Health Inquiries the Digital WayWed, 09/07/2016 - 16:56
Q: Under what circumstances was 1DOC3 founded and what were the market opportunities you visualized to start the company?
A: Four years ago, while living in the Middle East, I suffered a serious injury. I did not know where to find a doctor in Dubai, so I searched online with little success. Thereafter, we came up with the idea of creating a platform similar to TripAdvisor with a health approach, in which finding physicians with excellent credentials would be easy. We realized rating doctors with stars was not the best approach, as fatalities can happen and grades could become biased. We kept evaluating people’s Internet habits and found out that almost everybody googled their inquiries. As such, the question-answer mechanism connected worried wouldbe patients with physicians lacking an online presence. Our platform was born as a medical recommendation site that became a place where people could get accurate answers from real doctors, while the latter earned a digital reputation.
Q: How does 1DOC3 work and what are its main differentiators?
A: 1DOC3 is a multichannel platform that can be accessed through our webpage, mobile applications developed for both Android and iOS systems, SMS, and through Internet. org. In Mexico, it’s already available on Telcel, allowing people to use our service even without a balance on their account. 1DOC3 is quite easy to use. People simply write their questions and the system looks over the 100,000 inquiries that have already been answered. If you want a personalized answer, the system detects the type of doctor that should be answering the question. In an average of 90 minutes, users will get a concise answer. Our platform is not a medical chat, it is asynchronous.
Q: Who are your main clients?
A: We have three main clients. Firstly, we provide the Colombian government with general information, helping them build and update public health policies based on in-depth reports containing the general public’s most common questions and concerns. With this data, authorities can improve education, training manuals and properly update current policies. Our platform also serves as a digital channel for healthcare authorities to reach consumers. We work closely with other health institutions to prevent the zika and chikungunya virus spread through content-based campaigns.
Secondly, we work with the pharmaceutical industry in two ways. We carry out disease awareness campaigns for companies like Novartis. Our job is to disseminate information about Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and other relevant diseases. We also deliver reports on people’s beliefs about certain health conditions in specific regional contexts, which can be structured by topic, gender, age and health condition, among other categories.
Finally, health insurance companies are 1DOC3’s third business line, as we serve as a first filter to their clients. Many medical consultations are just informative; our digital platform can solve some of the enquiries before an insured patient visits their physician.
Q: What kind of growth has the company seen?
A: We launched our platform in June 2014. Since then, we have oriented 17 million Latin American people, half of them in Colombia, and 20 percent in Mexico. We have grown in an organic manner, without major marketing investments and through good positioning in online search engines. We have close to 3 million users in Mexico so we decided to open local operations. Mexico is the largest market we could aspire to reach in Spanish-speaking countries.
Q: What can you tell us about the endorsement by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)?
A: The IADB named 1DOC3 as the startup with the highest social impact in Latin America for 2015. The institution’s endorsement has helped us validate our operations with governments and other authorities. In February 2016, the bank released a paper that showed how a startup like ours aids governments in reducing communication campaign costs. The cost difference between reaching 10 million people through a push approach, rather than through online searches, is phenomenal.