Interview: Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan, Entrepreneur, MD and CEO of Healthwatch Telediagnostics

S Senthil Kandeepan

Interview with Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan, Entrepreneur, MD and CEO of Healthwatch Telediagnostics

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan is the founder, MD, and CEO of Healthwatch, a pioneer in offering at-home telediagnostics and international healthcare outsourcing.

At the company’s helm, he oversees all key business aspects, including employee wellbeing, company culture, customer experience, operations delivery, and business development and growth.

He also spearheads the company’s operations in accordance with the mission, vision, and core values established during the inception of Healthwatch.

Dr. Kandeepan’s enriched business acumen and expertise stem from his educational background in business administration, labor laws and management, and public administration.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Labour Management, a master’s degree in public administration, and a post- graduate diploma in labour management and labour law from Madras University.

Dr. Kandeepan began his professional career with acclaimed organizations, including MRF and Taj Hotels by Tata Group, in the field of talent management and industrial relations.

After working in the corporate sector for around four years, he felt a disconnect to the social cause and started preparing for Indian Civil Services with an intent to serve humanity.

With years of unimpeded spirit to make significant contributions to human life, he laid the foundation of Cardiopulse Heart Care (CHC) in 2005.

It was incepted as a company dedicated to bringing futuristic healthcare solutions to the Indian space. Under his strategic leadership, the company branched into multiple entities, including Healthwatch Telediagnostics, committed to making healthcare smarter, more effective, affordable, and less intrusive.

With Healthwatch, Dr. Kandeepan is on a mission to create value for people with cutting-edge diagnostic technology.

Dr. Kandeepan has been conferred with several recognitions for bringing innovative healthcare practices to mainstream healthcare in India and other Southeast Asian countries.

He also received the ‘lifetime achievement’ award from Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, and has been bestowed with an honorary doctorate for humanitarian services from the International University for Complementary Medicine in Colombo.

At the pole position of Healthwatch, Dr. Kandeepan envisions a future where the company’s solutions will make a difference in every human life.

Enriched with years of experience, he drives the team to take the company to unprecedented heights while staying true to their core principle – to be on the frontline of healthcare transformation.

Five years down the line, he intends to make Healthwatch a global leader in cardiac rhythm management with a three-fold growth to cross INR 100 crores in revenue per annum.

He also intends to expand the company’s workforce by creating employment opportunities for around 750 to 1,000 new graduates yearly.

An avid wildlife photographer, Dr. Kandeepan has traveled extensively across the globe in pursuit of the subliminal.

He is a fitness enthusiast, long-distance runner and cyclist who has completed staggering 20 full- and half-marathons in India and abroad.

Originally from a beautiful hilly tea town called Valparai in Tamil Nadu, Dr. Kandeepan now lives in New Delhi with his wife and daughter.

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born in Valparai in the southwestern town of Tamil Nadu. My father ran a bakery and grocery, while my mother is a homemaker.

After being schooled in Valparai, a small hill-town surrounded by tea estates and a tiger reserve, I earned a bachelor’s degree in labour management and industrial relations from the Tamil Nadu Institute of Labour Studies, Madras University in Chennai, and went on to complete a master’s degree in public administration and a post-graduate diploma in business management, majoring in labour relations and law from the same university. I now live in New Delhi with my wife and daughter.

Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: It’s been quite a journey and I wouldn’t have it any other way or change a single thing.

I began my professional career in the personnel department in a fleet division at MRF, Chennai. Within a year I had moved to the Taj Hotels in Chennai managing industrial relations and Human resources.

However, as much as I loved my work, all through my stint, there was a feeling gnawing away at my insides, of my lacking a clear sense of contribution to society.

My solution to this was to join the Indian Civil Services, because I thought as an officer of the IAS, which is probably the most impactful social service in the country, I could work that had deep meaning and purpose, and make a tangible change.

However, for whatever reasons when that didn’t work out, I realised that becoming an entrepreneur was the only other way of executing my vision of playing a part in the crafting of my country’s future.

So in 2005, after a protracted time of analysing where an enterprising intervention was most needed, I founded Cardiopulse Heart Care(CHC), conceived as a vehicle for futuristic healthcare solutions in the Indian space.

Under my leadership, the company branched into multiple entities, including CHC Meditech Tech Private Limited, trading high technology medical equipment and Healthwatch Telediagnostics in 2010, specialising in round-the-clock cardiac rhythm monitoring globally.

As MD and CEO of Healthwatch Telediagnostics, I today oversee all key business aspects, including employee wellbeing, company culture, customer experience, operations delivery, and business development and growth. The journey couldn’t have been more rewarding and enriching.

