How Loop Health is transforming care delivery in India with a focus on preventive care
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a litmus test for India's public health infrastructure. It is an unprecedented crisis that has caught the country and governments unaware. And, public health systems are collapsing under the pressure of treating hundreds of patients and fighting a disease the world knew little about.
There are hardly any days when we aren’t bombarded with reports about the dearth of hospital beds and vaccines, and the general lack of awareness about the disease. As the country started returning slowly to normalcy, the battered public health infrastructure suffered another blow as the second COVID-19 wave took India by storm.
For a country which had overcome diseases like polio and tuberculosis in the past, COVID-19 exposed the chinks in India’s healthcare industry. The ravaging effects of the pandemic have left experts wondering if it needs new healthcare models, especially ones that are powered by future-ready technologies.
Technology to the rescue
The focus on technology for improving health outcomes has been gaining traction over the past few years, but it was the pandemic that actually brought out the importance of such a change in tack. From leveraging artificial intelligence for contract tracing to telemedicine and designing contactless solutions with IoT, the past year saw startups countering the COVID-19 crisis with innovation.
In that backdrop, Pune-based startup Loop Health has been disrupting the HealthTech space with group health insurance plans that focus on preventative care. The startup ensures that help is just a call away for beneficiaries, who can book an appointment via the Loop Health app within 30 minutes. It serves organisations across the country by partnering with more than 10,000 hospitals.
Launched by Mayank Kale, Amrit Singh, Ryan Singh and Shami Raj in 2019, Loop Health helps organisations offer group health insurance coverage to their employees with an in-house team of doctors to take care of them 24x7.
The company offers plans from leading insurance providers in the country that ensure access to low-cost and quality healthcare services for everyone. The unique module also features monthly yoga sessions focusing on stress management, personalised care plans for conditions like diabetes and hypertension and meditation sessions.
What makes Loop Health stand apart from other insurance providers is its focus on preventive care. The inspiration for this model was rooted in Loop Health co-founder Mayank’s observations while designing an electronic medical record (EMR) for another startup. He shuttled between Chennai, Satna and Indore in 2017-18 and saw how it was common for doctors to overcharge and over-prescribe their patients.
“The situation is filled with information asymmetry. It’s like when you go to a mechanic, and they tell you something is wrong with your car. How do you know they aren’t lying? The same information gap plays out in healthcare. Unfortunately, some doctors take advantage of this,” says Amrit Singh, Co-Founder, Loop Health.
Currently, it has 10 in-house doctors and 100 specialists on the roll. The team of doctors at Loop Health is accountable for the diagnosis and treatment of patients, and they recommend further treatment accordingly. They give virtual consults, and if needed send the patients to a hospital, usually the closest cashless hospital which it has partnered with.
Transforming access to healthcare
Loop Health ensures that patients are able to get the right treatment through early diagnosis of medical conditions. The approach avoids last-minute hospital trips due to undiagnosed issues, thereby improving patient outcomes.
Given its emphasis on preventative care, Loop Health promotes a new healthcare model that enables people to seek timely treatment from a team of qualified doctors, and hence save time and money. One can avoid long queues outside hospitals and labs by booking tests, consults and a COVID-19 test through the Loop Health app.
Plus, the facility of unlimited free consultations over the phone and video calls ensures that a medical expert is always there to help a patient out.
Its insurance plans are customised according to the needs of an organisation's employees, and include a vast network of cashless hospitals, labs and wellness partners, thereby adding a touch of holistic care to various treatments.
In case a beneficiary tests positive for COVID-19, Loop Health ensures that they can get admitted to a hospital easily. At a time, when most COVID-19 patients and their attendants have to scramble for medical attention and hospital services, such ready support can save lives.
Its group health insurance could be what professionals currently need as they continue to work either from their homes or offices while adapting to the new normal.
Further, employers can get their staff vaccinated against COVID-19 by booking appointments at any of Loop Health’s partner hospitals. The startup has collaborated with online pharmacy 1mg to facilitate the vaccination appointments booked by its clients. 1mg has tied up with private hospitals across the country to help employees of companies book slots with hospitals, as per the availability of the vaccines.
Currently, the facility is available at 1mg’s partner hospitals in Pune, Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru. The digital healthcare platform is also running an on-site vaccination programme where companies can get their employees vaccinated on their corporate campus.
The facility does away with the usual hassles one has to face while getting vaccinated, while acting as a morale booster for employees and instilling a sense of safety. Plus, one can book a post-vaccine medical consultation via the Loop Health app.
“Our goal is to change the way healthcare works in India. Ultimately, it should result in a system where doctors are paid to keep people healthy, not just treat them when they are sick,” says Shami Raj, Head of Product, Loop Health.
According to a KPMG report, more healthcare awareness, rising incomes and enhanced access to insurance is likely to help India's healthcare market to clock a valuation of $372 billion by 2022. The prediction underscores the potential of the sector that is currently goading ventures like Loop Health into galvanising the space with improved patient outcomes.