Digitalizing Healthcare – Deeshana Basnayake, CEO of Healthnet International

Deeshana Basnayake, Chief Executive Operator of Healthnet International commenced his career at Hemas Pharmaceuticals in 1997. A decade later he joined HSBC, working towards expanding his knowledge and skills for 9 years in areas of strategic growth, change management, and compliance. In 2015, Deeshana returned to the Pharmaceutical industry to pursue a lifelong dream of establishing an online pharmacy hoping to make a difference in the healthcare sector.

As the CEO and Board Member, Deeshana transformed the Pharmaceutical industry by starting the first Online Pharmacy in Sri Lanka.  Healthnet would be known as the only pharmacy that helps reduce medication and eliminate chronic illnesses. They go beyond dispensing medicine to offer doorstep delivery and pill reminders which translates to medication adherence, providing customers a sense of reassurance and control in deciding the most convenient method of order placement and transaction. Healthnet ensures consistent and professional conduct in all interaction points, making customers feel connected throughout their recovery time.

Healthnet has been a game-changer to the industry by helping doctors and patients get the best medication on time/Insurance companies to offer customers a cashless experience/Patient assistance with medication adherence/Pharmaceutical importers and manufacturers assisting with cost-effective distribution with big data/work cohesively with stakeholders for digital transformation across the healthcare industry, using tech innovation.

The concept of a fully-fledged online pharmacy was brought into approach back in 2013 when there was an urgent medical necessity that was not able to be fulfilled by Deeshana on time as the pharmaceutical industry lacked the necessary services; thereby striking the innovation. After conducting vigorous research over the next two years, Healthnet was launched in 2015. The concept behind this digitalization was that of encountering all necessary medication under one roof, by carrying out an impressive distribution network for the clients, where patients are able to gain advice from licensed pharmacists as well educate themselves on their medication all from the comfort of their homes.  

When questioned about the values that come forth in running a successful business, the pharmaceutical game-changer emphasizes assessing the trust and faith clienteles have in being delivered the right medication on time as well as taking the long run towards any processes internally, maintaining loyalty between both relationships and of course gratitude towards clients and the team who drive Healthnet in achieving its goals.

Speaking of the challenges the company faced during the launch, the CEO stated how at the time, online ventures were at an introductory level, therefore the concept was quite new. Easy access to medication over the internet was not a growing factor so breaking this perception was rather strenuous considering no license was processed by the National Medicine Regulatory Authority for a business such as Online Pharmaceutical Services. This generated officials towards providing Healthnet a specific set of guidelines, concerning data security and making sure everything was in place maintaining patient confidentiality, and privatizing record management.

Deeshana confirmed that licensed pharmacists were made available to patients who lacked adequate information on their medication, this was so done free of service therefore elevating the necessary capital was rather a long walk in the blazing sun given there was no verification that this model of business would work. The company has a large operational element involving their concept, although this involved taking the lengthier route in outsourcing processes and compromising on quality control. Through many trials and having to face continuous challenges, he along with his exceptional team were able to overcome all obstacles through a systematic process.

During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Healthnet serviced a vast number of diversified clienteles as their needs were disrupted by the shortage of medication in the market. The Covid-19 pandemic had a drastic effect on many people’s jobs, some employees, unfortunately, lost their jobs during a difficult time whereas some were fortunate enough to continue their work from the comforts of their home. He states how there was a significant improvement in productivity when his employees worked from home, this did not regard to them being on-call constantly but it benefitted in terms of saving time and money commuting to work while the company saw large savings which would be transferred to their staff and clientele. A number of safety guidelines needed to be followed, which limited staff interaction which is rather essential, but due to the pandemic and its strict health guidelines, the majority of consumers valued online services, which ended in “benefitting and contributing to their behavioral change.”

Questioning his interests outside of work he stated “My family always comes first, and I love spending time with my wife and two daughters.” We are all aware family is one of the most important and valuable gifts of life. Aside from the significant role he plays, the CEO of Healthnet, relishes reading and acquiring knowledge amongst different fields and sectors, sharpening his thinking skills, keeping up to date with current affairs around the world, enjoys a social gathering amongst friends, fancies sports such as golf and intends in traveling our beautiful world once the Global pandemic settles.

Deeshana draws inspiration from the heroic leader Martin Luther King Jr. galvanizing over his prominent quote “If you can’t fly then run if you can’t run then walk if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward” Taking this to a conclusion, he made aware within the next three years, the team at Healthnet are attentive on obtaining the best medication at reasonable prices and is enthralled on working towards the future; improving technology and functioning seamlessly to their clients.

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