The state of healthcare in Pakistan is woefully inadequate and dysfunctional to say the least. Our governments don’t consider the provision of healthcare a priority, with the official machinery spending a mere 0.42% of GDP on the medical sector in 2015.
Where the government has failed in setting up affordable and state-of-the-art hospitals, and where the private sector has made healthcare prohibitively expensive, Pakistanis don’t have much in the way of options to seek medical care.
This is where TalkHealth steps in. It aims to improve access for Pakistani patients who seek better knowledge and healthcare facilities so that they can make better decisions when it comes to their own health.
Here’s how it works.
TalkHealth – A Service that Connects Medical Professionals with Patients
TalkHealth is a startup from Founders Institute. Founders Sarfraz Arshad and Mati Ullah are both engineering graduates from National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (NUCES). Sarfraz is the all-round marketing guy and business maven, while Mati Ullah is the one responsible for the technical side of things.
They believed that Pakistani society distrusts the way medical care is been offered at most government and private hospitals. They wanted to develop a platform that cuts out the middleman, connecting only the professionals and patients in a way that works for both of them.
Doctors can use the platform provided by TalkHealth to reach out to more patients with the help of mobile technology. They can list down their core competencies online, making it easier for patients to find the right medical professionals within seconds. Even clinics and hospitals can be part of the platform.
In Pakistan, many patients don’t get access to quality medical care, due to prohibitive costs and hospital fees involved. Most patients end up feeling powerless and frustrated when it comes to what options are available to them, and have no idea on how to find an affordable doctor or health facility.
Many of the minor illnesses can be resolved without patients getting inconvenienced and paying a visit to the hospital. Furthermore, TalkHealth also offers more incentive to patients who can get discounts at hospitals and clinics that are part of the online mobile platform. Most consultative sessions are even offered at no additional cost.
Patients can also leave reviews and feedback about their experiences, as a way of keeping the TalkHealth platform safe from the likes of quacks and con-men.
By creating collaborative healthcare communities for all stakeholders, TalkHealth cuts down on costs associated with the provision of healthcare.
The basic idea behind the TIC (NUST)-incubated startup is that Pakistani patients get more options for availing medical facilities in a manner they are comfortable with – via their smartphones and the internet.
Pakistan Faces a Healthcare Emergency
Research shows that self-medication causes a death every 19 minutes. Even when the patients decide to visit a doctor they don’t know who is the right doctor for their medical condition.
As a result of this frustration towards healthcare, people avoid their visits to the doctor; they either ignore the issue completely until its too late or opt for self-medication, which is dangerous to say the least.
Using TalkHealth, a patient can ask questions from doctors, search for doctors and medical facilities, add reviews and ratings for doctors and medical facilities and book instant appointments, all without leaving their doorsteps.
This not only provides doctors a platform to market themselves but also empowers the patients to voice their concerns about a certain doctor or medical facility. Using this valuable feedback of patients, hospitals, clinics and doctors will get to know what users are looking for and will be able to improve their services.
It has been 4 months since the launch of TalkHealth and to date, they have already signed up about 45 hospitals and clinics in Rawalpindi and Islamabad for their platform. The hospitals include Ali Medical Center, Maroof International Hospital, Nusrat Hospital, Hope Hospital, Ali Hospital, Health Care Hospital and many more. The service is also offering discounts on appointments at some hospitals in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Though its not the only service of its kind, as many other Pakistani healthcare startups offer similar services, TalkHealth’s entry in the market is going to bring in more competition and help raise the bar for others. After all, convenience is the name of the game when it comes to service delivery.
You can check out the service at www.talkhealth.me and book an appointment with your preferred hospital or doctor today.
You can also try out their Android app here.