Kindly brief us about your company, its specialization, and the services that it offers

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: In an industry often perceived as cold and clinical, here is a company whose tagline contains ‘listening to the heart’ – a credo by which it lives by both word and spirit.

Meet Healthwatch, a pioneering company offering at-home telediagnostics and international healthcare outsourcing, specialized in cardiac rhythm monitoring, experts in what ails the heart.

As an undisputed leader in Cardiac Rhythm Management, its focus is on saving lives with timely diagnosis, delivering the fastest turnaround on cardiac data interpretation worldwide, not a trivial distinction to achieve.

Founded in 2010, Healthwatch is the brainchild of Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan, a visionary social entrepreneur who wanted to elevate the levels of healthcare in India to global standards.

He laid the company’s foundation with the vision to introduce and offer the best diagnostic equipment and services available globally, to the Indian space.

Over the years, Healthwatch has introduced a focused range of revolutionary services powered by futuristic technologies, but its flagship service remains the at-home extended holter test, a completely patient-friendly diagnostic test that is designed to detect a wide range of cardiac arrythmia.

It uses a matchbox-sized wireless and waterproof device that is installed on a patient’s chest with an adhesive electrode patch, and records beat-to-beat ECG for up to 14 days without the need for a recharge.

The patient is also free to go about their daily activities, including showering, sleeping and working, all while wearing the device, which both avoids any disruption to the patient’s life, as well as provides the most accurate data on the condition of their heart.

The history of the service dates to 2011, when Healthwatch introduced the first at-home holter diagnostics with a centralized reporting platform.

Soon, in 2014, the first leadless patch monitoring system was introduced in India for the first time. Subsequently, in 2018, the multiple-day recording capability of the holter device was extended to the current maximum of 14 days.

The service is now offered in over 75 Indian cities, and patients can book a test easily on Healthwatch’s website or speak to an agent.

The at-home service is scheduled promptly, and reports are delivered within 24 hours of completion of the test.

It is precisely for such innovations that Healthwatch’s parent company, CHC Healthcare, received the prestigious WCCPGCI award for “outstanding contributions in the field of preventive cardiology” by the late President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, in 2007.

Says Dr. Kandeepan that the company’s firm roots in the international arena as a healthcare outsourcing company servicing over 10,000 patients every single day help it leverage and infuse global best practices into its India services.

Apart from holter tests, Healthwatch also offers ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) tests. Both individual patients as well as healthcare establishments like hospitals, clinics and medical practitioners are its clients.

With its state-of-the-art medical equipment and services, Healthwatch forays ahead into becoming the default service provider of choice for international heart-rhythm monitoring and telediagnostics among healthcare providers, remaining on the frontline of healthcare transformation in India.

The company aspires to disrupt the status quo with value-driven innovative products and services, especially in home healthcare, cardiac diagnostics, hypertension, and teleradiology.

Healthwatch is ever strengthening its position in the Indian space. Its offices are located across five Indian cities, viz. New Delhi, Chennai, Salem, Bengaluru and Mumbai, of which its international outsourcing centers of excellence are based in the first three. Also, it has a registered offshore office in New Jersey, USA.

Having a team of over 300 employees, Healthwatch is the largest employer of heart rhythm specialists outside the US, and plans to recruit and train an additional 100 core personnel in the international cardiac rhythm division this year.

What service(s) or product(s) do you offer?

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: At CHC we are the first and last word on anything to do with non-invasive cardiac diagnostics. Through Healthwatch, a CHC company, we offer remote cardiac rhythm monitoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year, with absolutely record turnaround times and quality metrics.

This includes ECG interpretation, event monitoring and more. We’ve clocked over a staggering 3 billion hours of ECG interpretation to date, and handle over 500,000 hours of it every day, serving some 15,000 patients in three centres of excellence in India, catering to clients from four continents.

The other main service from Healthwatch is at-home holter tests, using the revolutionary myPatch holter device that weighs all of 28 grams, is completely free of wires, and totally waterproof. It is also administered right at the patient’s home, so the disruption to the patient’s life is virtually nil.

We also offer ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) tests using an advanced precision blood-pressure device by IEM Germany, which, by measuring a patient’s blood pressure every few minutes for at least 24 hours, offers a much more realistic reading of their cardiac health, than the conventional blood pressure measurement which is prone to erroneous diagnosis due to the phenomena of white-coat and masked hypertension.

What is unique about your brand?

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: I’d say it’s our commitment to quality, ethics and complete patient-centricity. Our vision is to save every human life possible through the timely delivery of incisive health intelligence at affordable prices and uncompromised accuracy and excellence.

We strive to achieve this through a four-pronged mission of practising ethical healthcare, reducing costs, adopting only non-invasive methods and delivering the utmost value.

