COVID-19 has shown us that current methods for delivering health services are not working in today’s environment, and there is a critical need to change the existing infrastructure to continue to fight every disease that causes suffering throughout the world. We are at an historical moment where we are being forced to create effective ways to connect, treat, and inform.
In the current environment, the actual system to deliver healthcare doesn’t support the needs for the number of patients, not only during a crisis, but also during “normal times.” In the US alone, 115 million people live in areas where shortages of mental health Professionals are a significant problem. Improving access to mental health service providers initially motivated us to build Boxitas. The current COVID-19 pandemic has put a glaring spotlight on the lack of resources we have in our home communities, as well as globally. We must find a solution by using technology tools to their full advantage and focus on innovative ways to build online accessibility to reach patients.
What it does
At Boxitas, we want to bring as many hands as possible to fight every disease. Our platform allows Healthcare Specialists to interact with their audience from any location. We do this by facilitating:
- Live streaming for health and wellness
- Scheduling 1-1 private sessions
- Immediate help using the first available specialist
A Health Specialist streams a message to a group of people in real time. The users can interact with the Specialist and other viewers via chat during the live session. When they desire more help and support, they can book free or affordable 1-1 sessions with the Specialist. If the current Specialist is fully booked, they can select a queue for the “First Available Specialist.”
Our healthcare streaming channels will be best utilized by:
- COVID-19 - Doctors, nurses, virologists, health strategists and others.
- Mental Health - Counselors, Coaches, Social Workers, Nurses and Professors from Special Schools.
- Open Source - Technical people creating 3d printed ventilators, valves, and any other solutions that can be used to fight diseases.
- Seniors - Tutorials and guidance for seniors about how to use technology and access resources.
How we built it
We used React.js, NextJs, Hooks and Styled Components for the front end. The platform is deployed over AWS with Amplify, Media Package and Media Live. We also work with Red5pro to create the 1-1 sessions. The team uses Flowmapp for the User Flow, the designer uses Zeplin, Adobe XD, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.
Challenges we ran into
Streaming is a very expensive service to develop since it requires infrastructure that charges per Gigabyte (GB) delivered. The most common way to monetize a platform is with advertising and we didn’t want to mix advertising with our health care platform. Mastering AWS and creating a sustainable business model required lot of time and different prototypes of the platform.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We created an idea similar to having an emergency doctor on call when you get to a hospital or urgent care. If you like your Specialist, then you can continue consultations with that Specialist by request by making an appointment. In our model, some sessions can be for free and some can be paid in a our price range, ensuring that the platform is affordable for everyone.
The actual telehealth industry has an old business model and old ways to communicate their services, that is the main reason why the online services didn't penetrate the market beyond small percentages, even though they are being heavily invested. We are proud of how affordable our business model is for everyone and how it can scale to every country.
What we learned
It takes collaboration from everyone to make a difference. We see the increased efforts needed in our current situation as we face COVID-19. This same level of commitment is necessary for facing other diseases like mental health in the US or malaria in Africa. We need a new global healthcare system with modern tools and new ways to communicate.
Fifty percent of healthcare services will be accessed virtually by 2030, but the biggest challenge remains on how to make them affordable and widely available to an ever increasing population. Facilitating a tip system is a model that will disrupt healthcare completely and will change the relationship between patients and healthcare professionals.
The world’s population is getting older and technologies are changing our daily lives faster than ever. Access to healthcare and technology will rely mainly on the ways we create to take care of older populations.
What's next for Boxitas
We are seeking capital investments to allow the team to work full time on Boxitas technology and infrastructure, to enable us to finish our live streaming platform, set up the 1-1 sessions, and the First Available Specialist queues.
Rather than selling advertising space to monetize the platform, we will be using the income from the Specialist sessions. For that reason, a percentage of the funds we receive will be used to onboard qualified medical specialists to get the process started. Additionally, funds will be used for marketing, advertising directed at specialists for hire and patients in need, as well as Human Resource services.
We are also trying to reach Amazon to ask for help in the form of discounts, credit, and support.
Most important, we want to bring every person fighting COVID-19 and other diseases to work together as one community. With the profit that we make in Boxitas we will dedicate an important part to give free sessions to the people that we identify with more needs. Health Care should be affordable for every person and free for the people that have the greatest needs.