Sunday, March 18, 2012

The idea & the problems

This post is for educational purpose it is about How the idea started? What are the problems we are tackling & trying to solve? & What are the current alternatives for different stakeholders? I will not talk about the solution because it is not launched yet, & I prefer talking about it later in more details.

How it started?

It started a year ago, my dad woke me up at 11 PM, he gave me this book, and asked me to find a doctor, & book him an appointment.


I took the book, & started to search for doctors that fits the criteria my dad gave to me. I asked myself if I can do this online & so I started searching but didn’t find anything useful that can tell me which doctor to go to.

I had to call many doctors before I could find the one, it wasn’t a pleasant experience & that’s what turned me on to think about a solution for that.

The Stakeholders & their problems:

We decided to investigate the problems further where we found that there are mainly three stakeholders involved in the healthcare process in Egypt, there are many others but I will highlight the main three from our perspective.

patient for blog post

  1. The person who is looking for a doctor: I can summarize the problems of this person in the following points:
    • Finding a Doctor: People use different ways to search for a doctor including:
      • Recommendations by friends & family.
      • 600+ pages medical directory.
      • Internet: Many people search for doctors online, but surprisingly if you search for a doctor from Egypt, the top result is a Saudi medical forum !
    • Finding the right appointment & booking: To find an appointment that fits in your schedule, you have to call multiple doctors till you find out who is available to examine you, & you have to call when the clinic is open so someone pick up your call.
    • Waiting ! No body doubt about that !
    • Service quality: After you find the doctor and visit him, you might not get the service you are looking for & currently the only way to know that is word of mouth.

      Character -
  2. The Doctor: The doctor is the service provider, there are mainly 220,000+ doctors in Egypt distributed on different specialties, the main selling point for the doctor’s services is the private clinic:
    • Doctors always aim to grow their business, they do that by advertising for their clinics, & building up a good reputation about the service they provide. The current alternatives for advertising are overpriced & doesn’t drive people directly to the doctor’s clinic. It also doesn’t help people get connected directly to the doctor if they don’t know him/her which is essential to grow the business.
    • Doctors also have a very busy/unstable schedule, it changes all the time, patients might book & don’t go to the visit which generates empty slots, the doctor himself might change the schedule but they don’t have an immediate/appropriate way to update people waiting for them.

      Illustration 3
  3. Insurance Company: it’s the middle man between the doctor and the people, they drive people to doctors, & payback for both of them.
    • Insurance Companies spend a lot of money on printing books & call centers that route people to doctors.
    • They waste a lot of time & money on tracking the bookings for tracking the bills and knowing how much they should pay to the doctor or the patient.
    • The ultimate dream for the insurance company if they can send the person to the cheapest doctor with the highest quality, some of them do internal ratings on doctors to be able to classify them.

This was a quick introduction to a small part of the healthcare world, we will publish different posts later about the solution & how we built it?

Stay tuned for the next post, you will be introduced to the Ekshef team ;)

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