After being in the top 15 initiatives at Startup Istanbul in 2016, “ MyDoctor.pk (now oladoc.com)” is all set to become a one-stop shop for patients and practitioners. They are expanding their services to automate the major part of healthcare eco-system. In addition to the doctor appointment and patient management services, it now allows users to get pharmaceutical products, care services and lab testing services delivered to their home. At Perspective.pk, we downloaded the app and inquired the founders about why it’s not just another health app.
Addressing the challenges of ICT4D and Healthcare Accessibility
“Good Health and Well Being” is at the third spot in the list of United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development 2015-2030. Use of Information and Communication for Technologies for Development (ICT4D) is a hot topic in achieving sustainable development goals. Following the trend, many health-tech startups have shown up to address the issues of Healthcare in Pakistan.
While some of them (such as, FindADoctor, MARHAM, MyTabeeb etc.) connect patients to doctors, others facilitate order and delivery of pharmaceuticals (such as Dawaai.pk, sehat.com.pk etc.)
For a patient, hassle free accessibility of reliable health care service is a great challenge. Similarly for Doctors, efficient practice management and record keeping is a tough task. “MyDoctor.pk” aims to provide all the services that are essential part of a healthcare lifecycle from the perspective of patient as well as doctor.
The App offerings
We did some research and inquired the founders about features of the app and here are some interesting ones that may allow patients to access more than just appointments:
• Search Doctors & book appointments (13,000+ PMDC Verified Doctors)
• Maintain their complete medical history
• Buy Medicines & get them home delivered within 2 Hours. For now, this service is only available in Lahore & will soon be expanded to other cities of Pakistan.
• Consult a Doctor for FREE via MyDoctor.pk app
• Order Lab tests and get test samples collected from home within 1 hour. This service has been launched nationwide in collaboration with Chughtai Labs
So it doesn’t end at the consumer service set there’s more to it and that makes this a great solution for a great problem. Managing health care data and patient record in Pakistan is still a huge problem and that means apps like these have a huge chance to scale. For Doctors it offers comprehensive Practice Management Services including:
• Appointment booking and notifications
• Patient data management
• Electronic Medical Records management
We also can not ignore the current billing system of doctors here. There are a lot of clinics that still deal in cash and do not maintain patient data. A business that desires to solve problems has a huge chance to scale and the problems here are multipronged.
Some doctors still operate in the grey area and they may take time adapting to such solutions, but at least the solution exists. The business documentation will actually help generate some interesting data but we have yet to see if it goes that far.
Healthcare systems globally have a huge impact on the local socio-political economy and all this impact is incomplete without the data and how it’s utilized. Apps like these may partner up with health funds to monitor the health issues prevailing in our society, that’s the kind of data science the world is talking about and if you haven’t missed it, it’s the next most valuable variable.
“We will continue to evolve our proposition with the aim of resolving all challenges faced by a consumer in healthcare journey. Our mission is to become “the go-to portal” for all stakeholders of healthcare eco-system, specially patients and doctors.”
Launched last year, the platform has seen steady growth in a category that did not exist previously in Pakistan. Speaking on the market feedback and response, the CEO Arif Zuberi said,
“The market feedback has improved significantly in the last 6 months as more doctors are getting on board now. These doctors are open to the idea of ‘’automating’’ their practices and clinics. On the contrary, from patients perspective, the demand for services such as above has always been there and it’s just a matter of tapping into the segment’
Business Model and Competitor Analysis
While there may be a lot of health apps in the market, it’s still a challenge for them to monetize the services.
MyDoctor.pk offers a “Freemium” model and ensures that patients use the platform for free.
However, the Doctors are charged a minimal subscription fee every month to use the services offered. Currently, the platform has more than 300 doctors that are actively using the services.
The Online Doctor consultation facility is available for free in collaboration with “Aman Foundation”. The founders also shared about partnering with “Servaid Pharmacy” for the delivery of pharmaceutical products and with “Chughtai Labs” for home lab testing services.
We hope these partnerships are sustainable and allow the founders to become unique in service provision. There are a few other health apps in process of development and would soon join the league but the value proposition will eventually define the scope of growth.
So to give you an example, “AugmentCare” can be considered as a competitor of “MyDoctor.pk” in terms of services to a great extent. However, “AugmentCare” is in its launching phase with a small pilot been built for Lahore University of Management Sciences users. At present “ MyDoctor.pk ” is one step ahead in terms of the “product maturity” compared to the likes of “AugmentCare”. It is also unique from its competitors in a few more aspects:
• They are supported by Virtual Force a global technology accelerator
(already working with healthcare solutions globally)
• They have (Pakistan Medical & Dental Council) PMDC verified doctors, guarantying authenticity and reliability to an extent
• Patients can review and recommend doctors based on experiences
• Doctors can get recognition based on patient recommendations
• Patients can access profiles of all kinds of practitioners
“ MyDoctor.pk ” possesses all those features that can provide a trustworthy and reliable experience to the patients and the doctors.
Similarly the likes of “AugmentCare” will have their own unique features. In the end what matters is the quality of service and user satisfaction.
These high-tech health startups have initiated the new wave of healthcare advocacy but its early to say if they would be able to make a meaningful dent in the healthcare space in Pakistan. However, one thing’s for sure; a country with a population of over 200 Million and a GDP spend of only 2% into healthcare, may find these interventions as the only hope to improve the system. Interventions in the healthcare system have a fair chance of scaling as the private sector engagement increases however what worries us (result of most dialogues generalised) is that too many people are using similar approaches.
Technology and data can together change the future of healthcare services but its not just the job of college graduates or some technology experts. What we like in this model is the experience of the co-founders, the seriousness that’s beyond business and the exposure of serving global brands.
Healthcare in Pakistan needs more than one group of service providers to test interventions, the next step maybe involving doctors in more than advisory capacity; as angel investors or venture capitalists – Oh Well, Why Not !?
Team @ MyDoctor.pk
About the Contributor:
Murtaza Ali Baig is studying Computer Science at LUMS. He is a young researcher interested in technology startups and innovation.