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If your child falls ill when you are on holiday and you are able to call a round-the-clock doctor service to attend on the child, then you are unlikely to forget the experience. And if the service is provided by your employer as part of medical coverage, then its highly likely that you will seek a similar perk when you change jobs, observes Kunal Sinha, on how medical support is becoming an integral part of HR policy in progressive companies. Sinha runs a preventive service called Healthcare Magic, which has 7,000 doctors on call, round the clock. Besides allopathic, the service has counsellors and specialists in alternative medical streams such as homeopathy and ayurveda. The company also has tie-ups with three insurance companies Bajaj Allianz, ICICI Lombard and Reliance General Insurance. Its online service comes bundled with insurance, but under specified conditions. Sometimes it is linked to insurance renewal, or offered to those with Rs 5 lakh coverage, he says.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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"With customers paying huge health insurance premiums, many of them are asking for add-ons. Traditionally, such preventive healthcare polices have worked well with corporates who like to use such value-added offerings by organized healthcare camps for their employees," Kunal Sinha, CEO of HealthcareMagic said. Companies like HealthcareMagic have tied up with insurance providers as well as doctors wherein customers can opt for preventive health checkups as well as dial in experts for medical advice. Insurers also state that preventive healthcare services would help in better claims management and profitability. "Many a times, such preventive checkups can reveal some anomalies which can be treated and kept in control. Otherwise, it could lead to complications like surgery so the costs are now restricted to medication alone," Suresh Sugathan, head, health administration team, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance said.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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Healthcare portal, HealthcareMagic, is seeking to address this core issue, with its online platform that connects healthcare professionals (GPs, specialists, dietitians, counselors etc) to the end users online who have health related questions. For example, if an online user wants to ask a cardiology related question, a cardiologist will answer to his questions for a small fee within a couple of hours. InformationWeek spoke to Kunal Sinha, Founder and CEO, HealthcareMagic, who says that corporate India is extremely unhealthy, and it is time that individuals as well as organizations must use technology to cut down on health risks before they come serious issues.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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Going by ratings agency Fitch, the healthcare sector in India will double by 2015 from around $50 billion last year. The burgeoning demand has led to a virtual explosion of services in the segment, many of which can now be availed online, including doctor appointments, specialist opinions and second opinions. Patients can also scan and post their X-rays, CTs and MRIs for second opinions, put across queries on various problems seeking remedies, and also search for doctors within the neighbourhood for appointments. Healthcare websites nowadays look to connect patients with doctors who could be general physicians, MDs, specialists, homoeopaths, etc, said Kunal Sinha, founder and CEO, HealthcareMagic.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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Are Indian consumers sceptical about medical advice doled out online? Kunal Sinha, CEO and founder, HealthcareMagic.com, an Indian website that connects online users with registered doctors, talks about the imperatives of the Western consumer. In the Western world, consumers have easy access to the internet. Also because of their family and social set up, one cannot ask too many people around. Thats why in the West people turn to online and we see high traffic in the US-based websites. In the Indian context, people usually do not go online for any health related issues; instead they prefer to visit a physician in person, says Sinha. HealthcareMagic, however, is not giving up. It has tweaked the business model from being a lead generation tool for hospitals, it has now started charging patients for consultation and also takes a percentage of the doctors fee. The website has also started co-marketing its products with the offerings of some insurance players. If you buy ICICI Lombard insurance policy, by default, the services of HealthcareMagic comes bundled with it. All ICICI Lombard policy holders receive a user ID and password to access HealthcareMagic, and they need not pay anything extra because whatever money one pays for the premium include the charges for this service, adds Sinha.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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"As part of the association with HealthcareMagic, we had planned a combination of online health risk assessment & onsite biometrics to give an analyses of Akamai employee health risks which was coupled with our internal analysis on the hospitalization claims. Yes, this did help us understand the health risks that our employees are facing and we have come up with an annualized calendar of events," reveals Sathyanarayana Chandra, head, compensation & benefits, Akamai India. McAfee: "We have partnered with HealthcareMagic since the last two years and value the partnership. HealthcareMagic's expertise, ability to be flexible to understand and execute our needs has been as desired. However the key to success is for the leadership at McAfee to have vested in the program and make commitment in terms of time and money to make it a success.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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From among the array of options offered by this rapidly evolving field are healthcare portals with profiles of doctors from across the globe whom patients can consult with. Healthcaremagic.com, for instance, has a list of 7,000-odd doctors to choose from. "To ensure that the doctors are credible, we save a copy of their medical degrees and certification from the medical council. These doctors answer any query in less than 15 minutes for a fee upwards of Rs 600. While the doctors are paid Rs 100 or more for each query, we keep the rest. The few minutes it takes for a doctor to create his or her profile on our portal is a big incentive as the answer to every query is searchable when other people ask a similar question," reveals Kunal Sinha, Founder, healthcaremagic.com.