This Startup Aims To Reduce Healthcare Bills to Zero Bengaluru-based Clinikk is making service deliveries efficient, affordable and accessible

By Soumya Duggal

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"Clinikk is building an accessible and integrated healthcare service that acts as a singular point for a family's medical needs," said Bhavjot Kaur, who co-founded the health-tech startup in Bengaluru in 2018.

The healthcare industry boomed following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased the pressure on an already over-burdened industry in the country. Additionally, lockdowns and other restrictions impeded the common person's access to several facilities and services essential for their health and well-being. Since physical contact between patients and healthcare providers was not possible, many startups, such as Clinikk, sought to mitigate the resultant issues through developing new technology.

"Our initial products bundled primary care (through telehealth) with financial protection, provided through a health insurance company, for gig economy workers. Shortly afterward, we set up five primary care centers called Clinikk Health Hubs and launched the 2nd iteration of our product. Named Clinikk Health Plans, it offered in-person and discounted primary care at a Clinikk Health Hub along with a hospitalization cover," explained Kaur.

Cut to 2022 and the startup's footprint in Bengaluru has now expanded to 16 Clinikk Health Hubs. It has also recently launched its flagship plan, the Clinikk Smart Diamond Plan. With this, Clinikk subscribers can now avail free and unlimited doctor consultations at Clinikk Health Hubs and through teleconsultations. "They are also entitled to free diagnostics, medicines, and specialist care up to a generous limit along with health insurance that we have from a health insurance company," said Kaur.

The last two years have changed the future of heath-tech in the post-pandemic world. Technology has made service deliveries efficient, affordable and accessible. In healthcare too, a tech layer can transform the way people access healthcare, believes Kaur. She said, "The pandemic made tele-medicine popular and that has also opened several possibilities for accessing healthcare. While the pandemic forced the technological adoption of healthcare service delivery both by consumers and providers, Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission (ABDM) will revolutionize healthcare by developing an interoperable public digital infrastructure. This will streamline data-flow and standardization that will reduce healthcare costs by cutting down administrative and processing costs. It will also allow the ecosystem to take a more proactive approach toward better health outcomes with real-time analytics. Ultimately, this tech layer will help India move to a value-based system of care that is evidenced and protocol-based."

For any business opportunity, an increase in demand is always a double-edged sword: it enhances the possibility of entrepreneurial success but also increases competition. What then sets Clinikk apart from the many competitors that currently populate the healthcare startup scene? "We provide integrated healthcare by providing primary health care along with health financing," said Kaur, explaining, "So while one aspect of our proposition is aimed at value-based care to derive better health outcomes for individuals, the other proposition makes healthcare extremely affordable and easily accessible. Together this makes for a healthcare plan that brings various aspects of healthcare, such as doctor consults, pharmacy, diagnostics, and even hospitalization under one roof through a subscription."

"Our plans aim to reduce subscriber bills on healthcare to zero and make healthcare more meaningful and holistic. It's important to note that health financing for hospitalization alone doesn't solve healthcare needs for individuals, it's making day-to-day health care expenses incurred on out-patient carefree that truly addresses the healthcare needs. We are solving for this and with the adoption of technology, we are able to do this much more effectively through protocol and value-based care."

Given the current impetus of technology on new-age healthcare insurance companies, what does the future hold for this sector?

"For health insurance to be more meaningful and impactful, it's important to have an integrated approach. Technology can help achieve this objective and can pave for value-based care that makes healthcare not just affordable but also outcome-driven. The future of health insurance should not only stop at making hospitalization affordable or the cover more comprehensive but also focus on keeping customers healthy and out of hospitals. To this end, health insurance offerings need to be more comprehensive by also providing for recurring out-patient expenses. Digitization and structured data will make it possible for health-tech, insure-tech companies to offer end-to-end care and also collate and maintain longitudinal data that will significantly improve customer experience with healthcare and overall health outcomes through timely interventions and preventive care."

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