The HealthMetrics team

Filing medical claims is an activity that has been done for at least once in the life of anyone who is working in a corporate setting.

Often taken for granted, it turns out that there are many challenges that companies are facing when it comes to managing medical claims.

“First and foremost, companies do take care of their employees … But there are always problem with controlling their expenditure, how they manage their claims, even problems such as faked medical claims,” HealthMetrics CEO Alvin Yuan explains in an interview with e27.

“Also, sometimes, employees don’t feel like going to work today [because] they are sick, and they don’t have the proper communications channel with their superiors and their HR [department],” he adds.

This is where the HealthMetrics platform aims to help. Apart from providing a real-time notification of employees seeking a treatment to HR managers, the platform also enables companies to get preferred treatment rates at clinics and other healthcare providers.

When employees are going to a clinic that has fostered a partnership with HealthMetrics, they no longer have to do any paperwork and their medical will automatically be submitted through the platform to the company’s HR managers.

This process will also help prevent the use of faked medical claims, which is often available for sale online in hard copy.

“If an emplooyee got MCs for three days, traditionally your HR or even your superior will only get the MC three days later. But if they go through us, they will be able to instantly get the three-day MC, without the employee having to hold back,” Yuan says.

“This helps companies to properly allocate manpower … So we do actually have clients in the service industry, such as hotels, because they see the benefits of utilising a system like this,” he adds.

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Based in Klang Valley, HealthMetrics was founded by Yuan, Advent Phang, and Max Thum in 2015. Yuan and Thum had background in pharmacy, with Yuan having had worked in healthcare industry for eight years.

Launching their platform in May 2016, the startup managed to secure more than 150 corporate clients and more than 1,500 clinics on board.

It is currently run by a team of 16 people, including the co-founders.

Breaking through

In May, HealthMetrics made history as the first and only Malaysian startups to make it to the Google Launchpad Accelerator programme. The startup travelled to the tech giant’s headquarter in Mountain View to take part in intensive mentoring from the Google team and experts from top technology companies and venture capital firms in Silicon Valley.

There were many valuable lessons and take-aways that HealthMetrics got from their time in Mountain View, but one of the most valuable is on the implementation of machine learning and artificial intelligence in their product.

“The other issue that companies are facing is that they have a lack of data on their employees’ healthcare. A lot of companies do not know the status of their employees, how well they are doing,” CTO Advent Phang says.

He explains that this might prevent the companies from making a suitable wellness plan or preventive programme for their employees.

“We are able to help companies derive from whatever information we have [on the platform]; we are able to let them know who might actually have chronic illness,” he concludes, stressing the importance of making an informed decision.

The Launchpad Accelerator programme has also encouraged the startup to take a bird’s eyes view of its business.

“We have always been doing our business, but never take a step back to look, ‘Okay. Do you actually know what your problem is?'” Yuan says.

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So what tips and advice can the startup give for other Malaysian startup founders, who aspire to take part in the programme?

Lead Business Strategist Max Thum believes that the key is in the team. Instead of pitching to the company as a single founder, it is better to come forward as a team, with each team member showing their best knowledge in each of their field.

“It makes the entire team looks very solid. The team should all pitch, instead of just a single founder,” Thum says

“We [also] have to show a solid vision on how we would like to proceed with the programme,” he adds.

When they applied for the Launchpad Accelerator programme, the team learned that Google has been putting machine learning and AI at the forefront of the programme. The goal is in line with what the startup has been trying to achieve.

“I gave them insights that we have this product, and we believe that with an additional help, we will be able to create a product that will help, not only Malaysian companies, but also Southeast Asian companies. They immediately took interest and scheduled an interview session about how we would like to implement machine learning or AI if we get selected,” Thum explains.

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Future plans

So what is the next step for HealthMetrics?

In addition to keep focussing on product development, the startup would also like to focus on local market first, before making any expansion abroad.

“If we do go to a second market, our first choice would be a neighbouring country, though we are yet to find it,” Thum says.

HealthMetrics is also considering raising external fund, though the plan is not set in stone.

Having received a US$500,000 grant from Malaysian state-owned venture capital fund Cradle Fund, the startup claimed to be running on positive cash flow.

“We are actually very, very comfortable. We are running cash flow positive right now, and I think that’s one of the perks of being a B2B startup,” Yuan says.

“If we do seek additional funding, it is more to scale, but at the present moment we are very comfortable at where we are at,” he closes.

Image Credit: HealthMetrics