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Why a digital health-insurance combo is good for patients as well as insurance cos

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Yash Sehgal, Co-Founder and COO, BeatO, shares with Prabhat Prakash about the journey of his organisation, how they launched a virtual endocrine clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the plans to diversify their portfolio in the coming months

Are services offered by BeatO subscription-based? Are these only for diabetes care? Will you be adding other healthcare services to its portfolio? If yes, kindly share details on the same.

BeatO is essentially a digital health ecosystem for management of chronic conditions. While we started out with diabetes in 2015, we will potentially add other solutions to our platform as well. Currently, we are gearing up to venture into hypertension management. Given the substantial overlap of hypertension with diabetes, it provides us with an opportunity to address health needs of an individual as a whole. We plan to launch our solutions for hypertension by Q3 this year.

Until now, BeatO’s services have been more a la carte, with separately priced items. However, we have spent a lot of time over the last few months understanding user behaviour to design tailor-made subscriptions which suit our users’ needs.

Our newly-launched subscription-based programme called Diabetes Total, comprehensively addresses all needs of a diabetic person in an affordable manner. Diabetes Total includes the entire ecosystem for diabetes management – ranging from hospitalisation cover, unlimited doctor/specialist consultations, BeatO’s IoT glucometers and unlimited test strips, access to BeatO’s AI-driven diabetes management system, OPD benefits on medicines, blood tests and even physical examinations.

The idea behind subscription plan for Diabetes Total is to aid users to manage, save and protect –manage the condition through monitoring and consultations with doctors/diabetes educators, save on costs associated with medication and diagnostic care, and finally, protect through affordable health insurance with a wider entry criterion.

What is the USP of BeatO?

The inception of BeatO came about to address a personal pain point, as I was diagnosed with diabetes relatively early on in my life. I started looking out for a single platform which would help me monitor and manage blood-glucose levels, along with addressing all my queries. When we realised this gap, we started BeatO as an end-to-end diabetes management platform.

It looks at everything diabetes-related. Starting from blood-glucose monitoring, in-app consultations with doctors and nutritionists, medication, insurance, diagnostics to specially-curated foods designed for diabetics. We also provide rich content to our users in form of videos and blogs to share information on the right nutrition, exercise, food recipes, etc.

The USP of BeatO is that it has been built with care by diabetics for diabetics, providing the entire ecosystem for diabetes management at one place. Further, we see that our multi-touch point approach drives significant engagement across the lifecycle of people with diabetes, and over time, positively impacts their health. The spirit of empowering an individual by providing them the right tools to manage their condition over long periods of time is the centre of our proposition.

How is the partnership with insurance companies helping you to improve your products and services?

As we build BeatO, we realise the importance of supporting each other within the healthcare ecosystem. Health insurance is absolutely paramount for any individual, and events like the COVID-19 pandemic significantly highlight the need for health insurance, especially for people with underlying conditions like diabetes.

However, it is imperative to not only provide protection for hospitalisation, but also help people manage their condition, otherwise adverse outcomes are very likely, which naturally also impact claim ratios of health insurance companies. Hence, a solution like BeatO in combination with health insurance, plugs this gap and ensures improved proximity, persistence and profitability for the insurance partner.

Who are investors for BeatO? What is the turnover for company since the beginning of its operations, and what’s the target for the next three years?

BeatO is a VC-backed company, with support from Blume Ventures, Orios Venture Partners, Leo Capital and Parkview Ventures. We also have accomplished tech entrepreneurs like Pankaj Chaddha (Ex Co-Founder, Zomato) and Vishal Sampat (Founder, Convonix), who have been early investors and mentors. While BeatO started during the end of 2015, its digital care ecosystem approach started to take shape about two years ago. Since then, it has grown 25x in users, and about 30x in sales revenues.

Share a brief on CloudClinic. How does it function, and is it able to help patients in small towns? If yes, how? If not, why?

Seventy per cent of BeatO’s users are beyond metros, located in tier-II and-III cities. During this COVID-19 pandemic, we have understood with greater reason, the importance and need of good-quality digital care and intervention for people who do not have access to quality healthcare.

When we looked at our data, we saw that people – especially those in smaller towns – were showing a spike in blood-sugar levels during the early phase of lockdown in March, possibly driven by stress or anxiety, confinement to homes, disruption of supplies and inability to meet doctors. During this time, we worked day and night to bring a solution for our users to enable access to doctors from the confinement of their homes. We launched CloudClinic, a virtual endocrine clinic for our users within two weeks. Through this, users can easily engage into video consultations with top doctors and specialists (endocrinologists, ophthalmologists, rheumatologists, etc.) across India, or even invite their own practitioner to use the platform – hence personalising the experience.

We used our AI triaging system to determine who needed what type of intervention. Accordingly, we worked to drive improved patient outcomes over the last six weeks, wherein we saw a significant portion of the user population who had witnessed a spike in sugar levels during the lockdown and attained perfect glycemic controlled state.

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