Doctor on Call: The start-up on a big mission : The Standard
“Doctors are meant to save lives, but getting to one, especially with a long-standing sickness, can be very strenuous on the patient,” says Dr Brian Kimani.
In 2014, Brian broke his leg and had to make frequent trips to hospital for physiotherapy. The trips were terribly inconvenient, but he survived them.
Two years later, his grandmother, who was living with a lifestyle illness, had to regularly travel from Kiambu, where she lived, to seek medical attention in Nairobi. The trips took a lot out of Brian’s grandmother, who died late last year.
SEE ALSO :Medical student calls for help to raise fees
After she died, Brian resolved to work at making medical care accessible to people all over Kenya as conveniently as possible.
That led to the birth of his company, Doctor On Call, which locates the nearest doctor to a patient and offers a home consultation service.
Though Brian is based in Isiolo, the service is currently available in Nairobi and Mombasa. Brian speaks to Hustle about his ‘doctor delivery’ service.
How does Doctor on Call work?
It’s actually like any other delivery service.
SEE ALSO :Do more to enlighten public on use of original and generic medicines
A patient goes to our web platform, www.doc-ke.com, and requests a doctor; they can either ask for a home visit or an online diagnosis.
If they ask for a home visit, the application connects them to the nearest doctor. The patient makes a payment using their mobile phone – payment is up front and into an account.
How many doctors have you registered on the platform?
Currently, we have 150 doctors registered with us. When we started, we had 50, most of whom were friends or colleagues that I’d run the idea by.
The immediate challenge we had was that our system worked in a way that didn’t pay doctors up front or promise them a salary.
Essentially, they were working on a ‘commission’ base, paid per patient seen. Not all doctors understood this concept of an online doctor on call because it was very new in Kenya. The idea has become more palatable over time.
How do you ensure the doctors you have on your system are legitimate?
We do extensive vetting on all doctors who register with us. All legitimate doctors have a Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board registration number and licence. The details recorded are quite extensive, including where the doctor studied and interned.
We carry out our own investigation after that, seeking out their senior doctors and peers to give us references.
What’s the experience level of your doctors?
The age bracket ranges from 23 to 60. So we have new ones just starting out and the highly experienced ones as well. We’re steadily building our database.
Doctors are not charged to be on our platform and they only respond to calls that they are available for, so it’s extremely convenient for them.
Do your doctors respond to all types of calls, including emergencies?
Absolutely. We offer services from emergencies and long-term care for chronic illnesses where a patient needs consistent medical care, to ambulance services where patients need immediate evacuation to a hospital.
Our platform also has a medication reminder service for people on long-term drugs that alerts them by phone or personal visits when it’s time to take their medicine and when to restock.
How do you make your money?
We charge consultation fees and also get paid by pharmaceutical companies who would like us to prescribe their brands or promote new drugs in the market to patients.
Of course, we only prescribe medication with the patients’ best interests at heart. But say, for instance, a painkiller is in the market and a pharmaceutical company wants us to promote it, we would carry their brand over another brand that does the same thing.
Our consultation fees are Sh1,000 in low-peak times and Sh1,500 for peak times.
Typically, the cold season is a peak season because of communicable illnesses like flus and respiratory complications. Holiday seasons are also high seasons as people tend to travel a lot and with children at home, there are more instances of injuries.
How much money did it take you to build your website?
The total start-up came to approximately Sh250,000, which included building the website, marketing, doing a pilot study and other administrative costs.
Our first year attracted a turnover of Sh1.5 million. By the end of 2018, we’d turned over Sh2.2 million.
It was growth, but we can do much better once we completely settle. I anticipate that we will turnover Sh5 million by end of this year, especially once we have our mobile application going; we’re currently only operating the website.
What have been your biggest challenges?
I would say getting an adequate number of doctors on board. We’re still working on that. Right now in Nairobi, we have at least 15 doctors per every two-kilometre radius. In Mombasa, we have 25 doctors signed on.
