Health and Technology: A Business ModelBy Aturo Sánchez Correa | Tue, 12/07/2021 - 11:10
What’s remarkable about some of the most well-known and successful technology startups is not so much what they do, but the scale at which they do what they do. Think for example about WhatsApp, which is now the backbone of communications in several emerging market economies; simply put, some countries would come to a halt if WhatsApp stopped working (this was actually how it felt when it was down for several hours in early October); Nubank, with its 50 million customers; or Rappi, with its ubiquitous couriers in Latin American cities. At Sofía, we strive to do the same in healthcare. Our company mission, mejorar la forma en que millones de personas cuidan su salud (improve the way millions of people care for their health), says so explicitly.
What the companies mentioned above have in common is the use of technology. By now, it is a cliché to point out how technology has changed our lives; it is an afterthought in a lot of people’s everyday lives. This, however, is not equally distributed across more than one dimension. It’s almost unthinkable that you would choose to send a telegram (the paper message not the app) instead of an email to send a message, but until not long ago, the status quo was that the only way to get medical care was to transport yourself to a doctor’s office, hang out in the waiting room, see a doctor, go to the pharmacy to get your prescription filled and, only then, could you go back to your normal life.
In contrast, when one of our Soci@s at Sofía requires care, all they have to do is open their app and in a couple of minutes they’ll be speaking to a high-quality doctor, immediately after we’ll send them their prescription to wherever they are. The experience we bring to our Soci@s is the tech-enabled one we’ve come to expect in most other parts of our lives but that, until now, wasn’t available.
The other significant dimension in which technologies are not equally distributed comes in the form of economic and geographical access. Even though our initial product is priced to provide both primary care and coverage of serious illness and accidents at a much more affordable level than what the market offers, it is clear to us that by leveraging technology, we can reach a much broader audience in the two dimensions mentioned before.
We believe that magic happens when you put together the payment layer through digital-only insurance, the care delivery layer through telemedicine and the digital craftsmanship through intuitive products that are super-easy to use. This will unlock a revolution in the level of access that people have to high-quality healthcare.
Now, you might be wondering why the previous paragraph talks about the future. We, both as a company but also as a society, are at the very beginning of the journey of seeing the enormous potential of technology in how we care for our health. At Sofía, we’re pushing even further to drive this enormous change. I’ll leave it at that for now, but watch this space.