Health tech startup Klinik Pintar is aiming to add as many as 100 digital clinics to its network across Indonesia by the end of next year, the company’s co-founder and CEO told Nikkei Asia, in another sign of how mobile technology is transforming the medical sector of Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Launched in 2019, Klinik Pintar is intent on digitalizing clinics and increasing productivity in the health industry. The company currently has about 10 clinics that it directly operates, but CEO Harya Bimo sees that as just the beginning.
“We are aiming to build or operate 100 clinics in the next two years,” Bimo said in a recent interview, referring to a time frame running to the end of 2024. He has a twofold strategy: acquiring existing clinics and building new ones.
Klinik Pintar offers its digital system to clinics for free as long as they source medicines from it. This is one of the company’s strengths, Bimo said, noting that digital system competitors insist on monthly or yearly subscriptions.
As for constructing new clinics, that is a costly pursuit. “We need a minimum of USD 10 million to build 100 clinics,” Bimo said, adding the company is in talks to form joint ventures with investors to achieve the target. Some of the investors are foreign, but Bimo mentioned no names.
Currently, about 350 clinics in some 60 cities use Klinik Pintar’s system. Bimo said the company plans to lift that number to 3,500 during the next two years. He added that the startup is expected to achieve profitability in the July-September quarter this year.
Klinik Pintar’s expansion plans come years after smartphones began allowing Indonesians to access ride-hailing, delivery and e-commerce services from local companies such as GoTo and Bukalapak and Singapore-based Grab and Sea.
Bimo said the majority of Indonesians in big cities tend to teleconsult with their doctors via online chats, while patients in second- and third-tier cities have less access to such services. “This is where we want to take part in bridging the gap [between online and offline health care services] by developing a hybrid concept,” he said.
Patients can use their smartphones to teleconsult health care professionals at Klinik Pintar’s directly managed clinics or ones using its system.
The size of the city that patients live in is only one factor that differentiates them. Social class is another as is profession.
Many blue-collar workers, Bimo said, still need to be in the same room with their doctor. “Now, if you look at the white-collar [workers],” he said, “they are more likely to access health care” digitally, referring to their greater access to and familiarity with technology and web-based services.
Bimo also said the coronavirus pandemic has been a wake-up call for the country’s medical system.
“COVID really taught us a very hard lesson,” he said. “If we don’t have updated health data, it is very tough for the government to produce and implement the right health policy.”
Most Indonesian hospitals, he said, still do things manually, such as keeping patient files on paper.
And while the country’s COVID infection situation is less dire these days, the government of the world’s fourth most populous nation remains under the gun to efficiently control medical costs.
“If we fail to manage our health care budget, the cost will increase rapidly,” Bimo said. “By analyzing health data, we could see where most of the spending went and see if we can streamline health care spending more efficiently.”