empty hospital
Bengaluru: Aster DM Healthcare has taken on lease a hospital in Bengaluru that is being vacated by Narayana Hrudayalaya, and will start operating the facility in one and a half years, Aster’s chairman and managing director Azad Moopen said.
“This hospital was earlier occupied by NH (Narayana Hrudayalaya), and they had earlier vacated, and we have gone into an agreement to take that as well as agreed with the lessor to have additional beds there so that it becomes a much larger facility,” Moopen told.
Aster DM Healthcare has already started upgrading the facility at Whitefield in Bengaluru and will increase the number of beds to 350 from the 91-bed facility operated by Narayana Hrudayalaya earlier.
There are two new buildings coming up next to the existing hospital, which will lead to an increase in the number of beds, chief financial officer Sreenath Reddy said.
Devi Shetty-led Narayana Hrudayalaya had last week announced the closure of the hospital at Whitefield effective 31 December, citing its inability to scale up the facility due to various reasons, including failure of the lessor to provide the additional infrastructure that is compliant with regulatory norms.
While Narayana Hrudayalaya positioned the Whitefield hospital for the upmarket segment and did not have oncology as a speciality, Aster DM Healthcare will be adding the oncology segment and target the middle to upper-income segment.
When Narayana was operating the hospital for its upmarket segment, the 91-bed facility generated Rs. 65 crore in the previous financial year, according to information in the company’s exchange filing.
8. BeYouPlus secures $3 million funding
Mumbai: BeYouPlus, a start-up which is aiming to standardise beauty treatments by partnering with local clinics, has raised $3 million (approximately Rs 21.20 crore at current exchange rates) in a Series A funding round led by the Mumbai-based IvyCap Ventures.
Other investors that participated in the round include Madison Capital and Singapore Angel Network, the Gurugram-based company said in a statement.
BeYouPlus, which is operated by Dermacy Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, will use the funds to enhance its technological infrastructure and expand its products and services to new markets, it added.
Ankit Khurana, founder and chief executive officer at BeYouPlus, said the firm was committed to providing globally-recognised medical procedures to domestic masses at an economical price point. “It is our firm belief that the answer to India’s lack of healthcare infrastructure rests with a standardised distributed model for daycare and elective medical procedures,” he said.
BeYouPlus’ operating model improves private practitioners’ efficiency while at the same time providing consumers with quality and reliable healthcare, he added.
As part of its investment, IvyCap founder and managing partner Vikram Gupta will join BeYouPlus’ board of directors.
Separately, Gupta said IvyCap was confident in its investment because of the start-up’s focus on accessibility, transparency and standardisation in healthcare treatments.
BeYouPlus says it has developed a model wherein it can offer highly specialised doctors with a procedural solution to add to their outpatient department (OPD) practice.
9. Rare Congenital Heart Disease treated at Columbia Asia Hospital
Bengaluru: Baby Aryan, a seven-month-old kid, was gasping for breath, using all the additional muscles of his tiny skinny body frame to take each shallow breath. Merely of 3.3 kilos weight, it was very low compared to other healthy babies of his age.
Even this weight was achieved by struggling to feed in-between the rapid breaths. Aryan was very vulnerable to infections, particularly chest infection and had already been admitted to the hospital 3 times, in the last 4 months. His parents were very anxious during his admission that they would lose their precious child.
Aryan suffered from congenital heart disease, a complex developmental anomaly of the heart, where the partitioning of the heart was incomplete. The valves that regulated the flow of blood within the heart was incomplete resulting in a common valve instead of 2 separate valves. These valves were not competent resulting in a poor forward flow of blood and very high pressure in the lung’s blood vessels.
Baby Aryan underwent a complex heart surgery wherein the heart was partitioned into 4 chambers with 2 separate valves between them that were competent. This is among the most complicated heart operations done, especially at such a tender age with high risk of post-surgery infections and also the risk of his little body succumbing to it.
After the surgery, Baby Aryan recovered very well, his breathing and feeding became normal. Thereafter, he gradually started to gain weight. Many such infant patients suffering from similar types of heart disease often die because they are not diagnosed correctly at the right time. Also, they do not have access to facilities and skilled teams that perform complex congenital heart surgeries.
In India only a dozen centres are capable of doing this kind of heart operation, while the number of children affected with congenital heart disease are approximately 8 out of 1000 live births.
“Every child needs to live a free, healthy life, without the constraints of any complicated disease which burdens the family with the fear of death and restrict their growth and development. Recovering an infant life from such a complicated disease has an indelible effect on the parents. More parental counselling and charitable gatherings should be organized where parents of such infants are supported and guided to move ahead in the right direction, says Dr. Joseph Xavier, Consultant – Cardio Thoracic Vascular Surgery, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur Road.