What made you choose this vertical of healthcare?

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: In my quest to make a difference to society, I had identified the healthcare, education and food industries as my areas of focus, and had eventually decided to go with the first.

CHC MediTech, the first company I founded under the CHC banner, gave me the confidence that I had chosen right.

It was then a matter of learning more and finding out where I could create value and solve problems. So when I managed to set up a process for heart rhythm monitoring, it became clear that I was on the right track, and that the hospital and healthcare industry was where I wanted to make a difference, because that’s where the maximum disparity was in what was available in India versus what was already common abroad.

What was your mission and vision at the outset?

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: When CHC was founded, much modern medical equipment, which is considered commonplace today, was conspicuously missing in the Indian healthcare infrastructure, and my vision was to change that.

Also, I was clear that I wanted CHC to be as much a service provider, changemaker and innovator as a business.

Since the beginning I’ve emphasised that we’re in the service of saving lives, which is certainly the noblest kind of service you can aim to provide.

How many employees do you have?

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: We have close to 500 employees on full-time roll as of today. We take pride in the fact that a majority of these were hired as rank freshers, with absolutely zero prior experience, which means we invested in talent and trusted them to deliver, which they have resoundingly.

Another aspect of talent management that’s very close to our heart is women empowerment through economic enablement: how much we have been able to achieve in this regard is reflected in the fact that our workforce is constituted of more women than men, and has been for as long as we can remember now.

We have a set of very strong uncompromisable values when it comes to employee policy, that include inclusivity, fairness, empathy, empowerment and more.

Everybody is clearly aware of the growth path and has equal opportunity to progress in their career, and everyone is a participant in taking the company towards a common goal – of creating value and saving lives using the power of telediagnostics.

What are your company’s goals?

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: We want to do great work for as many people as possible, and in this age of remote work and the phenomenon of the world being a global village, we don’t necessarily see a need for physical presence across the globe in order to have a global impact.

We have some very exciting plans to introduce new products and services that aspire to change how things are done, and you’ll hear of them in due course.

The goal always remains the same – be of as much value as possible to as many people around the world as possible.

What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur?

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: I founded CHC out of a fond desire for my country to have access to the best global equipment and practices in healthcare.

I couldn’t understand why there was still disparity, and I didn’t want to accept the status quo without transforming it for the better.

And doing it on my own was the best way in which I could do it. It was the inherent itch that I believe most entrepreneurs have – of taking a problem and solving it; of looking at a situation and improving it; of wanting to be a part of a positive change, of enablement; and of dreaming of the future and wanting to be involved in its fruition.

What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: The roadblocks have been many, but I don’t remember them much, for that would be like driving forward while looking back.

What I do remember are the lessons learned, and there have been many, and the gist is this: challenges are the engines of progress and innovation.

Every stumbling block is an opportunity to discover something new about ourselves, whether that’s a strength or a weakness, and this knowledge is crucial to tiding over the weaknesses. The important thing is to keep moving forward.

Key things to consider before starting a business.

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: The most important thing to consider is your intention. If the intention is only to make money, it probably won’t get very far.

This is not to say you won’t make money when you start a business, of course! What it means is that there should be an intention exceeding monetary benefit.

What problem are you solving with your business? How are you going to add value to someone’s life or business?

How are you going to leverage skills to make a substantial, measurable difference? Has what you intend to do already been done?

And if it hasn’t worked, how are you going to do it differently? These are the crucial things to answer before starting a business.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: Same as above. Think about your intent carefully. Have clarity, make a plan. Don’t jump first and then look. The more conscious you are about your decisions, the more likely you’ll succeed.

Your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Dr (Hon) S Senthil Kandeepan: Understand that success is not in your hands; it’s only your effort that you can control. Success has a chance of happening only when based on the foundation of preparation.

Don’t be blindsided by random ambition. Take the reliable bedrock of knowledge, add your imagination atop it, and build a strong structure.

Most of all, remember that the definition of success is variable, and highly individual. For me, any definition of success is too narrow and myopic if it isn’t to do with helping others succeed, whether it is at doing their job better or living to see another day, and doing this for as many people as possible.

The reason I feel this way is very simple: happiness begets happiness, and success begets success. But in an increasingly dehumanised world of virtualisation, we are tending to isolate ourselves into silos of self-importance, and forgetting the fundamental reason for humanity’s resounding success on the planet – at least in terms of longevity and population, which is cooperation, co-existence, transaction, relationships.

Without these, we could never succeed as a species, let alone as individuals, and so my idea and sense of success is constantly informed by staying conscious of this fundamental nature of our existence.


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