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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Bangalore-based Healthcaremagic.com offers specialised packages related to blood pressure, pregnancy, diabetes, cancer and other ailments. It connects patients with registered doctors and specialists online, thus saving time from frequent hospital visits. Started four years ago, it started gaining momentum in the last couple of years, given the boom in online ventures. It has already clocked 4.5 million visitors a month, said its co-founder Abhilash Thirupathy.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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According to an internal survey conducted in August by healthcare service provider HealthcareMagic, the average health risk index of India Inc lies between 60 and 65 on a scale of 100, where 100 is complete health (ideal). The company which provides healthcare solutions to corporate entities across the country conducted a survey among 50 clients and over 50,000 employees for a more accurate picture of their health quotient. In our analysis of these companies, 75 per cent of employees who were diagnosed with elevated cholesterol had no idea that they were suffering from such a problem, says Dr Abhilash Thirupathy, co-founder and vice-president, customer relations, HealthcareMagic. He adds that elevated blood pressure (BP) was common in the high cholesterol group.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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"As part of the association with HealthcareMagic, we had planned a combination of online health risk assessment & onsite biometrics to give an analyses of Akamai employee health risks which was coupled with our internal analysis on the hospitalization claims. Yes, this did help us understand the health risks that our employees are facing and we have come up with an annualized calendar of events," reveals Sathyanarayana Chandra, head, compensation & benefits, Akamai India. McAfee: "We have partnered with HealthcareMagic since the last two years and value the partnership. HealthcareMagic's expertise, ability to be flexible to understand and execute our needs has been as desired. However the key to success is for the leadership at McAfee to have vested in the program and make commitment in terms of time and money to make it a success.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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A few years ago, the Indian office of Rambus Technologies, a technology licensing company headquartered in Sunnyvale, USA, battled a medical claim ratio of 260 percent. That meant Rambus was settling over 70 medical claims for every 100 claims its employees madea high number. And an expensive one. Rambus is not alone. The corporate cost of employee sickness can weigh heavily on both an organizations bottom line as well as its productivity. Employee absenteeism delays projects and puts increased pressure on those left behind at work. According to Kronos Workforce Productivity- India 2012 survey, 68 percent of Indian organizations use co-workers to fill in for sick colleagues. But in most cases, these replacements are only 75 percent as efficient as their sick counterparts.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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E-clinics allow CIOs to counter-attack many of the problems that lead to sickness, including a general lack of awareness, assumptions based on hearsay, and staff postponing checkups for lack of time. The average Indian thinks it is normal to die of heart attack at the age of fifty or sixty, says Dr. Abhilash Thirupathy, co-founder, Healthcare Magic, one of the larger e-clinics. But thats not the case if you do regular health checkups. We take health for granted. Our solution provides some tools which can be used for greater health awareness right on [an employees] desktop or laptop so that they dont have to postpone their health decisions.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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Dr. Abhilash Thirupathy is the co-founder of HealthcareMagic. This Bangalore-based startup works towards ensuring the availability of proactive healthcare services for professionals working with corporates. Dr. Abhilash says - Our exposure in the Indian market is skewed towards our interaction with corporate India and hence we can only talk about the trends pertaining to this sector. First and foremost is the overall health risk amongst corporates. Corporate India is sitting on a ticking bomb in terms of lifestyle diseases. Diabetes, blood pressure and stress are more prevalent than people would want to accept. Organizations which spend on group mediclaim policies are helping employees cover their parents health concerns and maternity related expenses, but this is definitely not helping employees lead a healthy life. This needs a very structured approach and that is exactly where we come into the picture.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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"People do not visit a doctor when ill because of a few factors lethargy or they think that their health issue is not a priority as it is not interfering with their day-to-day work. They also do not factor in that the time and money they save by not seeing a Doctor when they have a minor health issue results in a huge bill when the issue becomes chronic. In India, we have a mindset issue with respect to health where people do not give it as much importance as it needs and will visit a doctor when the health issue may be out of hand, says 34-year old Sinha an IIT Kanpur graduate. Abhilash Thirupathy, Nitesh Pant and Shekhar Sahu are the other co-founders.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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"HealthcareMagic today has 60,000-70,000 visitors who visit the portal daily for its content and 400-500 health queries to doctors are asked per day on the back of a 4-lakh registered user base. "You don't need registration on our site, so not a specific indication,". Patients are promised answers within 24 hours and are charged between Rs.150 to Rs.600 per case with an allowance of two to three free follow up questions. The start-up's revenue model works on revenue sharing; taking a percentage of doctor's fee. So far it gets an even mix of users from across India with the only exception of higher ratio of female related cases, which is 60:40 percent people come for first opinion, balance for questions to corroborate with a specialist.

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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"Today, the healthcare portal run by Bangalore-based Rx HealthcareMagic Pvt Ltd, has a registered user base of 6.7 million. Among Healthcaremagic.com's visitors, an 85 per cent are from North America, 10 per cent from European nations and only 5-6 per cent are Indians. They come to the website for not just advice and health tips but also for information on reputed doctors in their localities. Currently, Healthcaremagic has information on medical practitioners in 19 countries across the globe and allows users to search on the basis of specialisation too

 
 
 
 
         
       
 

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