Thinking health holistically with Kianava

Katharina Kittelberger

Startup Stories

Founded in 2020, the startup Kianava offers a telemedicine platform for holistic medical coaching to improve the health of people with chronic diseases. Based in Berlin, a team of doctors and therapists apply scientifically validated approaches to help patients in the best possible way. 

For example, Saman Hashemian, co-founder of Kianava, emphasizes that "our digital health program is built on a unique combination of proven methods from conventional medicine, evidence-based naturopathy and mind-body medicine. As a result, we achieve a new perspective on disease management."

In an interview with 5-HT, he explains how Kianava can help chronically ill patients make positive long-term lifestyle changes.  

Saman Hashemian, co-founder of Kianava

The lifestyle of many Germans is unhealthy: the founding of Kianava 

Professionally, Saman has been involved in fitness and health for a long time. But because sports alone do not lead to a healthy lifestyle, he focuses in particular on nutrition. "Here I quickly realized that Germans tend to eat fast, cheap and at the same time unhealthy food."

Statistically, stress has also become a central component of an unhealthy lifestyle: "This has increased enormously over the past 50 years. Added to this are factors such as too little exercise and sleep. All of these combined have been shown to cause, trigger or promote chronic disease." 

To address this problem, Saman concluded that these same people with chronic conditions should have a stake in changing their situation after all. 

Kianava's concept of holistic patient care

The target group: chronically ill people, but who are they?

"Contrary to expectations, chronic illnesses do not only affect people in old age. It often starts at the age of 30. Thus, our concept primarily addresses people who have been suffering from chronic complaints for years because their illness could not be managed until now," he summarizes. 

After studying the subject intensively, Saman quickly realized that chronic illnesses are much more common than previously thought: 

I was shocked when I saw that 40 percent of Germans suffer from chronic complaints. That's over 30 million people.

Kianava's ambition is to drastically reduce this number. With a customer base that is currently 80 percent women between the ages of 30 and 50, they are starting to make this a reality.

How do your patients use Kianava?

"The most popular way is to start by having a digital conversation with one of our holistically trained specialists. In this, first and foremost, the patient's primary problem is defined and a medically appropriate course of action is worked out. In the process, the doctor takes a deep medical history, in which he not only asks about current complaints, but also inquires about events from the past."

What is remarkable here is that doctors take up to a full hour for the initial consultation, because: 

On average, doctors have 7 minutes for a personal patient-doctor conversation. Not enough to get to the bottom of the chronic complaints. 

A health plan is then established and the start of a health program is initiated. In this, patients continue to have regular follow-up conversations with doctors and therapists. 

The health plan: Central element in coaching 

The health plan is updated accordingly based on the monthly doctor's consultations. Patients can access this at any time in the web app and also have the option of chatting with their doctor or therapist for an unlimited period of time.  

In doing so, all recommendations are always based on the respective resources and life realities of the patients. "Because that's the only way they can be integrated quickly and easily into everyday life. For example, someone who has children, a stressful job or travels a lot needs different recommendations than someone with a different lifestyle," Saman says.

Using technology to make medicine more human again 

Kianava is not a traditional digital health app (DiGA) because the web app is not based on algorithms or software. For example, Saman emphasizes that "our recommendations always come from people. There is no technology running in the background making recommendations to patients." 

This is exactly what makes Kianava unique in its application, as until now there has been no platform across Europe where doctors can connect with therapists to treat and accompany patients over a longer period. "At the same time, we have not reinvented this concept, because patients have been treated in this way at some German clinics for over 20 years. But we have now successfully brought this concept to the online world."

The Kianava Program - Cancelable at any time 

"Our patients are self-payers. In exchange for taking their health into their own hands, they pay a monthly fee of €149 for our 6-month program. Initial consultations are €99." 

However, Saman stresses that Kianava does not want to build an elitist medicine but aims to become mainstream in the long term. "We see ourselves as a complement to the conventional healthcare system, because actually in Germany we have one of the best medical systems in the world. At the same time, however, it is also one of the most expensive, and doctors simply don't have the time for personal, holistic treatment of their patients. 

For this reason, we at Kianava think interactively and want to build bridges." 

A team unique in Germany

"Currently, we are 25 employees. We are enormously proud of our medical team of doctors and therapists. In the past, we have already received inquiries from clinics that would like to have their patients further cared for by our team." 

At the same time, Saman describes the corporate culture at Kianava as human and understanding. "It is important to us to live the lifestyle we convey to our patients internally as well. After all, it would be ironic to preach calm and balance to the outside world when the team is simultaneously stressed and working late into the night." 

Therefore, Kianava has also introduced the four-day week: "It leads to a balanced atmosphere, which is very productive."

In summary: A hub by people, for people

Just one year after its founding, Kianava can already report the first patient successes: "Some of them were really incredible. In general, we get a lot of positive feedback and can see the popularity in the number of patients, which increases every week. In addition, we have already had successful discussions with major health insurers, which has brought us much closer to our goal of one day becoming part of standard care."  

From the cooperation with 5-HT, Saman primarily hopes to use the network with regard to insurance companies and investors: "Here, we particularly like the fact that they primarily focus on sustainable companies. 

Because it's only by working with companies that share our philosophy that we achieve our goal."

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