In about close to a decade journey of Healthspring, how far have you been successful in providing healthcare where it actually matters - entry level of care, which is ‘Primary Care’?

Healthspring is India’s leading primary health care provider, which was founded with a vision of transforming India’s health delivery system where it matters most - at the entry level of care, ‘Primary Care’. Our belief is that a robust primary care system will significantly improve health outcomes in India, while reducing the overall system cost of healthcare. As a leader in the field, we are also committed to making patient choice and safety a priority, setting new quality standards, and ensuring ethical, transparent and appropriate care.

Prior to Healthspring, the primary care segment was extremely fragmented with standalone doctors delivering poor health outcomes resulting in high diagnostics and hospital referral rates, often due to compromised professional ethics (referral fees paid to the doctor).

And this is true not just for retail individual users of healthcare, but also for corporate entities and institutions who have a very strong business case to care for their employees’ health. Apart from the emphatic need to care for their people, organisations today also realise the direct correlation between workforce health and business metrics such as productivity, morale, engagement and retention of people. Corporate entities thus far have been incurring large and often uncontrolled employee health expenses with neither positive outcomes nor improved health metrics.

Healthspring, thus, is the 1st scale private player in the country to provide quality primary, institutional and occupational healthcare. We have built a network of primary care clinics that deliver high quality healthcare services, which are affordable, high-quality, preventive, patient friendly and ethical. Due to the fact that we have full-time doctors who are employees of Healthspring, we are able to deliver standardised, proven, protocol driven care.

Some of the transformational initiatives in our primary care set-up are:

• Comprehensive health access to employees at corporates and factories to improve health outcomes and reduce health risks across the organisation - a Unique pan-India model of delivering holistic care at the workplace, integrated with a strong preventive and ongoing care approach;

• Improving access and affordability to high-quality primary care, through our clinics; we currently serve ~50,000 unique patients every month, a number we expect to grow 2X-3X every year for the next several years;

• Full-time medical teams delivering protocol driven care, following a model of employment instead of entrepreneurship, and hence free to focus only on what’s right for the patient;

• 24x7 Doctor-led Medical Emergency Response, in response to India’s lack of a high-quality emergency response system.

Healthspring is ‘committed to a culture of good health’. Please elaborate.

At Healthspring, we are committed to a culture of good health. Our Vision is to be the most trusted health care organisation in our country by providing:

• Excellence in healthcare, by hiring great doctors, training them in evidence-based medical protocols and supporting them through the right systems

Doctors once recruited go through a month long training on the ICD10 codes and protocols. Since we employ full-time doctors, we ensure that they follow the medical protocols and processes. Every interaction with the customer has to be captured electronically by the doctor. These records are checked by a dedicated team of doctors who are responsible for auditing the processes & protocols followed. This ensures close to zero deviation.

• A great customer experience, focused on con-venience, patient-friendliness and a team-based approach

Since we are able to offer all services under one roof, our focus is on bringing more customers into the fold of primary, preventive care. Since care delivered is protocol driven, there is no scope for over-prescription, under-prescription, over-charging, etc.

• Care which is transparent and ethical, and in the patient’s best interests (no referral fees, and full-time doctors who are free of volume pressure)

At Healthspring, we believe we can restore trust to the medical profession by creating valuable, full-time employment for doctors with a good career path, great training and benefits program. Most important, no part of their pay is tied to volume, and instead, the 10 percent of their pay that is ‘performance-based’, is driven by only three things - a 6-monthly medical audit, a customer-satisfaction score called ‘Net Promoter Score’, and a teamwork score.

• Being dependable for the patient when they need us the most, especially during emergencies

Healthspring offers India’s only 24x7 doctor-led medical emergency response system. We have doctors covering emergencies round the clock, just a call away. To date, Healthspring has served more than 3,000 emergencies, in which over 80 percent of the time the patient has been stabilised without the need for hospitalisation. A tremendous amount of continuous testing, drills, processes are required to run this seamlessly, which we have been able to pull off with 100 percent uptime.

The medical emergency service that we offer is the first of its kind in India because it is doctor-led. Be it 3 am in the morning, in case of emergency, a Healthspring doctor visits the patient with an ambulance and an emergency suitcase, which is capable of handling most urgent medical situations.

Which are the steps that are imperative to transform the healthcare sector in India?

Unlike many developed countries where primary care services are (either fully or in part) paid for by insurance companies or by the government, in India these services are paid for entirely by the end consumer. So, to ensure sustainability of its business model, Healthspring has maintained a sharp focus on quality of service, trial from consumers to ensure a steady in-flow of patients, and high repeat usage.

