By Sohini Bagchi
The health and fitness industry in India is witnessing tremendous growth. This booming market has led to many emerging healthtech startups in the country, catering to various aspects of healthcare and in an innovative manner. Mumbai-based 23BMI is one such new-age healthcare startup primarily focusing on weight management and obesity related health concerns.
As the people are switching towards a healthier lifestyle, its co-founder-CEO, Kuonal Lakhapati believes in harnessing the power of cloud, analytics and virtual reality (VR), among others, to bring innovative revolutionary meal replacement products which aid in healthy weight loss and create a key differentiator in the market. In an interaction with CXOToday, Lakhapati, also a founding member of Paytm backed LogiNext Solutions, explains how technology is changing the healthcare and fitness scene in India and outlines the company’s technology roadmap for the coming months.
CXOToday: How is digital technology transforming health and social care?
Lakhapati: The healthcare industry today is not what it was just five years ago. This is largely due to technology and a large number of innovative digital solutions that are introduced every day. Technology, without a doubt, has been a key enabler of growth for different sectors / industries globally; it has certainly changed the entire landscape of Indian healthcare industry.
Advancements in technological developments over past few years have led to incredible growth in the Indian healthcare space from innovation perspective. New age technologies such as VR (virtual reality), AI (artificial intelligence, 3D-printing, robotics, nanotechnology etc. have led to what was visualized as future of healthcare industry.
Various mobile apps are available that help you exercise, plan diet, regulate sleep cycle, hydration reminders, e-yoga etc that help you in social well being. It would be unfair to not include the enhancements in the world of telemedicine while talking about the hybrid growth of technology and the healthcare industry. Now, distance has become almost an abstract concept as far as the medical field is concerned. Technically, distance between a doctor and patience is not a factor in the treatment. At 23BMI, we have built a community of nutritionists, curating different line of meal replacement products and enabling better client engagement with the help of technology.
CXOToday: Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is an upcoming term in the healthcare sector? What are its benefits and uses?
Lakhapati: Internet of Medical Things, an extension of IoT is a set of interconnected devices used for medical purpose for better and more accurate management of healthcare. Use of IoMT is helping healthcare providers to conduct advanced diagnostics which were never possible before the technology evolved, lower the costs of procedures, enable predictive / preventive treatments, identify health trends etc. Wearable devices too have contributed to the growth of IoMT and related services and the trend is here to stay.
CXOToday: How is AI redesigning the healthcare and fitness industry?
Lakhapati: Virtual reality and Artificial Intelligence can improve patient experience, which hardly is mentioned as a concern by enabling the patients to understand the scenarios with more clarity, communication and understanding. VR/AR surgeries can now enable the doctors to forecast the medical scenarios, try and test them before actually going ahead with the same. It also has played an important role in medical education / building simulations
CXOToday: You have mentioned AR becoming a driving force in the future of medicine. Can you explain in what ways?
Lakhapati: We can consider AR as a natural consequence of technological developments and the availability of data that has flooded doctors recently. AR can help doctors access the latest and most relevant information about their patients. Moreover, patients can also use AR for self-education and improving the quality of treatment they receive. AR is a very useful tool for patient education, both for treatment and disease prevention. Various educational apps provide valuable information concerning a particular illness and treatment for patients and their family members. It is generally believed that human brain evolution involved development, learning and operation in multisensory environments, that is why it is considered that multi-sensory experiences, including AR, can be more effective in transmitting and processing information.
CXOToday: What are the future plans of 23BMI in the next 1-2 years?
Lakhapati: People are in cognizance of risk associated with obesity and the importance of fitness and awareness is increasing as we speak. Given the sedentary, hectic lifestyles people are going to need solutions that help them stay healthy which allows them to continue with their fast-paced life.
In the next one year, we are introducing mobile application for improving client engagement, reminders and notifications related to 23BMI weight loss programs, seam less communication with health coach and self-analysis of calories consumed and burned. We will soon launch a new line of meal replacement products to add variety to product offerings. Also, going forward, we are exploring B2B tie-ups and associations and expanding in North India and UAE markets.