How Clinikk is making quality healthcare not just affordable and accessible but also inclusive

With critical elements like a native-language based family doctor, low-cost pocket-sized health insurance options, medical assistance, Clinikk is filling a major void of quality primary healthcare and financial protection for 600 million Indians.

How Clinikk is making quality healthcare not just affordable and accessible but also inclusive

Wednesday April 22, 2020,

7 min Read

Starting off in 2016 and building a post-discharge care continuity platform, Clinikk had to pivot once before they could build Clinikk as a technology-enabled full-stack Comprehensive Health-Insurance solution as a subscription.

The co-founders, Bhavjot Kaur, a former geoscientist, and Dr Suraj Baliga, an orthopedic surgeon, say that it was while building a healthcare platform that was targeted at the blue collar segment they realised that without having financial protection closely coupled with the product, they wouldn’t be able to deliver holistic comprehensive care.

“Out of the 135 crore indians - 12 crore, i.e top tier, are served by the public and private insurers, 13 crore are serviced by the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), and the 50 crore by Ayushman Bharat- India's flagship public health insurance/assurance scheme. However, the remaining 60 crore population, the blue and grey collar workforce and self-employed persons do not have any health insurance, leaving them vulnerable to financial devastation when funding health care expenses,” shares Bhavjot talking about the importance and relevance of financial protection to make healthcare truly accessible and affordable.

She points to the industry studies that estimate that each year close to 6 million people fall below the poverty line due to unexpected and devastating health expenses.

A quality healthcare solution with low-cost pocket-sized health insurance options

Today, Clinikk is a subscription based technology-enabled full-stack Comprehensive Health-Insurance solution. With critical elements like a native-language based family doctor, low-cost pocket-sized health insurance options, medical assistance, Clinikk is filling a major void of quality primary healthcare and financial protection. The platform allows users to avail consultations either online or in person. It also enables the user to save on fees-related diagnostics and medicines through their partnerships. “The subscription for an entire family starts at as low as Rs 100 a month, making it extremely affordable,” says Bhavjot.

Subscribers get access to a family doctor either on chat (app), voice or in-person visit. The doctor is well informed about the health data of the family. Clinikk promises to connect patients within 15 minutes of any medical need. Its Health Vault feature helps consumers keep track of their treatment plan, manage prescriptions and access all their medical records in one place. Users can also avail cashless hospitalisation benefits in over 6,600+ empanelled hospitals pan-India.

“But, this exercise can be futile if users cannot avail health insurance or health plans that align with their needs. Considering that our users are often those availing healthcare or insuring their families for the first time, we ensure that we help in customising the health plan according to the family’s needs and also point out the right health insurance plan based on the health requirements,” says the co-Founder.

And, making this possible are Clinikk’s AI and algorithms.

“The AI helps the doctor by collecting a detailed history of the medical episode. The doctor would then examine the patient, order the necessary tests, which an algorithm suggests, but most importantly provide the healing human touch and empathy. AI algorithms further assist the doctors in reaching a clear diagnosis, based on multiple factors such as past history, previous episodes of illness and response to treatment and suggest a treatment plan based on the standard of care and what works best for the patient. The doctor then takes a final call on the prescription,” explains Dr.Suraj.

With its eagle-eye focus on quality, Suraj says that Clinkk adheres to quality standards of medical protocols. “Our medical protocols have been built by an extremely qualified and robust in-house medical team based on the prevailing standard of care. The team also shoulders the responsibility of ensuring that we as a startup adhere to it as well.”

A category creator in healthcare solutions for the underserved

Since its pivot into a full-stack primary healthcare solution, Clinikk has served over 3 lakh individuals across major Indian cities. “We have set out to meet the huge unmet needs of the 600 million Indians,” says Bhavjot.

She says, “Our target segment has not been touched so far by the incumbent players, which makes us a category creator. We are the pioneers in building healthcare products for this customer segment. We are the only platform which provides a combination of reliable health protection and financial protection as a subscription.”

She is quick to point out the other instrumental factor driving Clinkk’s growth is unlike other competitors, the startup lays emphasis on continuous positive engagement with its customers. “There is constant emphasis on engaging and building long-term relationships with subscribers and their families,” says Bhavjot.

In addition to a B2C model, the startup also reaches out to the underserved through B2B2C model wherein Clinikk partners with organisations with contract workforce to provide them with comprehensive health benefits. This includes businesses like Ola, Shadowfax, Dunzo, and Shuttl among many others.

“From an organisation’s perspective, Clinikk has been able to make a significant impact by reducing hospital visits and thereby ensuring better productivity. For the end users, we have been able to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses. Clinikk, till date has saved over 2.5 crore of out-of-pocket expenses for its subscribers and cumulatively saved over 70,000+ man-hours for our subscribers,” explains Bhavjot.

But the biggest validation for the startup has been the fact that 95 percent of their subscribers reach out to Clinikk for any serious medical requirements. “This is a clear indicator of the rising trust factor that we are building as we continue to grow.”

Why the journey has just begun for Clinikk

And in this journey of a pivot and finding its niche, Clinikk found support from JioGenNext. “The programme itself was extremely immersive,” says Bhavjot pointing to how the accelerator helps startups understand their specific needs and helps them fine-tune the business models. But the bigger highlight has been the exposure to Reliance ecosystem for the healthtech startup.

“In Clinikk’s case specifically, we were able to work closely with the Jio team and understand their perspective of solving India’s healthcare problems. JioGennext provided access to veterans who with their vast knowledge of building large scale businesses, were able to help us make our business fundamentals stronger.”

Over the next 24 months, Clinikk aims to reach 1 million families and over 6 million individuals and expand its range of offerings to include Health Management plans, prevention, screening and management of non-communicable diseases, and a complete healthcare support product useful throughout the life cycle of a person.

“The primary healthcare market in India is worth $40 billion, but is broken and unorganized. We have 1,350 million people with no access to quality primary healthcare. A broken primary healthcare system also means no proactive intervention and no standard treatment protocols resulting in poor outcomes for patients,” shares Bhavjot.

A 2019 press release by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Govt of India offers further insights into the challenges faced by India’s healthcare system. India has a doctor-population ratio of 1:1456 as compared with the WHO standards of 1:1000. There is a huge skew in the distribution of doctors working in the urban and rural areas with the urban to rural doctor density ratio being 3.8:1. It also admits,that consequently, most of India’s rural and poor population is denied good quality care leaving them in the clutches of quacks. What is even more alarming is the fact that the government has observed that 57.3 percent of personnel currently practicing allopathic medicine do not have a medical qualification.

Given this context and greater adoption of digitalisation, a solution like Clinikk will gain increased relevance, an opportunity that the startup understands. Bhavjot says, “We want to be and will be extremely focussed on the 60 crore target segment for the foreseeable future.”