Our other challenge has been responding to emergencies. We have had to temporarily disable the emergency line because we were overrun by calls, many of which were not true emergencies. We’re working on how to streamline that and should be up and running by the end of this month.
Another challenge facing emergencies is getting ambulances to respond to calls within the least time possible.
Right now, most ambulance companies will respond within 25 to 45 minutes, depending on distance and traffic. We need more ambulances in the country so that this call time reduces to 10 to 15 minutes. In an emergency, 45 minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
How have you coped in the past with long response times in emergencies?
We talk the caller through initial first aid. For instance, if a baby is choking, we instruct the caller on how to mitigate the situation before our doctor on call or emergency services get to them.
What’s your vision for Doctor On Call?
We want to scale up so that at least 80 per cent of the Kenyan population can get access to medical care through us.
I believe this will be possible, especially as we’re in talks on a potential investment of Sh2 million.
The capital injection and the expertise and networks an investor would bring to the table will definitely give us a much needed leg up.
What are some of the other services you offer?
We offer antenatal care at Sh5,000, psychotherapy at Sh1,000 per hour, home delivery at Sh10,000, vaccinations, nursing home care and several other tailor-made packages.
We understand that medical care can be expensive, we also understand that it’s a basic human need, and so we aim to bring the two together.
Twenty-Three Kenyan Entrepreneurs to represent the country in the upcoming Forty Under 40 Africa Awards 2023 : TechMoran
Latest Mobile App Development Trends To Dominate In 2023 : TechMoran
FORMER ARSENAL, REAL MADRID AND GERMANY MIDFIELDER OZIL RETIRES – GhettoRadio 89.5 FM
NSL: Shabana look to end first leg on a high
Ruto retains Ex-Solicitor General Ogeto to be Legal Advisor, Karisa Nzai Political Affairs Advisor » Capital News
HOUSES FLOODED IN WARUKU SLUMS AFTER HEAVY DOWNPOUR – GhettoRadio 89.5 FM
Firat: Kenya can qualify for 2030 World Cup
PEAKY BLINDERS’ CILLIAN MURPHY LANDS FIRST BAFTA NOMINATION – GhettoRadio 89.5 FM
Uber Announces Community Empowerment Initiative For Women Earners
Chelsea Wins First Leg Encounter With Lyon » Uzalendo News
The Standard – Breaking News, Kenya News, World News and Videos
Adola, Rotich set for Paris Marathon showdown
Coca-Cola joins other corporates during the Two day
In Kenya, men only marry women – Peresident Ruto – Kenya Satellite News Network
Patricia Njirwa: Open letter to Odinga, Karua and Musyoka
William Ruto’s headache in bid to woo foreign investors amid protests
KHALIGRAPH DESTROYS TID, NAZIZI SONG ‘WATASEMA’ – GhettoRadio 89.5 FM
PARENTS’ EXPERIENCES WITH AUTISM – GhettoRadio 89.5 FM
Gachagua Will Meet Raila at KICC, Discuss Way Forward – Malala – Nairobi Times
Parents Break Down While Struggling to Identify Pwani Accident Victims – Nairobi Times
General News2 days ago
At Least Eight Dead In India Temple Collapse » Uzalendo News
Entertainment6 days ago
Azimio must train supporters on peaceful demos
General News3 days ago
Salva Kiir appoints defence minister, breaches peace deal – Nairobi Times
General News6 days ago
Waiyaki Way, Other Nairobi Roads Barricaded by Police During Raila Protests [FULL LIST]
Tech4 days ago
UAE’s fintech Qlub raises $25 million to grow its operations : TechMoran
Entertainment4 days ago
MC Fullstop in the ICU following collapsed lung
Tech6 days ago
Paying for a blue badge on Twitter, are you game?
Sports4 days ago
Uganda edge Tanzania to revive 2023 Afcon hopes