Healthcare platform Practo on Wednesday announced the launch of its new solution Practo Trinity, which rings on board ICICI Lombard to deliver cashless coverage for OPD visits to the local doctor. This is done through a new app called IL Take Care, which uses Practo's technology to book an appointment, automatically file an insurance claim, and process it in real time, and you can also use it to order the medicines prescribed to you.
Shashank ND, founder and CEO of Practo, explains how it'll work. "You can go to the ICICI Lombard app, our app, or directly to the clinic and present yourself as a policy holder," he says, "and the doctor if he's using our software, will be able to validate whether it's a genuine patient or not. Apart from which, the doctor will be able to then provide the entire analysis of his diagnosis, and we will immediately share this information with the insurance companies, and settle it real time."
"The patient will be able to walk away without having to pay cash," Shashank adds.
This kind of seamless experience is possible at hospitals, but the goal for Practo with Trinity was to extend it to neighbourhood doctors. "With Trinity’s integration into IL TakeCare, customers can visit ICICI Lombard empaneled clinics on Practo’s provider network by booking appointments through the app or just walking into a clinic," the company stated. "The system will recognise them automatically and verify the transaction to improve transparency."
It's a project that has been in the works at Practo for a long time. In previous conversations, Shashank told Gadgets 360 that he sees insurance as a key piece of healthcare in India, and now he tells us that for the last year, Practo has been working on Trinity actively. "We knew this is the need of the hour, and this is the right time to launch it with a good penetration of consumers and healthcare providers on Practo," he says.
"This is something that I think will be a major step forward for the healthcare providers in India," he adds. "OPD hasn't been under healthcare coverage. It [the coverage] will be real time, paperless, and cashless, facilitated by the Practo Trinity platform."
Interestingly, Practo is not using its platform to sell insurance. That's one area where insurance has gone online over the last decade, and Shashank acknowledges that there is a lot of competition in the space. "Trinity is the end result of our planning for insurance - a platform like this hasn't been around before," he says. "The other aspects of insurance, such as selling - consumers already have that choice. But a platform like this hasn't been around before, and it will require a lot of our focus, that is why we are not looking at other areas of insurance right now."
"Consumers want OPD covered, payers want to help existing and new customers, and providers will be benefited as they are going to see more patients by being cash-less," he adds. "And the biggest gain is that hospitalisation will go down - studies show that around 40 percent of all hospitalisation could have been avoided with a timely doctor visit."
With around 100,000 doctors, and 40,000 clinics, Practo is no doubt a huge resource that's used by several people to find healthcare providers, and the clinics use it to manage their practices. These will be the first ones to support Practo Trinity, and with it, ICICI Lombard's IL Take Care.
It's just the first partner for the platform however, and Shashank says that there would be more in the future. "ICICI Lombard is one of the largest general insurance companies in India, and their experience in the insurance spaces well known," he says. "I see them as a very good thought leader in the industry. But we are a platform, and we are interested in serving all touchpoints of the consumer."
ICICI Lombard General Insurance, MD and CEO, Bhargav Dasgupta adds, “At ICICI Lombard, we are focused on introducing innovative solutions that make life easy for our customers. Our ‘IL TakeCare’ app is a step forward in this direction and caters to a large and currently neglected aspect of healthcare - outpatient expenses towards consultation, diagnostics and medicines."
" We are happy to partner with Practo to introduce a solution that will allow our customers to get a cashless experience for doctor consultations at clinics,” he adds.