Tata Medical & Diagnostics (Tata MD), the Tata Group’s healthcare and medtech venture, has acquired AccessBell, a San Francisco-based enterprise solutions startup, in an effort to bolster its telemedicine and remote healthcare services.
Founded in March 2020 by Stanford MBA graduates Martin Aguinis, Josh Payne and Kamil Ali, AccessBell offers customisable, fully-managed video conferencing and teleconferencing services to various sectors, particularly targeting the needs of large enterprises, as well as companies in healthcare and education.
According to its website, the startup’s healthtech solution AccessBell Telehealth integrates with existing electronic health record systems, medical devices and software endpoints running off-the-shelf hospital or healthcare management software. “We secure your real-time video in our cloud or yours, enabling multiple use cases for virtual care, including rural ambulatory, maternal fetal medicine, pediatrics, and high-demand specialties, such as neurology, cardiology, and psychology,” the company claims.
In a LinkedIn post announcing the acquisition, the AccessBell team said, “Tata Medical & Diagnostics group plans to use our software to provide teleconferencing services to deliver healthcare services.”
Tata Medical’s Remote Healthcare Play
Tata MD, which was founded amid the pandemic last year, has focussed on Covid-specific solutions through an omnichannel approach. It operates on the so-called ‘Bridgital’ model, choosing to work in partnerships and collaborative frameworks with global industry leaders and research organisations.
Tata Medical & Diagnostics was one of the private partners tapped by the government for its official telemedicine platform. The Indian government launched a Aarogya Setu Mitr app for free telemedicine and consultation services for coronavirus-related inquiries in collaboration with Tata MD, Swasth Foundation, Project StepOne and Tech Mahindra’s healthcare brand Connectsense Telehealth.
It is unclear whether the AccessBell acquisition will align with the Tata Group’s recent healthtech-focussed investments. For instance, the company has invested in online pharmacy and telemedicine platform 1mg as well as health, fitness and wellness startup Curefit. Both these deals are said to be preparing groundwork for a potential acquisition in the future by Tata Digital, the digital services arm of the Tata Group conglomerate. Will AccessBell be the technology that binds these two platforms, or will Tata MD have exclusive access to the tech?
Besides working on Aarogya Setu Mitr, Tata MD also launched Tata MD CHECK, claimed to be the world’s first commercially available CRISPR Cas-9 based Covid-19 test. It plans to extend Tata MD CHECK to other diseases and medical applications as a comprehensive diagnostic tool in the near future.
It also operates Tata MD Secure, which offers healthcare and safety services such as bio bubbles, contact tracing, risk management and more to businesses, schools, workplaces and other real-world events in the post-pandemic world.
Writing about the acquisition by Tata Medical & Diagnostics, AccessBell cofounder Aguinis wrote, “We started this company with a core mission to better connect people in this digital age. I’m thrilled to see AccessBell playing a global role in the important shift of telemedicine and digital connectivity, something that is needed now more than ever due to COVID-19.”