21 0 Labs
- Industry: Diagnostics
- Region: India
- Date Invested: May 2022
- Website: RedcliffeLabs.com
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.
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 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
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 .
10 Quality medical diagnostics: Making it affordable and accessible (indiatimes.com) 11 Company data, 2022
Redcliffe is an omni-channel diagnostics platform combining digital and offline 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 .
Package testing has also been an appealing offering, providing consumers with a broad view of their wellness through tests such as thyroid health, vitamin D and blood sugar levels. The increased access to information encourages consumers to play a more active role in the management of their health, empowering them with quality information in a convenient and accessible service.
Redcliffe has also launched an educational website Myhealth which provides information on its range of tests and relevant health conditions. Via videos and articles from qualified doctors, it helps consumers understand and address common preventable health issues at an early stage. Each Redcliffe test comes with the offer of a free consultation with a doctor to provide the customer with a correct interpretation of their results.
To date, Redcliffe has grown within and outside metropolitan centres, with the latter being the key engine for growth. The group target cities with a population of 750,000 and above in a bid to build a closely knit regional and satellite lab network. Roughly 65% of total customers are classified as low-income consumers living in households earning less than US$ 11.20 per day.
Cover image: Photo by Shiv Prasad on Unsplash
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 help 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 digitalization 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. Work will also be conducted to optimise the company’s proprietary technology platform which supports front-end patient engagement alongside back-end operations, and to ensure its educational website maintains relevant.
Training for logistics staff will be a focus to ensure that they can provide relevant information to other members of a customer’s household while making their visits, to increase awareness and customer referrals. Improving gender diversity across the firm will be a focus. This is critically important in Redcliffe’s phlebotomy teams, as female customers are often more comfortable interacting with a female health worker.
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.