We fully expect India’s healthcare sector to grow at a steady pace during the next decade. The share of value added between the private and public sector will depend in large measure on the pathway government adopts and choices it makes. Government should take the steps to bridge the gap in healthcare workforce and healthcare infrastructure. The Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) around the world has been a success and can be developed here also. Focus should be on increasing awareness of disease, prevention and treatment. Stronger regulatory framework can shape efficiency and performance levels of private sector.

Tell us about the various wellness programmes by Healthspring at workplace.

Healthspring, over the years, has demonstrated that a result-based and professional approach will result in significant health improvement and employee engagement in companies.

Healthspring works with over 150 corporate and institutional entities, offering a truly comprehensive package of health and wellness solutions. We are the only national player with a reach that exceed 60 locations pan-India, bringing together a wide array of healthcare services under a single provider.

The hallmark of Healthspring’s engagement with all these entities is that every solution is bespoke, with a relevant set of inclusions and interventions that are tailored for the specific needs of the organisation on the basis of its employee demographics, workplace health risk and hazards, carefully identified pre-existing risk trends, organisational appetite for a program of such nature and so on.

Our suite of solutions for organisations comprise of the following elements

a) Periodic health evaluations;
b) Onsite medical centres;
c) Preventive wellness programs;
d) Round the clock emergency response;
e) Comprehensive occupational health services (to meet statutory norms);
f) Telehealth.

The things that set us apart are our superior quality of service, scale execution capability and a strong partnership mind-set. Let me explain these ideas in more detail below:

• Unlike service aggregators, we are probably the only provider working entirely with our own staff responsible for care delivery. A strong in-house medical and clinical domain depth has let us develop robust care protocols and uniformity on client experience, regardless of size, scale of location and footprint of our client organisations;

• Further, we have expanded our own capability in response to client needs, going into not just all major cities but also several remote and rural industrial zones to bring care to white collar as well as blue/grey collar workforce. At last count, we are present in about 60 locations in India, working with our institutional clients at their place of work;

• Lastly, our endeavour in all our corporate engagements is to deliver higher bang for the buck to our clients. Employee care, which is often looked at as a transactional engagement, is driven purposefully to deliver twin end objectives of sustainably improved employee health coupled with reduced long term healthcare and downtime costs for the employer. Our doctors and medical staff working with our corporate clients do much more than reacting to health complaint and aliments of the workforce. Rather, they become the epicentre for driving continuous health and wellness, a task that needs sustained effort and empathic engagement with a largely young and mobile workforce as we see today in most organisations;

• So, by combining the convenience of workplace onsite health care delivery with the confidence that our teams inspire with their professional and rigorous approach, we see much greater usage of our services by clients and their employees. This has a transformational effect on metrics that companies truly care for such as employee engagement and VoC, absenteeism/downtime, curative healthcare costs especially late stage secondary/tertiary care. And the most definitive part is that we track and present these metrics for our clients, thus making it very objective and measureable.

By when can we expect Healthspring’s pan-India presence?

Healthspring, as I mentioned earlier, already is the largest integrated provider of corporate and institutional healthcare in the country, with a pan-India presence exceeding 50 locations. We have LIVE client locations, with Healthspring staff and resources, operational in many remote corners of the country.

On the retail business front, we currently have a clinic footprint in Mumbai and Pune with a growing presence in Bengaluru. As Healthspring expands deeper into these cities, and ventures into new cities, we will also focus on offering more services under the primary care model that are valuable for the customer. The objective is to offer as many services under primary care as efficiently as possible so that our customers have a one-stop solution to all their primary level healthcare needs.

Where do you see Healthspring 5 years from now?

We plan to open at least 200 such clinics in major cities in the next 4-5 years. This requires great amount of know-how and expertise and above all a motivated set of individuals, which we are fortunate to have. Response from the customers towards our service has been over-whelming, and we are really grateful that they have taken us so much into their hearts and lives.

We expect to reach ~$200 mn in revenue within the next 5 years. Our goal is to also take the elements of our model and scale to rural population through a PPP with the government. We are speaking currently to a few state and local governments, as well as some of the best international aid agencies, to scale our model deeper.

On the corporate side, we have already achieved big success with some of the best companies in the country. We expect this area to grow significantly for us as more and more companies would like to invest in the health of their employees.


Mr Kaushik Sen, CEO, Healthspring - Mumbai

People and Management

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