More Health Professionals Need to Trust Telemedicine
STORY INLINE POST
Q: How does MiDoctor24h differentiate itself from the multiple telemedicine platforms that emerged after the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Telemedicine is a broad concept that goes beyond a medical appointment via video call. Telemedicine includes electronic clinical records, remote patient monitoring, personalized medicine, smart medical devices and interconnection of health systems. In addition, it is sometimes forgotten that there is a wide variety of health providers besides doctors who rely on these tools, such as psychologists, dentists, nutritionists, among others.
MiDoctor24h seeks to create a health ecosystem that provides effective solutions. We identified the need to have a tool that would comply with the functionalities that a doctor requires and we designed a specialized system that complies with international safety standards. Our tool also gives the doctor the ability to connect with remote medical devices since we offer integrations with equipment like blood pressure monitors, oximeters, glucometers, otoscopes, weight scales and others. In addition, our AI algorithms can provide a diagnosis depending on the problem. This makes our platform quite different from other existing proposals. Our service is directed toward personalized and preventive medicine that is cost-effective and convenient.
Q: How educated is the Mexican market on the use of telemedicine?
A: The Mexican market is not very different from other Spanish-speaking markets, including Spain, it still the exception rather than the rule. Out of 10 doctors, only one has provided telemedicine services by their own means through WhatsApp, Zoom or other platforms, according to a research performed by Health Affairs. Doctors do not feel comfortable treating their patients via telemedicine because it is difficult for them to adapt on the change of providing the service through the digital environment, also are not familiar using e-payment gateways which difficult them to collect fees, most of the time creating discomfort on the healthcare provider, but my final conclusion is that since they haven’t get any preparation or course studies regarding telemedicine, they feel they are navigating into unknown territory. There is still a lot to be done to attract more health professionals to telemedicine but MiDoctor24h is committed to this transformation. With our tool, it is easier for doctors to charge because we formalize the service. We are also working with Anahuac University to start offering free telemedicine courses to health professionals to create awareness of the benefits of using these technological tools.
On the other hand, the patient is willing to consult via telemedicine and is fully prepared for it. When we arrived in the market, we offered our service for free for a whole year. This helped us position ourselves as the most downloaded health app that year (2019) on Google Play. There was technological resistance because some users did not know how the tool worked but our support team helped them. Today, we have a more technological user who is adapted too and understands technology platforms.
Q: How do you guarantee patients that their data is protected when dealing with digital consultations?
A: In a cloud-based system, it is important that we first ensure the security of the certificates and the encryption of the information in our databases. Moreover, we have created an API that allows pharmacies to receive prescriptions and laboratories to manage electronic clinical records, especially for government issues. In Mexico, our information is hosted by Amazon Web Services to withstand attacks and also to be HIPAA and GDPR compliant. The information that is in Mexico also has a mirror server in the US so that, in the event of several attacks, the system is not weakened.
Q: What regulatory challenges have you faced in Mexico?
A: The health sector is difficult in any country. In Mexico, what was most complex for us was the registration of the company. To obtain the Federal Taxpayer Registration (RFC) as a foreigner is quite complex; nonetheless, establishing the company was very easy.
Q: What are your priorities for 2023?
A: MiDoctor24h has a business line called YANO, which stands for "You are not on your own." It is a line of smart devices that allow the patient and the doctor to connect remotely. We will start introducing this line in Mexico next year. It includes continuous glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors and a multiparameter monitor. The multiparameter monitor is going to be offered especially to families of the elderly, nursing homes and even hospitals, since an ultraportable device is quite effective, measuring: Blood oxygen, Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, Single-lead ECG, Temperature, Breathing rate and Blood Glucose. We have already started the registration of these devices with COFEPRIS and in 3Q23, we hope to start marketing them.
MiDoctor24h is a platform for online medical consultations that allows health professionals from all over the world to connect with patients.