Diagnostics centres have technologically evolved over the years. Arindam Haldar, CEO, SRL Diagnostics, spoke to BE’s Aniket Panja.
Q. What are the latest technological advancements in the diagnostic sector?
A. Technology is in a constant flux when it comes to In-Vitro Diagnostics (IVD). At SRL, we have pioneered commercialisation of quite a few diagnostic platforms including automated Real Time PCR, Sanger Sequencing, Luminex, Ribotyping, Pyrosequencing, Mass Spectrometry, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) for stone analysis, fluorescence enzyme immunoassay (FEIA) and the ELISPOT technology for detection of tuberculosis and viral transplant infections. At one end, we have the latest next generation sequencing platforms for unravelling genetic alternations in human samples or for detecting cancer through liquid biopsy and on the other end, our Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) approved research and development centre in Mumbai continues to look at home grown tests, pursue translational research and publish our biomarker research findings in international and national journals.
Q. What steps are being taken to ensure that patients are well looked after?
A. All SRL Labs follow the highest standards of diagnostic service including the NABL and CAP accreditation guideline, which ensure quality control, hygiene and a superior customer service. Our customers can reach out to SRL centres across the country (400 labs and above 6000 collection points) through our digital app and also opt for home collection of pathology samples.
Q. How do you minimise diagnostic errors?
A. We are well aware that chance of a diagnostic error remains throughout the diagnostic process. However, more than two thirds of diagnostic errors occur in the pre-analytical phase.
Q. How important is funding for the growth of research in the diagnostic process?
A. We believe in the importance of research and technology in our business and we are the pioneers in setting up of an in house R&D centre. Our R&D focus is not only on looking inward but also to connect and collaborate with clinicians and our IVD partners. Our R&D centre has received the recognition from the DSIR.
Q. Do private diagnostic centres have an advantage over government run facilities?
A. Although it should not be generalised but large private players may have some advantages like congregation of expert medical talent, expedited procedures to procure advanced technologies and provide superior services and has the potential to increase reach and expand the collection network rapidly.
Q. How do you ensure that latest medical treatment and diagnostic processes are accessible at affordable prices?
A. Quality healthcare services have improved significantly owing to technological advancements, improvements in basic infrastructure and higher private spends. For the urban population, home collection facilities, introduction of mobile app based services have contributed towards better access to SRL’s services. For the rural markets, the best way to provide quality diagnostics services is through a PPP model. Some examples are Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand where SRL is working with the government to provide affordable diagnostic services