Coronavirus: E-diagnostics startup KlinicApp brings COVID-19 testing to homes as India scales up capacity
The coronavirus outbreak hasn’t impacted any sector as much as healthcare — and by extension, healthtech. From drug manufacturers to hospitals, diagnostic labs and pharmacies, each stakeholder in the value chain faces a compelling need to innovate.
For Gurugram-based KlinicApp, it was no different.
Earlier this week, the e-diagnostics startup launched COVID-19 tests on its platform, becoming one of the few ICMR-authorised entities to enable home testing for coronavirus detection. The tests are being provided in collaboration with government-approved labs like Thyrocare and Metropolis.
KlinicApp is also in talks with other stakeholders to be able to source “100 percent-certified” testing kits and ramp up its capacity. Each ‘SARS-COV-2 Detection’ package costs Rs 4,500 as per the Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines, and results are made available in 48 hours.
The startup has launched doorstep COVID-19 testing in Mumbai, and plans to roll it out in Pune and Delhi in a week. Patients can simply call 8929176409 and book a test, but only after they produce a doctor's prescription.
Satkam Divya, Founder and CEO, KlinicApp, tells YourStory,
“Mumbai has always been a strong market for us in terms of logistics. Maharashtra also happens to be the most affected state when it comes to positive coronavirus cases in the country. So, it makes sense for us to focus here.”
Maharashtra has recorded 325 confirmed coronavirus cases and 12 deaths so far.
What doorstep COVID-19 testing entails
KlinicApp has deployed 100 phlebotomists on ground for collecting samples in Mumbai. They are trained extensively as per ICMR guidelines, and are equipped with disposable safety suits (personal protective equipment) and other adequate gear.
Each phlebotomist can conduct two to three tests per day, considering the COVID-19 process is slower than a typical blood test. KlinicApp plans to scale up testing capacity “sufficiently” across major Indian cities in the coming weeks.
The founder shares,
“We have queries coming in from various cities, but it is important for us to have the perfect training and the right safety equipment for our on-ground fleet. The visibility on COVID-19 tests is gradually improving. In the coming weeks, we hope to be able to procure more kits from the right sources.”
However, unlike other packages on its platform, COVID-19 tests aren’t discounted by KlinicApp. Besides bookings, it also provides preventive tips, hygiene and social distancing measures for users to help curb community transmission of the virus.
For healthcare operators, the challenges posed by the coronavirus have been rapid and unprecedented, but quick adaptation is what helps companies stay relevant.
“We expect other business to be slow now. With people at home, and in the middle of a lockdown, they will tend to push their regular tests by 15 or 20 days. COVID-19 testing is the biggest need now, and we understand the importance of embracing change in a fast-evolving healthcare ecosystem.”
Operational growth since launch
When KlinicApp launched in late 2015, India’s e-diagnostics sector was very nascent. Preventive healthcare was almost unheard of, and patients booked tests only when they were pushed by their doctors.
Monitoring health on a consistent basis was not something Indians did. To top that, most non-metro cities were either starved of quality diagnostic labs or had facilities that were unorganised and unaffordable.
KlinicApp managed to plug that gap with its aggregation model and 'One Nation, One Price' policy, which standardised prices irrespective of geography. Users could not only book end-to-end diagnostic tests but also discover suitable facilities based on their requirements.
Additionally, the startup also built an AI-based algorithm that allowed users to check their susceptibility to certain ailments and lifestyle disorders.
In four years, KlinicApp has serviced about 200,000 patients and conducted more than 7.3 million tests. It has expanded its fleet of phlebotomists to 300. They collect samples that are sent to NABL-certified labs for testing. Reports are made available to patients within 24 hours of collection.
The platform currently services 8,500 customers and clocks a gross booking value (GBV) of Rs 1 crore per month. Almost 80 percent of the startup’s business comes from the top five metros, the founder reveals. “Our business has grown 2x in the last one year. About 41 percent are repeat users, which is a good measure of the value we have delivered," says the founder.
"We will continue to maintain our focus on preventive healthcare, and help people monitor their health better. Diagnostics is the first step, towards that" he adds.
Does KlinicApp plan to add more categories, especially medicine delivery, which has turned out to be the pressing need in times of a nationwide lockdown?
Satkam says, “We don’t plan to get into new categories at this juncture. The plan is to go deep in the categories we already have and do a very good job of them in every city.”
Healthcare in a post-coronavirus world
Without mincing words, KlinicApp founder observes that global healthcare has been “badly exposed” by the novel coronavirus.
“All countries will have to think about health infra and last-mile delivery post the pandemic. It will be a huge challenge,” he says.
The unpreparedness of even developed countries like the US and Italy has shocked the world. Investments in public healthcare ought to go up across the board.
In India, which has been under the scanner for its inadequate COVID-19 testing, investments may not go up overnight.
Satkam believes that healthcare companies will now scout for “long-term partnerships” when they raise capital or otherwise. KlinicApp too looks to raise funding, but at a better time, says the founder.
In the past, the startup has raised seed funding from FireInfotech, Whiteboard Capital and the Burman Family Office fund.
KlinicApp competes with the likes of Practo, Mylab, Healthians, mFine, MedLife, and others in a fast-growing e-diagnostics sector, estimated to be worth Rs 45,000 crore by RedSeer. Incidentally, even Practo has made COVID-19 tests available for booking on its platform in collaboration with Thyrocare.
India may have scaled only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the coronavirus crisis. But, Satkam assures that KlinicApp is “fully committed to the fight against COVID-19 and will help the nation come out of this difficult situation.”
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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