KARACHI: A healthcare start-up, Find my Doctor, has managed to raise Rs20 million as it seeks to expand its outreach and scope of services to patients and become a full-fledged ‘virtual’ hospital in the following years.
The start-up facilitates people in locating hospitals, blood banks, ambulances, and Pakistan Medical Association’s certified doctors through an android- and iOS-based app. Users can also book online appointments.
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Launched around 20 months ago, the app lists around 1,800 doctors, their qualifications, specialisation, experience, availability (timing), and fee. The app also allows users to record their 10-year medical history to aid in diagnosis and prescription from doctors.
Last month, it launched a ‘Lab Test at Home’ service as well.
“Healthcare is a difficult market,” CEO Saad Siddiqui told The Express Tribune as he elaborated expansion plans. “The funds will enable us to offer three more services to the patients and expand outreach in other cities of the country as well this year.”
The new services will be disclosed at a launching ceremony and will be available in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
“Our aim is to offer these services in at least three other cities by December 2017,” he said. Going forward, the continuous addition and expansion of services help the app in becoming a full-fledge ‘virtual’ hospital. “We will be a virtual hospital in 3-4 years,” Siddiqui hoped.
Contrary to expectations, most test requests from the ‘Lab Test at Home’ feature are coming from developing and under-developed areas, pointing to the lack of hospitals in those localities.
Lab tests through the facility are conducted from Essa Laboratory, NIBD Hospital and National Medical Centre. “More labs of the city and country will be on board shortly,” Siddiqui assured.
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“We are looking to reduce delivery time, which can go up to a maximum of three hours right now, to around an hour.”
He said that the death of his mother in 2012 compelled him to find a solution to the country’s healthcare management woes. As is the case with most revolutionary ideas, disappointing response and slow progress in his project almost broke Siddiqui’s spirit.
On a rather idle day, however, Siddiqui received phone calls from people requesting blood in far-flung areas of Sindh. “The calls motivated me again,” he said.
He said social media and establishment of short- and/or long-term partnerships with big business names are serving the app as useful marketing and expansion tools.
Together with Pakistan’s love for mobile broadband, and a desperate need for quality and timely healthcare service, the app founder feels there is room for growth in the area.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2017.
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