Apollo Health Street eyeing acquisitions

Apollo Health Street eyeing acquisitions

Mumbai: Andrew DeVoe has a challenging mandate as he takes on his new assignment as group chief executive officer and president at Apollo Health Street group, a health-care business process outsourcing (BPO) company that is part of the Apollo Hospitals Group.

He has to ensure the company achieves its vision of becoming the largest, fully integrated global player in this space. It’s a tall order.

But the former chief financial officer at the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) isn’t balking at the prospect. DeVoe, who holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee, said he plans to expand the company through a combination of acquisitions and an aggressive organic growth plan.

The health-care BPO space has a huge potential for growth due to which he is confident of making Apollo Health Street the leading player, he said. The company, which expects to close the year with revenues of $55 million (Rs223.8 crore), offers revenue management and medical transcription services to hospitals and physician groups and claims administration services to insurance companies, in addition to other services.

To some extent, the growth plan is contingent on the company’s inorganic strategy.

Apollo Health Street is in advanced stages of negotiations with two US-based BPO firms for a possible takeover, one of which is believed to be Zavata Inc. DeVoe declined to divulge details, but said the companies have synergies with Apollo Health Street. “They can be BPO firms, that have niche services, specially health-care focused and those who have back office operations in India," he said.

The acquisitions will help the company accelerate the process of becoming fully integrated, which means that it will offer the complete range of back office services to both health-care provides and insurance companies. “We have a high degree of integration, but there are additional opportunities for us. The inorganic strategy will help us capitalize on these opportunities (sooner)," he said.

As with other players in the BPO business, India forms a key element of the overall strategy. DeVoe said that in addition to gaining from India’s obvious advantages of highly educated, English-speaking manpower, the company also aims to drive greater cost-efficiencies by utilizing the significant wage differential between the United States and other parts of the globe.

For those in the health-care BPO space, he said, the time difference factor between the two countries is also a big plus. “When I was at UPHS, we observed that our physicians could submit their records electronically in the evening and their reports would be ready the next day morning. The time difference between India and US is a great advantage and we in the health-care sector get the best benefits of that," he said.

Apollo Health has its largest team operating out of India. It has 1,000 employees in Hyderabad and another 130 in New Delhi. Its US operations have 300 employees. The company also plans to set up two more centres—one in Hyderabad and the other in Chennai.