The Indian healthcare market is still underserved and there is a growing demand for affordable and accessible healthcare services. Healthtech startups have plenty of room to make a positive impact by providing innovative solutions that address the challenges faced by patients, caregivers and the healthcare system as a whole, says Aniruddha Sen, Co-Founder, Kenko Health.
In an exclusive interview with Sanjeev Sinha, Mr. Sen explains the impact of advanced technology on healthcare, as well as the need for affordable healthcare, and shares his business outlook. fragments:
How does healthcare benefit from advanced technology? What do you think of the integration of artificial intelligence in healthcare?
The healthcare sector is undergoing a profound transformation due to technological advancements, including artificial intelligence (AI). First, technology has greatly improved diagnostics in India. Advanced technology enables doctors to identify and diagnose diseases faster and more accurately. Second, it improves the patient experience. Technology helps patients get personalized care and improve their experience through wearable devices and mobile apps. It allows patients to track their health in real time.
In addition, the use of wearable technology and Internet of Things (IoT) devices helps improve patient monitoring and communication between patients and caregivers.
Various healthcare players in India are using AI and ML solutions to improve their services leading to the emergence of different types of healthcare players. For example, AI can analyze large amounts of data to predict disease onset and identify high-risk patients, encouraging preventive healthcare. This presents opportunities for healthcare finance companies to collaborate with providers and develop personalized and cost-effective treatment plans for patients. With the continued advancement of AI, we can expect innovative solutions that improve the quality of care and accessibility for all.
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How does the cost of the outpatient clinic (OPD) affect access to affordable health care and what is Kenko Health doing to address this issue?
About 75% of a person’s lifetime health care costs are incurred outside of a hospital, known as OPD (outpatient department) costs. Unfortunately, these costs are usually not covered by most health insurance plans, which can be a significant financial burden for many people, especially in India. To address this problem, it is necessary to design and provide plans that cover all aspects of health spending, and to create a technology-based ecosystem that readily delivers such services.
Kenko Health is committed to alleviating this burden by offering comprehensive healthcare financing plans that cover both OPD and IPD (Inpatient Unit) costs. These pocket-friendly online subscriptions give individuals access to world-class healthcare, with a robust network of healthcare providers and a digital-first approach that makes it easy to access healthcare from anywhere. By leveraging technology and innovative funding models, Kenko Health works to improve access to affordable healthcare for all, enabling individuals and families to get the care they need, when they need it.
With the health technology start-up market evolving rapidly and the market becoming increasingly crowded in India, what are the challenges and prospects for expanding a health technology business in the country?
One of the biggest hurdles health tech startups face is identifying and validating the right technology to meet healthcare needs. This is a crucial step that allows early detection of potential problems or challenges and allows for necessary adjustments before moving forward. A methodical and considered approach to technology development and deployment can significantly improve patient outcomes. With the advancement of technologies such as AI and machine learning, startups can now test their products in virtual environments and gain meaningful insights and data. India’s healthcare sector faces numerous challenges such as inadequate healthcare coverage, lack of access to affordable healthcare and lack of significant financial protection against medical expenses. To bridge this gap, there is a need for healthcare financing that covers out-of-pocket expenses such as consultations, diagnostics and medicines. Health tech companies that have access to digital technology are in a better position to address this problem by providing holistic solutions tailored to individual or business needs.
Securing funding is another key challenge for startups, as strong partnerships and backing from investors are needed to bring their ideas to fruition. To meet these challenges, the Government of India provides financial support to startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product testing, market entry and commercialization. This funding is available for conducting proof of concept studies. Once successful trials have been completed and the products have been introduced to the market, startups can raise money from angel investors, venture capitalists or banks.
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Despite the challenges, there are promising opportunities for health tech startups in India. The Indian market is still underserved and there is a growing demand for affordable and accessible healthcare. The government is also taking initiatives to support startups in the healthcare sector by providing financial support for proof of concept, prototype development and market entry. Overall, health tech startups have plenty of room to make a positive impact by providing innovative solutions that address the challenges faced by patients, caregivers and the healthcare system as a whole.
In what ways is Kenko Health expanding its offering beyond health insurance to provide holistic healthcare solutions in India?
The complexity of care plans can be overwhelming as people look for seamless service and quick complaint resolution. At Kenko, we envision addressing this issue by offering accessible plans that cover a range of healthcare costs, including medication, doctor’s fees and hospital bills. We want to introduce a new healthcare funding mechanism that rewards individuals for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By promoting healthy habits, we aim to revolutionize the perspective of healthcare and change the traditional way it works.
Kenko’s primary goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system by emphasizing interoperability. We strive to make access to medical care easier for individuals. Together with our insurance associates, Kenko is innovating the product design and pricing approach, while also working with industry players to build sustainable financing models for the overlooked and untapped $250B+ OPD market, which is usually not covered by traditional insurance companies.
With a focus on ROI, affordability and unparalleled customer experience, they provide an exceptional healthcare financing solution. We have direct partnerships with health and wellness service providers who provide services to their members. The subscriptions start from just 299/- per month.
What is Kenko Health’s strategy for growth and expansion in the coming years, and how does it want to differentiate itself from other players in the market?
We are committed to providing and maintaining high quality healthcare services and products for our customers for years to come. We have identified several key initiatives that we believe will help us improve the services we offer and deliver greater value to our customers.
One of our top priorities is to promote interoperability in healthcare. In this way, we want to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare and improve access to care for individuals.
Kenko Score is a completely different concept. How did it come about and how does it work?
The Kenko Score uses your lifestyle, medical history, and existing health conditions to generate a personalized score. The algorithm can recommend tests that we will run to ensure you get the most accurate score. Within 36 hours you will receive your score, which represents your health status on a scale of 1 to 1000, with a higher score being better. The Kenko score is appropriate for all age groups and demographics, and investing in your health earlier will be more beneficial and cost-effective.
The Kenko Score app is the first step in our journey with our customers. We then guide them through the plans tailored to their needs. Plans with online stores, digital consulting, day one benefits and a richer experience unlike anything you’ve ever experienced when it comes to healthcare.