Complex Made Simple

Exclusive: Who is curing the ills of booking doctors’ appointments, patient walk-ins and no shows?

Tired of calling clinics and waiting on the phone only to botch the whole appointment and end up being a walk-in patient, held up for hours?

Okadoc seamlessly enables patients and healthcare providers connect, stay connected and ease appointment booking pains Doctor-patients no shows in the US are 23% while in the UAE they reach 37% and in Saudi more than 40% The Okadoc model allows doctors to continuously promote the service without fear of sharing revenues

Nothing is more painful than finding the right doctors and booking them.

It’s a hairy task to sift through endless lists of practitioners only to find that some have the wrong number, email or even address, not to mention potentially archaic answering services. From frustrating calls, to confusion and delays, angst and frustrations sicken the even healthiest among us. 

In comes Okadoc. 

Fodhil Benturquia, Founder & CEO of Okadocrecently said: “Okadoc builds and deploy technologies to improve the healthcare experience for everyone involved.” 

What’s up Okadoc?

Okadoc is a B2B2C technology provider and leading instant doctor appointment booking platform, which recently closed a $10 million Series A funding round, following a $2.3 million seed round in 2018.  

Okadoc has so far made its presence felt via seamlessly enabling patients and healthcare providers connect, stay connected and ease the pains associated with bookings on both sides.   

Okadoc’s cloud-based platform, available across www.okadoc.com or the app for iPhone and Android, is designed to help patients find, free of charge, a doctor according to various parameters including insurance network, location, specialty, language spoken, or gender. 

Patients can then view real-time doctor availabilities, instantly book appointments, receive reminders, reschedule, cancel or even request earlier availability. 

Read: Now, get ‘virtual’ treatment for ‘real’ illnesses!

Why Okadoc?

Okadoc’s business strategy rests on having solutions to the ills related to booking a doctor.

1-What it offers patients 

First for Patients, Okadoc locates doctors very efficiently. “Okadoc is the only platform in the region that is integrated with most of the international and local hospital information systems (HIS), covering over 60% of doctors in the UAE, offering patients the access to doctor schedules in real-time, and allowing them to instantly book and manage their appointments,” Benturquia told AMEinfo in a telephone interview.

“We launched our instant booking feature in the UAE a year ago, and in this short time we have managed to on-board over 1,000 bookable doctors from 70 specialties in healthcare facilities across all seven emirates.” 

That’s a 10% market penetration, considering that there are 14,000-15,000 physicians in the UAE in the private sector, while only 10,000 to 11,0000 are bookable (taking out surgeons, radiologists, or anesthetists for example). 

“We have already signed an additional 1500 doctors across all sectors in the UAE since then and they will go online in the weeks and months to come,” added Benturquia.

Second for patients are over 70 medical specialties in more spoken languages, and it’s a visible service easily trackable online, like with Uber where you see the driver arriving to his cab pick-up. 

Read: How fit are we? Heart stopping truths about health and lifestyle in the region

“Doctors’ calendars are 100% connected between their health information system and Okadoc. So, we do not do “booking requests” – the bookings that come in are instantaneous because they are fully synced and do not require human interaction,” said Benturquia. 

The HIS integration takes away issues related to tricky or misleading confirmation messages about doctor bookings. “With other services, you often get a call back from the hospital or clinic saying that the doctor is not there. Patients may never pick up that call, because it usually appears as an ’unknown number’, which means patients will end up going to the appointment and become walk-in patients, delayed for durations also unknown, and that’s always a bad experience,” explains Benturquia.

Third for Patients is that earlier availability is instantaneous, clear and pain free. “Out of 100 clinics or hospital with whom patients made an appointment and later requested an earlier availability, only 1 out of 100 calls back. Not on Okadoc. When patients request an earlier availability, doctors with open slots are shown, as well as those willing to reschedule,” explained Benturquia.

And last for patients but best of all is that the Okadoc service is free! Only doctors or healthcare providers that subscribe to the service pay. 

2-What it offers health providers 

First for doctors and healthcare providers is that “When patients go to Okadoc and book an appointment online, the integrated Hospital Information System (HIS) means doctors receive a pop-up in real time in their calendars. If patients cancel, it goes out, and if they reschedule, it moves,” said Benturquia.

Second for doctors and healthcare providers is that more consultations and less headache will come their way. “Doctor-patients no shows in the US are 23% while in the UAE they reach 37% and in Saudi more than 40%. Booking on Okadoc means no shows are reduced by up to 75% to reach between 5-10%,” said Benturquia. 

Hospitals or clinics have a 30% no show record in general.

Assuming doctors get AED 500 per consultation and out 10, 4 are not coming, that’s a loss of income of AED 2000 compared to 1 not coming with Okadoc or AED 500 less. 

Third for doctors and general practitioners is that “50% of the calls they are receiving are availability for appointments and 30% are toxic calls, where patients inquire about which dates they should come in, or if parking is available, for example”, explained Benturquia.

 “On Okadoc this information is available immediately using tools like google maps, calendar timings, parking information and more. Everything is data-driven and clients see the value in this.”   

Last for doctors and healthcare providers is that “We are offering doctors a white-label solutions, in this case a widget that they can put on their website/portal and is customizable within the brand guidelines of the hospital or clinic, saying it is powered by Okadoc. So when patient visits websites of these clinics, they can still book online 24/7 using Okadoc.” 

ReadA giant killer that dwarfs the Coronavirus has just found its tormentor thanks to AI

The financial model  

Other booking  providers may charge a percentage of the consultation that doctors make. 

“We charge per subscription. We don’t want our doctors and healthcare providers to see us as a competitor. Others could charge from 20% up to 30% of the consultation, and it’s hard to part with these kinds of revenues. Our model allows doctors to continuously promote our service without fear of sharing revenues,” said Benturquia.

Okadoc offers various monthly subscription models with packages ranging from $50 up to $150 per doctor. 

“We want a wider net of doctors. 10 doctors at $100 is $1000 per month revenue for us, but it means unlimited patients, appointments, and reminders, among others for doctors and what’s happening is that doctors and healthcare providers are promoting Okadoc to be the platform that patients should use which reduces their operational costs like call center and receptionist costs. We are not into the business of generating leads like other doctor booking platforms. We help healthcare providers manage 100% of their appointments.” clarifies Benturquia.

Expansion

Between funding rounds, the company accelerated the launch of the UAE operation, built stronger scalable tech, raised market adoption, and learned market requirements. Indonesia has been the market where Okadoc learned to built tech, hiring teams reaching 50 people, where up to 30 are in Jakarta, and 20 in UAE. 

“The $10 million fund will the to the next level with more doctor signings but also to launch in Saudi, where we have been preparing for over 1 year. We plan to enter more GCC countries next year,” concluded Benturquia.