Mental Health Now A Boardroom Topic, Increased Awareness Among Industry Leaders: Amrit Singh, Loop Health
In an exclusive conversation with BW Healthcare World, Amrit Singh, Co-founder and CRO at Loop speaks on the business model of the company, its scaling, the latest services, developments in the preventive healthcare segment, the upcoming trends for 2023 and expectations from policymakers
What is it that Loop Health does and how is it different from what was already being done in healthcare? What problem is it solving?
Loop's mission is to improve the lives of 10 million Indians through better health, by 2030. We are focused on improving health which encompasses not only caring for people when they are sick but working with them to prevent sickness as well. This is how we are different, because today's healthcare system is geared to only treat those who are unwell, and even that is not functioning smoothly.
In our current phase of growth we are focused on improving the health of corporate employees and their families as India employs more than 0.5 billion people and by serving this segment and their families, we can cover a large part of the Indian population. Other companies are solving point problems in insurance or healthcare or wellness through technology-enabled services. We are building a healthcare system from scratch.
Loop raised funding in 2020, amidst the worst pandemic humanity has seen. How has the journey been post-investment, how has the business scaled?
Loop is backed by marquee global investors like Vinod Khosla, Optum and General Catalyst who believe in the vision of solving for the preventive and curative aspects of healthcare. We were able to raise our Series-B during the pandemic and also during one of the toughest funding crunches in recent times, which is a testament to Loop's impact on the ground and the urgency with which we need to solve the problem of healthcare being one-sided. The pandemic actually saw Loop's operating model being embraced by hundreds of companies across India - we used technology to provide 24x7 access to our in-house team of doctors and medical advisors, who in turn managed tests, treatments and health outcomes. On the insurance front we ensured claims were handled seamlessly and we also helped Loop members (our customer's employees) with hospitalization and discharge processes so that they could focus on their family's treatment
What services are launched by Loop that have impacted the health and wellness of the employees of the clients it works with?
On the healthcare front, we have the Loop app that allows our members to access a medical advisor or doctor 24x7. They can schedule and interact online through the app. We have seen over 300 per cent growth year on year on these services and they cover a variety of medical categories like family and internal medicine, OB & Gynec, Pediatrics, Skincare etc. We conduct hundreds of wellness sessions for Loop members each year, educating them on multiple dimensions of wellness - physical, mental, spiritual, occupational, financial etc. In 2022, over 16,000 Loop members attended these sessions.
On the insurance front, we offer top ups to Loop members so that they can add to the health cover that their companies provide (also through Loop). This becomes essential as families grow (40 per cent of Loop members are in their 20s) and the growing need to avoid Out of Pocket Expenses for medical care (India has one the highest OOPE ratios at 50 per cent plus). We also working on curated programs for lifestyle disease management like for diabetes, hypertension and cardiac care which we will share more on in 2023.
How has the industry performed in the area you are focusing on in the past 12 months? What specific developments can define the year 2022 for preventive healthcare for employees?
2022 was the year when Indian companies finally looked beyond health insurance and towards solving for health. There has been a strong pull in the market for preventive healthcare. The pandemic has been a forcing function behind this as well as Loop's efforts in educating HR leaders and founders across India on the value of investing in employee health. 2022 was the year when companies invested in educating their employees on how to stay healthy and achieve holistic well being across all dimensions.
Mental health has become a boardroom topic now and there is increased awareness among industry leaders of caring for employee mental health. We have helped several clients create EAP programs around mental health and are working with HR leaders to frame policies around helping employees manage mental health
They were also open to providing preventive healthcare services to their employees for proactive doctor consultations, medical advisor chats, discounted lab tests (which Loop provides), annual health checkups, health camps onsite, gamified health-building activities (like stepathons) and many more.
What are some of the trends that we see coming in the year 2023 for employee wellbeing and preventive health?
2023 is the year when companies will build in 2022 to focus on 3 areas
Driving better health outcomes - fewer sick employees, fewer instances of lifestyle diseases, holistic well being across multiple dimensions. Health will become an outcome, not just caring for the sick .
Preventing, reversing and managing disease - a lot of effort will go into preventing diseases and in some cases, reversing them (like hypertension or type-2 diabetes) or the underlying causes of disease (obesity, lack of sleep, stress, improper diet, lack of exercise etc.). There will be a need for curated programs for the same where employees will need hand holding and guidance for prevention and management.
Trusted and empathetic medical guidance - this is a rare experience and our aim is to make this ubiquitous. Care with the patient at the center of things, only looking to solve their query or prevent or cure a condition, care that is like a family doctor would provide - with kindness, clarity and familiarity, care that uses the best of technology and data but doesn't lose the human touch
What is your expectation from the policy makers that will help you scale your business and industry?
No one in the healthcare system today is incentivised to keep people healthy. Policymakers should focus on creating a charter for all parts of the healthcare ecosystem - doctors, clinics, hospitals, diagnostics, insurance companies, brokers, and medical tech companies - to focus on preventive care as much as they do on sick care.