Why should healthcare be so opaque?
For example, when you get a blood test done, you don’t get to really know what the results mean beyond what the doctor reveals during an often brief consultation. Another example is, there is no mechanism for risk prediction based on historical and hereditary information about a person. In the outpatient scenario especially, there are often 2-3 different steps like the first consultation, tests, follow-up consultations and so on.
In India, roughly 30% people drop off after the first consultation and don’t follow through. We just assume we took all the medicines, and so we are well. We have very little motivation to go to a doctor or do a health-checkup unless we are diseased in some way.
In effect, we could all be taking care of ourselves better if we knew exactly what we need to focus on, and there was a system that got us used to a proactive lifestyle.
Krishna Ulagaratchagan and Rekuram Varadharaj founded healthi in 2014 to make it easy for people to take charge of their health. From their personal experiences with hospitals and health check-ups, they found that health is a hugely under-served area. What was missing was a seamless healthcare ecosystem that enables people to make simple, intelligent health choices proactively.
“If you can help predict it, then it becomes easier to prevent it”.
Today, healthi is one of India’s fastest growing health-tech startups. It has a presence in over 250 cities and a user base of over 2.5 million.
What sets it apart is that it goes beyond bringing healthcare services to the fingertips of users – healthi is not another aggregator. It works at a deeper level, where it gives the user a complete health picture, makes users actively engaged in their health and guides them in taking each step towards a healthier life for the whole family.
healthi does this by developing intuitive analytical models, good algorithms and absorbing and analysing data from providers and from users. Users get valuable information like what their health metrics mean, or what kind of tests they should do, access to topnotch experts and services, personalized guidance from nutritionists, custom fitness plans, and tons of encouragement to take the next step and then the next.
It behaves and works with people more like a healthcare advisor who knows things and has their best interests at heart.
What makes this possible is the company’s focus on user experience. For example, there’s a feature called the ‘healthi Age’, which calculates and compares someone’s biological age with their actual body age.
RV: “We all like to see a score card of how we are doing. So a score card of whether your body age is lower or higher than your biological age makes it interesting and engaging for the user. Personalisation is the key here.”
healthi has an NPS score of 74. This means that a very high percentage of users actively promote the brand. This is comparable to the best companies in the world. An NPS of 20-40 is considered good. Amazon has an NPS of 62, AirBnB 74 and Tesla 96.
RV: “A friend of mine went through a health checkup on healthi. And because of the depth of the report, he was able to detect a serious illness and treat it in time. There are so many people who have been impacted this way, which is why the NPS is what it is. Our goal is to continue growing while maintaining our NPS.”
Why work at healthi?
Every tech company solves some problem or the other. What makes each company different is how they solve the problem. In a sensitive category like health, there are concerns of safety, data privacy and accuracy of results. Add to this the biggest challenge: people pay attention to health only when they get sick, and even then, just enough to get well.
Getting user behaviour to change overnight – getting people to be actively engaged in their health – is impossible. healthi has solved this problem with an approach of “one step at a time”, and has seen huge success. Rather than inundate users with all kinds of suggestions, charts and regimens to follow, healthi breaks it down into the easiest next step to take, and the value it gives the user.
Shilpa, who leads the tech team, joined healthi 1.5 years ago. “You can solve interesting tech problems at many places. If the goal is to do work in data and scaling, there are ride share companies or social networks that meet these criteria. At healthi, I’ve found that interesting problems are abundant. The nature of problems we get to solve, how we can relate with it, how user-focused and quality-conscious we are, the technologies and tools we work with, experimenting on the job, and growing my knowledge and skills with the platform – a lot about healthi resonates with me. The cherry on top is that I get to make a difference.”
What are the tech challenges at healthi like?
Shilpa: “Some of the current challenges are how to efficiently process analytics. One of the healthcare providers has 80 million records to process at a time. Optimising the way data comes in and writing algorithms to extract huge volumes of data from 2000 centres, digitise it in a way that lends itself to ask questions – it’s challenging. Scaling brings fresh technical challenges as well. The architecture is evolving to meet the needs of scaling out the product too.”
“There is a mix of pure technical work, and very creative and complex kind of work. For example, when someone wants to do a health check-up, they simply click on “Help me choose a package” and choose some filters. Each user starts with 4 million potential combinations of packages. Once the user decides to choose a package, in under 1 minute, the system should be able to recommend the most relevant test combinations, personalised for each user. Figuring out how to build such a feature end-to-end is a creative process as much as it is a technical process.”
Who should work at healthi?
If you’d like to see your work going into the hands of users at scale, and while you’re at it, improve people’s lives, healthi is a good place to put your passion and abilities to test.
Yogendra, a young Software Engineer who joined healthi via Geektrust, speaks about his experience with healthi:
“My journey at Healthi started with a shortlisting from GeekTrust. After HR screening, 3 technical and one managerial interview rounds, I got the offer. The complete recruitment process was so smooth and coordinated that it took only around 3-4 days.
As a Software Engineer, my basic (but not limited) job is to help in product development. From getting the product requirement to designing and analysing technical feasibility and writing the deployable code from scratch, I am involved in more than coding.
I learnt to take responsibility. Ideas and initiatives are always welcomed by seniors and technical managers. Product development is aligned towards adaptability of recent technologies. This gives me plenty of learning opportunities. The management and senior level are transparent and approachable. I like the fact that they don’t let us feel like just an employee.”
Shilpa speaks about what healthi looks for while hiring:
“First principles thinking is core to how we work. When we hire, we look for people who are strong in their fundamentals. It’s the only thing we are strict about. Not experience or where you worked or how long you’ve worked. There should be substance around foundations. We follow this in the interview as well.”
healthi is a true-blue startup that has a free and flexible atmosphere, a culture of ownership, people working at their own pace or playing when they want a break.
Want to help the world decode its health? Check out openings at healthi here.
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