Get your doctor's appointment in seconds
Booking your doctor's appointment usually involves a lot of patience and leaves very little flexibility for patients to cancel and explore other options, okadoc.com - UAE startup venture - provides a solution to real challenges faced by both patients and healthcare providers in the UAE.
"We help patients find the right doctor for them and instantly book an appointment without any hassle or human intervention. And in doing so, we help hospitals and clinics improve operational efficiencies by reducing no-shows, toxic calls and improve call centre efficiencies and visibility of their brands and doctors. The portal is free for patients to use, but client hospitals and doctors pay a monthly subscription package to facilitate online bookings and list their services. The cost varies typically averaging Dh500 per month per doctor," said Fodhil Benturquia, founder and chief executive officer, okadoc.com.
So how did okadoc.com evolve? Benturquia recalls, a couple of years ago he wanted to make an appointment with a doctor and found the whole process to be too lengthy and cumbersome and which led him to a question as to why it is so easy to book an airline ticket or a hotel room, but for something as important as healthcare, it is still so difficult?
"Digging a bit further, I realised that hospitals and clinics lose millions of dollars each year because of the so-called 'no-shows', the people who book doctor appointments but never turn up on the day. There is a variety of reasons for this; some people miss their appointments because they are too busy, others because they forget or due to other emergencies that interrupt their schedules. And most of them they don't bother to cancel or reschedule their appointments because it is not made easy for them," said Benturquia.
Recent studies in the UAE found that almost 30 per cent of people who book a doctor's appointment fail to show. Okadoc.com's data indicates that this number is closer to 37 per cent in the UAE and 40 per cent in Saudi Arabia.
"Coming from an e-commerce background, I knew how impactful technology can be if used appropriately in addressing this issue and ultimately improve the healthcare experience for patients and the operational efficiencies for healthcare providers," said Benturquia.
"I wanted to help people find the right doctor for them based on specialty, qualifications and experience, language spoken, insurance policy, price of consultation, location and instantly make a confirmed doctor's appointment online. And I wanted to ensure that they have the necessary functionality to help them reschedule their appointment, or cancel it, or even request earlier availability and to do all these in a matter of seconds."
Okadoc.com has already raised funding during their Series A funding in 2018 exceeding their initial targets and is in midst of closing Series B funding. The venture is all set to expand its operations beyond the UAE and is eyeing a market in Saudi Arabia.
Benturquia informs that his venture offers instant confirmed appointment bookings with the preferred doctor. Okadoc's smart multi-channel reminders help 50 per cent of people who had forgotten about their appointment to actually meet their doctor.
The cancellation and rescheduling features help 40 per cent of those honour their appointment at a different time. The limited-booking feature bans users after three no-shows, educating end-users and helping hospitals further reduce no-shows. Patients can make a confirmed booking in less than 40 seconds, reschedule in 10 seconds or cancel in 5 seconds.
Aristo Bhupal, director of product, okadoc said: "I could think of many reasons why Okadoc made sense but I think the most important one of them has been the state of health-tech space in the region. It has been untapped while completely missing the last decade of evolution and disruption in Consumer Technology Space think Smartphones, Fitness Trackers, Smartwatches, Use of Machine learning & AI etc. The true challenge for okadoc has been the difficulty in modifying behaviour from both the providers and consumers while trying to solve for the usual technology challenges like high data security, implementation of industry standards etc. A big chunk of healthcare technologies actually in use with providers is extremely primitive and they haven't managed to move away from legacy systems. We try to solve it by offering a platform which has been built from grounds up using cutting edge technology while being easy to use and scale."
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