CEO Profile: OptraSCAN’s Abhi Gholap

| October 17, 2017

This is the fifth in a series of CEO short interviews about their views on their company, the digital pathology market, lessons learned and perhaps a little insight into their business principles.  My personal thanks to Mr. Gholap and OptraSCAN’s team for their time and efforts to complete this interview and provide some insights into their company’s vision, lessons learned and personal insights of their CEO!

What is your vision for your company?

It’s been about two decades that the Pathology industry has attempted Digital Transformation. Exorbitant costs have limited its adoption—it is my vision to enable Digital Pathology to become affordable, seamless to integrate and available to every pathology laboratory and office, globally.

In what ways is the digital pathology market unique from other industries you have worked in?

The Pathology market is often compared with Radiology, as everyone knows that Radiology has embraced digital transformation, but Pathology has lagged and is still manual/optical. Pathologists are very intelligent professionals who rely on hand-eye co-ordination to look at morphological patterns in a contextual manner. Replacing this whole process with digital tools and techniques, requires artificial intelligence and significant investments. Whereas, their present tools (i.e. visual microscope, glass slides) are a simple and cost effective tool. Thus, transformation of this industry poses a challenge similar to what computers were faced with when uprooting a pen and paper process in the late 70’s. Digital Transformation requires an intelligent solution, at a fraction of the cost of those in the Radiology market.

What does the digital pathology market look like in 2020?

There would be a Digital Pathology system on the desk of every pathologist (is our mission). We are committed to replace the microscope in every tissue or cell diagnostic/research lab to improve outcomes.

What challenges remain for digital pathology adoption?

Cost, regulatory hurdles, adequate tools for tele-consultation and computer aided diagnostics are some of the high priority challenges for digital pathology adoption.

What have you learned from working in this space that you did not anticipate when you started?

When I founded OptraSCAN in 2015, the needs of the industry were very clear to me: cost effectiveness and easy-to-use solutions that do not compromise quality standards for pathology interpretation. I did not realize that second opinions/ teleconsults would greatly benefit our subscription-based, ‘pay-per-use’ business model. We’re seeing a surge in interest of pathologists in the US who want to offer expert services to developing countries like India, China, South Africa, Brazil, etc. I’m surprised to see the enormous potential for market growth in these vast economies. Opportunities are emerging for insourcing to aid patients worldwide.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Disruptor/Innovator

What do you consider your greatest personal or professional success?

Building a Digital Pathology system for the price of a microscope and not compromising quality and performance.

What is one thing few, if any, know about you? 

I am also a Film Maker in Bollywood, India. It’s my hobby that has been converted into a successful business after winning three National awards for my debut production.

What was your college major? 

“BioMedical Engineering” at Indian Institute of Technology and “Startups” at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

What newspapers do you read on a regular basis?

Mercury News
Times of India
Wall Street Journal

If Hollywood made a movie about your life would it be a drama or a comedy or an action film?

Interesting question… No idea but Inspirational for sure!

What did you want to be when you “grew up”?

I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and have my own startups to allow me freedom to think, innovate and disrupt. I’m glad I’ve had a series of opportunities to build various businesses. OptraSCAN is my fourth business venture.

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Category: Advocacy, Anatomic Pathology, Business, Clinical Laboratories, Cloud Computing, Current Affairs, Data Management, Digital Pathology News, Education, File format, Informatics, International, Laboratory Management & Operations, Microscopy, Pathology News, Storage, TeleHealth, Vendor products, Web/Tech, Whole slide

Comments (1)

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  1. sohan modak says:

    To do digital histopathology/histology, you must have good understanding of the 3 dimentional morphometry of tissue sections, something that most pathologists and digitizers forget, if not ignore that can lead to monumentally false conclusions.
    See for example:

    Modak, S.P., Lever, W.E. and Uppuluri, V.R.R (1972). Estimation of cell nuclei cut at the surface of the tissue sections. Exp.Cell Res. 70, 465-468.
    Modak, S.P., Lever, W.E., Therwath, A.M. and Uppuluri, V.R.R. (1973). Estimation of the proportion of cell nuclei in tissue sections falling within tritium-autoradiographic range. Exp.Cell Res.76, 73-78.