Improving quality and convenience of diagnostics for Indian consumers: Redcliffe Lifetech

Redcliffe Lifetech is an affordable and convenient omni-channel diagnostics service operating across 14 cities in India. The company facilitates at-home diagnostics for more than 3500 medical tests through their network of 350 mobile phlebotomists, supported by 21 state-of-the-art labs and overseen by experienced pathologists. The company also leverages its network of over 400 off-line collection centres to drive volumes to its labs. By offering tests that can be ordered via smartphones, with results delivered in 24-48 hours, Redcliffe makes it simple for emerging consumers to take charge of their health, reducing the burden of noncommunicable diseases.

LeapFrog is slated to invest in the company in May 2022 and is committed to supporting the company
to expand its network into Tier II and Tier III cities to achieve its goal of reaching 500 million Indians within the next 5 years.

The Problem

India is experiencing a spike in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), driven by increases in heart disease, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease. NCDs contribute to 65% of total deaths in the country, with estimates that this figure could rise to 73% in the next decade1.

Left unaddressed, it is estimated NCDs will cost India approximately US$ 3.55 trillion in economic losses by 20302. NCDs account for 40% of all hospital stays and approximately 37% of all recorded outpatient visits in the country3. The money to fund out-of-pocket expenses for treatment often comes from household savings and money borrowed from relatives4. Household spending on healthcare frequently diverts resources away other critical areas like education or day-to-day essentials5.Historically, access to diagnostics has been difficult in India given the low penetration of accredited medical laboratories. India currently has around 1200 accredited laboratories, serving a population of 1.4 billion, compared to the US, which has 260,000 accredited medical laboratories and a quarter of India’s population6.

Traditional pathology models require a patient to spend substantial time and money travelling to the laboratory to both deposit samples and pick up results, often resulting in loss of income and additional expenses for transport7. Women in India face additional barriers to accessing diagnostics outside of their homes; 79% of rural women cite a need for permission from their husbands or fathers-in-law or a need to be
accompanied to visit the physician amongst their key barriers to receiving care8.

On a macro level, tackling NCDs now is a critical priority to help India’s healthcare system avoid being overwhelmed by a wave of new patients suffering chronic diseases. Already, the market for key chronic specialties has increased by five times over the last 10 years. Healthcare infrastructure remains incomplete, and lacking, with only 12 beds per 10,000 people (versus 29 globally) and only 9 doctors and 17 nurses per 10,000 people (versus a global average of 16 and 38 respectively).

Rising incidence of NCDs has a significant flow on effect for the country’s economy – reducing the net availability of government resources by increasing public health expenditures in treatment, and reducing taxable household income as ill people leave the workforce9.

Source: Global burden of disease study, The Lancet 2020

Redcliffe’s Solution

Redcliffe is an omni-channel diagnostics platform combining digital and online offerings to provide Indian consumers with quality testing at their doorstep. The company was established in 2017 and was identified by LeapFrog in 2022.

Founded by entrepreneur Dheeraj Jain, Redcliffe offers more than 3,500 pathology and genomics tests. Its network of 350 phlebotomists and logistics staff spans 21 specialist labs across 14 cities and enables timely and accurate results to be sent to consumers within 24 to 48 hours of testing.

The company has built its pathology labs to international specifications, providing a reliable option for consumers in a highly fragmented market. It is estimated there are nearly 100,000 clinical labs operating in India, with the vast majority lacking sufficient accreditation and compliance10. Redcliffe’s labs are accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), or are in the process of obtaining such accreditation, and its staff all undertake comprehensive training. Testing covers routine, specialised and genetic testing at competitive prices, with current pricing 25-60% lower than incumbent providers11.

Lifetime health outcomes of population-based screening compared with current practice for diabetes or hypertension*.

Source: The Lancet, 2022. QALY: quality-adjusted life year. * For cohort of 100,000 30-year-olds, by frequency of screening

LeapFrog’s Impact

LeapFrog is committed to supporting Redcliffe as it expands access to diagnostics for emerging consumers in India, and will work with the firm to support its goal of reaching over 500 million Indians in the next 5 years.

Geographic expansion will be a key focus for the firm in the years ahead as it pushes into Tier II and Tier III cities and widens its network of laboratories. Capital from LeapFrog will help to support this pursuit and experience in the market will assist Redcliffe to identify the best locations to target.

Improving Redcliffe’s customer experience will also be a key focus for LeapFrog through its CX Launchpad team, which plans to help optimise customer acquisition and retention methods. To date, the majority of customer conversions and bookings are facilitated by an in-house call centre, and with further digitalisation it is possible to improve this experience. Upgrades of booking software to accommodate the high number of local dialects and languages spoken across the country will also increase the product’s relevance for consumers.

LeapFrog will support Redcliffe’s significant R&D efforts as it continues to search for new ways to lower costs and improve access. This includes enhancing its internally developed live temperature scanning product and supporting its efforts to deliver drone-based pathology sample collection.

Redcliffe has established itself as an industry leader in low-cost, mobile diagnostics, improving both quality and access for Indian consumers. LeapFrog believes its model can deliver significant impact across the Indian healthcare sector in years to come.

Source: Transforming access to diagnostics, The Lancet 2021

Read more about Redcliffe Lifetech

1. Health of the Nation report, Apollo Health Care 2021 2. Economics of non-communicable diseases in India, WEF 2014 3. The economic implications of NCD for India, World Bank 2010 4. Ibid 5. Economics of non-communicable diseases in India, WEF 2014 6. Lancet diagnostics commission, 2021 7. An assessment of India’s laboratory diagnostic industry, Nathealth 2019 8. Indian Human Development Survey, IHDS 2012 9. Economics of non-communicable diseases in India, WEF 2014 10. Quality medical diagnostics: Making it affordable and accessible ( 11. Company data, 2022. Cover image: Photo by Shiv Prasad on Unsplash

Disclaimer: This material is not intended to constitute investment advice or an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to purchase, interests in any fund, portfolio company of any fund or other product sponsored or managed by LeapFrog Investments or any of its affiliates. This material and/or its contents are current at the time of writing (or such other dates as may be indicated herein). Any view expressed herein is based on the view of the author(s) and available information, and is subject to change without notice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

This case study was first published on May 6th, 2022

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