Anand K: A Dynamic Leader Driven By Passion to Bridge Gaps In Medical Diagnostic Industry | CEOInsights Vendor
Anand K: A Dynamic Leader Driven By Passion to Bridge Gaps In Medical Diagnostic Industry

Anand K: A Dynamic Leader Driven By Passion to Bridge Gaps In Medical Diagnostic Industry

Anand K,  CEO

Anand K


With the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed a rise in the importance of quick and effective diagnostic systems in the healthcare industry, more so in rural areas. India’s Diagnostic labs played an essential role in making clinical decisions easy and this helped patients during the pandemic. Significant innovations were visible and its access to common man was accelerated in the Indian healthcare and diagnostic sector. SRL Diagnostics is India’s second largest diagnostic company in terms of revenue and the number one in terms of network, with more than 420 plus laboratories across the country which cater to over 600+ cities. Led by Anand K., SRL Diagnostics is recognized as India’s largest chain of diagnostic laboratories by geographic presence and the only lab in India with a pan-India presence, along with branches in Dubai, Afghanistan and Nepal.

With over 25 years of robust work experience in the healthcare industry specializing in Diagnostics and Laboratory services in India, South Asia, Africa and Middle East, Anand K.,CEO, SRL Diagnostics holds deep subject knowledge of diagnostics and healthcare industry. His rich expertise combined with strong business acumen gives him the ability to view businesses with a wider lens and then narrow it down to connect the dots, identify business drivers, understand complex issues, take actions and drive results. Having joined SRL Diagnostics after his brief tenure at Apollo Hospitals Group where he was the CEO of their Diagnostic Business Unit of AHLL, based at Hyderabad, today Anand K has successfully set a bench mark in the diagnostic industry by steering SRL Diagnostics to greater heights by launching new initiatives over his course.

Engaging in a one-to-one interaction with the team of CEO Insights magazine, Anand K. CEO, SRL Diagnostics highlights upon his professional journey within the healthcare and diagnostics industry and how he is making constant efforts towards making SRL Diagnostics a one-stop-shop for all the diagnostic needs of the Indian consumers.

Throw some light on your professional background and experience. What inspired you to venture into the health care industry and what drives you today?
26 years ago, when SRL was incepted, it was around the same time that I also started my career in diagnostics sector. I have had great respect for this job which I have taken up at SRL since I started my career as a medical technologist. Hence forth, wherever I have worked, whether it has been for IVD Companies where I was selling kits to the labs, or whether it was later about selling lab services to patients I have always felt proud to be working in the diagnostics industry and even till date I feel the same. Being in the healthcare industry, we are often humbled when we see the impact that our work has on people across the country. It is our inherent belief that every life is invaluable, and what we do is more than just a job, it’s a calling or a duty.

How is SRL Diagnostics positioned in the diagnostic market? What is the unique proposition that your organization offers to clients?
The diagnostic industry has always been an early adopter of technology, right through our genesis. Always striving to stay a notch ahead of the
rest, we were the first ones to have a centralized lab information system much before centralized lab Information Systems even came into India. We were also the first ones to have a website in the diagnostics industry. Therefore at every step we have remained ahead of our competition and competitors. It is even till date that our digital team is doing a fantastic job of making use of our mobile app and website to generate leads. We have the most easy to use app in this category which can be understood by any layman. To add to this, we are also the first to think of the use of Big Data and launch smart reports to our customers.

We have strong capabilities in next generation diagnostics and along with that, we are also focusing on adopting new technologies such as ai and data analytics which will help us improve testing

At SRL, we are highly committed to pioneering innovation in the field of clinical diagnostics in India and value the importance of embracing change in the rapidly evolving technology scenario, and this why, we signed an agreement on AI consortium with Microsoft India in 2020. The work done by the SRL Microsoft consortium in developing deep learning based algorithms for Assistive Technology in a relatively short span of time, speaks volumes about the capabilities of both the partners. This will be useful in screening liquid-based cytology slide images for the detection of cervical cancer in the early stages. Post validation, the API product will be previewed outside the SRL ecosystem in various cervical cancer diagnostic workflows. This API has the potential to impact the laboratory diagnostic process by reducing subjectivity and time required for rapidly identifying cells of concern, thereby increasing overall accuracy.

