The problem on the surface
Many developing country hospitals lack the functional medical equipment they require to: diagnose, monitor, treat and rehabilitate patients and protect themselves. Local authorities are overwhelmed or caught unprepared and the hospitals need more structured support to overcome the day to day challenges.
The actual problem
Several NGO’s, private companies and citizens concerned with the above situation started donating. What looked like a simple donation process it turned out to be more complicated:
- Direct donations in cash do not help hospitals much, especially under crisis situations, as medical acquisitions need to pass through the public acquisition system that has payment terms that can prolong the acquisition process up to 60 days.
- Moreover, medical equipment suppliers requested advance payments of up to 50% of the total value of the invoice.
- Lacking a detailed and updated list of equipment necessities, Hospital representatives were overwhelmed via phone calls by different NGOs and potential donors
- Time inefficiencies were signalled as the same request coming from different donors overwhelmed contact points of the healthcare buildings
- Some hospitals (in front line) received more than necessary while other local hospitals or public medical doctors have been confronted with serious lack of medical equipment
- Hospitals have their lists of preferred suppliers but they ran out of stock quickly. Meanwhile, new suppliers appeared on the market: eg. fashion companies started producing masks and kombinezons; local companies started making visors. All of these new suppliers were unknown before.
- If a donor intended to buy medical supplies (masks, viziers, kombinezons) from the market, in order to donate them to hospitals, it either did not know the suppliers or was faced with possible scammers selling fake products
- Some hospitals, have stock excess of medical equipment while other public hospitals were struggling with huge deficits
- Donors did not have any certainty that their donation is well placed and it is not used for different purposes than their intention
Just imagine the difficulties a doctor faces these days, when in lack of enough ventilators, he has to take the ultimate decision on who lives or who dies, when in lack of the essential protective equipment he is directly risking his life. The act of medical care without even the most basic medical equipment is seriously endangered.
Coronavirus has caught an entire world unprepared and the developing countries had most to lose. In Romania’, we missed a: fast, integrated, transparent, end-to-end platform that would bring together: the hospitals’ needs; the suppliers of medical equipment and the donors. Donations in themselves proved to be a cumbersome process due to bureaucratic procedures and many of the donors might have felt discouraged to act as such.
What it does
Starting from the obstacles we, ourselves, have met during Coronavirus crisis, when trying to help hospitals from our community with donations, and after discussions and surveys with: hospitals, medical suppliers and other NGOs, to hear about their concerns, we are in the process of developing a hybrid end-to-end marketplace/crowdfunding solution. The developed solution has the intention to smooth the donation process, make it fully transparent and facilitate the matchmaking of hospital equipment needs to the suppliers, all in a user friendly way.
Advantages for the parties involved that uniquely recommends our platform:
Hospitals and Healthcare units
Delivery time reduction | Reduce delivery time that is currently delayed by the bureaucratic process and unblocking the process of financing through donations.
Hybrid factoring | In this cycle, donors’ payments can play the role of a short term credit and speed up the supply chain. Hospitals will benefit in no time of the much needed medical supplies.
Empowerment | The donor will be presented with a centralised, updated list of necessities from hospitals he can choose from and we will use local providers in order to help rebuilding economy
Transparency | Transparent donation process with track your donation feature (donation roadmap track)
Efficiency | Smooth donation process with no more time spent in finding out the hospital needs; in comparing offers of different medical suppliers, in the acquisition process or medical equipment (order, contracting, transportation of medical equipment) or in the bureaucratic papers needed. We take care of everything, including checking and choosing the best medical supply offers from a list of competitive suppliers based on price and delivery terms.
Perks | We further aim to identify perks for donors such as webinars held by local doctors, etc.
Medical equipment suppliers
Marketing | Veteran suppliers and especially emerging ones will have the option to expand their sales. Moreover, we aim to offer suppliers Study Case marketing options for their equipment.
Donescu encourages equitable spread of donations, by highlighting through graphs and maps where donations are needed the most.
What we have done during the weekend
Amongst several brainstorming sessions, mentoring, laughing semi-marathons and work sprints some of the key aspects we managed to finish are the following:
- Problem definition and breakdown
- Idea validation - questionnaires posted on healthcare facebook groups, phone calls with all stakeholders and centralisation of information
- Market segments - size and lists of contacts for hospitals, ngo’s, suppliers
- Swot analysis - including identification of prospective EU funds for social entrepreneurship
- Architecture of the platform
- Defined go-to-market
- Competitors analysis - in depth analysis of 3 main competitors
- Business model canvas
- Textual pitch
- Video pitch
- Mockup - Alpha MVP with core functionalities
The solution’s impact to the crisis
Many societal stakeholders like communities, governments, private companies and NGOs, noticed that they have valuable resources to contribute to an effective, equitable and sustainable response to the crisis. But there is a lack of coordination and innovation capacity among existing healthcare system units, donors and suppliers. In this light. The solution brings a positive impact in the following areas: healthcare equipment coverage, doctors safety in the fight of covid, fair market prices and local economy sustainability.
The necessities in order to continue the project
For building a Beta MVP we have inside the team the necessary expertise, we would need however an extended validation which would require support from hospitals, ngo's and medical equipment suppliers.
As the focus is the great, on the long term sustainability of the platform we need non-profit monetisation experts.
Moreover, as we launch the solution on the market with our team of experienced members ranging from healthcare specialists, devs and business representatives we need a kick start form of financing ensure long term sustainability.
The value of your solution(s) after the crisis
From the first moment we knew that we need to focus on a solution that will be scalable and sustainable over the long run. In this respect, we will concentrate first place on emerging European countries, and later on focus on other markets.
Many public hospitals are under-financed and a report of the WHO (World Health Organisation) shows that the capital expenditure in public hospitals in Romania was close to 0% of PIB while the current healthcare expenses were as low as 4% of GDP. The situation is similar in the less developed countries in the EU. Ensuring a smooth donation system, having as a main concern the public health system, will be of main concern especially in the next time horizon. The Coronavirus crisis is estimated to bring about a redistribution of the world's total wealth, leading to social inequalities which will raise a wave of populism. Moreover, the economic crisis that is expected to come along with the Coronavirus crisis, will tighten even more the public government spending for the healthcare system. Our medical system needs us! And we want to make sure we are supporting it by building around us a community of responsible, empathic players dedicated to helping and making thrive in our public healthcare system. Even though we are facing a 3 folded client perspective, our business model will be a donor centric hybrid end-to-end marketplace - crowdfunding solution, registered as an NGO.
We intend to implement a rewards system to our dedicated donors in order to facilitate donation subscriptions. The rewards system will take the form of a voucher system that issues in the name of the hospitals benefiting from the donations. Vouchers might include: free hospital consultations, medical webinars, etc.
After the crisis we intend to crowd-found various initiatives in order to support our stakeholders
Another revenue stream will be made up of transaction fees, sales commissions negotiated with suppliers will be especially perceived from suppliers of medical equipment. Suppliers will benefit as well from marketing tools in forms of study cases on the performance of their equipment.