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This Malaysian Start-up Helps Companies Manage Their Health Benefits

HealthMetrics provides data that can improve employee health

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 03 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Most people leaving the corporate world for entrepreneurship would usually venture into something unrelated to what they were doing. Think, bankers becoming bakers; lawyers getting into hydroponics.

This was not the case with Alvin Yuan Wei Hoong, managing director of Malaysia-based HealthMetrics, who got the inspiration to found the company from his previous employer.

Hoong had been working at a healthcare organization, designing employee health benefit programs with insurance companies, healthcare providers, and corporate clients.

“I saw then that corporates were facing issues in managing employee health benefits effectively. Not only was this time consuming, but [there was also the problem of] uncontrolled rise on medical costs and fraudulent claims by employees. From there, the answer was simple—create an employee benefits management solution geared towards employers,” he says.

HealthMetrics allows corporate employees to avail of treatment at their panel clinics without having to pay in cash. “HealthMetrics then provides corporates such real time data as clinic visits, claims information, and digital [medical certificates] of their employees when seeking treatment. This allows corporates to make more informed decisions on budgeting and manpower allocation,” Hoong says.

The data HealthMetrics collects not only reduces man hours, but it can also save lives. “In one particular instance, we helped a manufacturing facility detect an outbreak of food poisoning-related issues and they were able to pinpoint the source of the problem to their in-house canteen and act on it quickly,” he says. Through analytics, HealthMetrics is also able to tailor wellness plans for employees in other companies suffering from chronic conditions, thus enabling them to improve their quality of life.

There is a value proposition for both clinics and employers with HealthMetrics. Clinics get new patients that they otherwise would not have had without the platform, while companies save on administrative work since the processes and reports are automated.

HealthMetrics has been getting good traction in their space, though some companies are still reluctant to adopt the platform. “[We] overcome these objections by assisting companies by doing a pilot with a smaller division and [then] a companywide transition from there,” Hoong says.

The hardest part of growing the business is actually on the opposite end—clients like the service so much they ask for new features and products to serve their needs. As a lean team, HealthMetrics does not have all the resources to develop or implement these. “However, we believe in good planning and by drawing a detailed business plan and product roadmap, we can overcome this and manage the expectations of our clients better,” he says.

For other entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia who want to make a similar dent in healthtech, Hoong emphasizes the importance of knowing the market, given how complex the industry is.

“It’s a tangled web that involves a huge list of interconnected parties—the government, primary care providers, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies…the list goes on. It is really important to firstly have an understanding of the industry as a whole and how a disruption can cause a chain reaction to other connected parties. Research, I would say, would be the most important thing before going into healthtech, but the impact and rewards will also be significant if you manage to pull it off,” he says.