What are the changes in market behavior post Pandemic? How is SRL Diagnostics coping up with these changes?
The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically altered the perception of diagnostics across the world. From being on the side-lines of the healthcare segment to gaining the centre stage, the segment is getting its due attention. Amid the pandemic, the demand and the requirements from the diagnostic industry has transformed largely. We are currently operating in a radically changing environment which is marked by rapidly evolving services due to changing consumer expectations, location-agnostic care needs, and a rise in new ecosystem partnerships that are accelerating the industry several years forward.

As a diagnostic industry leader, we have realised that we must reinvent ourselves faster than ever, by innovating and modifying our care delivery models to not just ensure timely result delivery but also for integrated and value based care. To do this, we have revamped our website into an e-commerce, M site with PWA, for a seamless user experience. Our new website comes with new features like chatting with experts, searching SRL centre near you, booking multiple tests, booking home visits, tracking phlebotomists real time, to name a few.

All these initiatives around customer centricity and digital transformation will help us build an organization that is technologically future ready and is able to meet the changing expectations of our patients, clinicians, and employees in the post COVID era. All along, we have also worked on improving and retooling our doctor engagement programs which has helped us forge stronger ties with clinicians.
In the light of your strong experience in the health care domain, especially across diagnostics and laboratory services in India, South Asia, Africa and Middle East, what advice would you give to the budding industry leaders of this domain?
At SRL we have been ahead of the curve because we truly believe that more than anything it’s the Quality that matters in Healthcare. Our Quality Compliance team is already focusing on medication safety, preventing healthcare associated risks, sample reassay to acutecare, appropriateness of diagnosis reports, and complying to all regulatory, legal and compliance measures. To institute higher level of quality compliance, we have set in place a concept of Three Circles of Quality. The innermost circle where our lab managers and our local business managers do a throughout and diligent self-audit of labs and collection points, the second circle of Quality is held together by the QA compliance team when they do internal audits at all our laboratories and collection centers and the third circle is the assessment through external help, viz. risk audit, NABL, CAP or any other external audits. And SRL being a leader in diagnostics space has also now adopted six sigma concept to offer realistic solutions to reach practical levels of perfection. Six Sigma is a rigorous, datacentered approach to process improvement strategy, by which we strive to achieve a new quality standard for the diagnostics industry.

Today, we do see many other players entering the market and that is giving customers more options to choose from for their diagnostics need. However, according to me, a healthcare company’s success cannot be alone attributed to digital transformation what comes first is quality & clinic excellence and that’s what SRL is all about. With highest number of NABL and CAP accredited labs, inhouse R&D capabilities and a pool of 400+ doctors and three Centre of Excellence, there’s no lab that can match up to our quality and expertise. We also have the largest menu of tests and a wide range of services which we make available to all our customers through a multi channel approach Collection centres, owned lab network, drive-through/ mobile vans, Home collection, Website and mobile app, Hospital lab setup and public private partnerships. My advice to the upcoming players would be to maintain high quality service and at the same time opt for a multi channel approach to reach the customers.

What is your future roadmap?
In the future, while routine blood tests will remain the mainstay of the overall industry, there is a definitive trend towards genetic testing. At SRL, we have strong capabilities in Next Generation Diagnostics and along with that, we are also focusing on adopting new technologies such as AI and Data Analytics which will help us improve testing. We are also currently working with Microsoft on Artificial Intelligence to develop algorithms for two fields namely Histopathology and Cyto genetics. This would assist pathologists to reduce subjectivity in their results and increase the speed of response. It is also clear that the future laboratories need to join hands with healthcare networks and with other healthcare providers which will play a key role in delivering quality patient care. To address the pertinent challenges in the healthcare space, future laboratories need to be driven by R&D, design thinking, and smart technology based on a foundation of smarter, safer, and sustainable labs. This is some thing that SRL is already doing.

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