i-Docz is a complete health app – to book doctor appointments
Please introduce yourself and your startup i-Docz to our readers!
I-Docz is a Pakistan based start-up that aims to address the growing concerns of Pakistanis when it comes to our healthcare sector. Our health sector is riddled with issues ranging from unavailable services to fraud practices that end up endangering the lives of the patients involved. By bringing together doctors, patients, laboratories, and pharmacies on one platform, we hope to bridge the information and communication gap that exists between these entities and thus improve the overall quality of health care in Pakistan.
With this in mind, we have created an application that will allow patients to book appointments with doctors online. They’ll receive notifications regarding appointment confirmations, reminders, instructions from their doctor etc. They’ll also be able to purchase medicines online through e-prescriptions provided to them. An inbuilt GPS system will help assist them in locating health facilities nearest to them. All in all, they’ll have full access to all their records whether its their previous or current diagnoses, prescriptions, lab reports etc.
Our EHR (Electronic health records) will help doctors with their daily activites including schedule management, laboratory management, prescription management, consultation requests etc. Cumulative patient profiles will help them see the bigger picture when determining a patient’s condition or treatment procedure. Electronic referrals will allow them to easily discuss a patient’s condition before finalising any treatment plans.
How did you get the idea to i-Docz?
Seeing relatives around us suffer from inadequacies of our current healthcare system made us think if we could somehow use our knowledge to create something that will not only help resolve our current problems but also improve the system and make it more efficient and in par with other healthcare systems (worldwide). Many features in our application have been adopted keeping certain people in mind. An example would be our alternative medicine feature wherein patients will have the option of going for cheaper substitutes of prescribed medicines.
Basically, a function will help compare and list drugs (from different pharmaceutical companies) having the same chemical formula alongside their retail prices. Patients can then simply opt from any of them and have them delivered at their doorstep. This will be especially beneficial to users from the lower income bracket who cannot afford highly priced branded medicines.
How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
I think the biggest obstacle that we face even now is resistance to change. And surprisingly, it’s the large and well-established pharmaceutical organizations that are unwilling to adopt this modern technology. While our idea and application have been lauded by all, we’re told that it’s futuristic and not for current times. We believe that companies need to be more open to testing, if not entirely adopting, newer technologies in order to test and find ways of increasing their own productivity.
Smaller medical practices on the other hand have been more accepting which goes to show that individually doctors are trying their best to improve the situation on their own but a drastic effect can only take place if they’re supported by the organizations that hire their services.
Who is your target audience?
Our target audience is basically divided into two broad categories. Android users from the general public make up one category. The app’s designed to suit users of all ages, from all backgrounds and so age, gender, literacy etc. doesn’t matter. All you need is an android phone and you’ll be able to utilize the app in your daily lives.
And the second is small and large medical practices, laboratories and pharmaceutical companies who will benefit from this in various ways including efficient work flow, increased productivity, less chances of error etc.
What is the USP of your startup?
While our app has more than one distinguishing feature upon which we can build our image and brand, however in the Pakistani market, we believe our biggest USP is our EHR. Many medical applications have come in the recent years but none as advanced as ours. With i-Docz, everything is going to be automated. Patients won’t have to worry about constantly updating their medical information. Doctors won’t have to search through files to access a patient’s record.
Can you describe a typical workday of you?
A typical workday starts off with a scrum meeting. After each team member establishes his goals for the day, we move on to code review and development. At times, certain situations require brain storming – for ideas and better ways of resolving problems at hand – for which the team gathers and mulls over the issue together. Some of our team members are university students and others have day jobs, and so most of the time we end up working after hours or from homes to ensure deadlines are met. It gets hectic at times, but it’s all worthwhile especially when a milestone is achieved.
Where do you see yourself and your startup i-Docz in five years?
We hope to be able to implement our technology in as many medical facilities as possible and to satisfy our user base to the best of our abilities. We also hope to have a positive impact on our health sector as a whole.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
One, if people laugh at your idea, then you’re going the right way. Keep moving forward and don’t let them distract you or bring you down. If they question your idea or product, don’t shut them out rather answer them, if not immediately then dwell over it and come up with an answer. Their questions will allow you to view your product/ idea from a different angle and will help broaden your own perspective. Two, be patient, and don’t give up. No matter how difficult it is right now, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And three, don’t always go looking for investors. At the initial stages try to somehow develop a prototype first. Work on it, perfect it and then let it speak for itself.
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Thank you Zahra Tariq for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.