For medical institutions, who can’t consult their patients due to COVID-19 related problems. Our product is telemedicine and a booking solution, That provides access to appointments and online consultations. Unlike custom websites and generic tools (Skype, Zoom) Our solution offers instantly available, healthcare-oriented, and automated ways of consulting patients.
What is Medical Tourism?
Have you ever traveled to a nearby city to visit a hospital, have you visited a clinic when you were traveling or planned a trip abroad for a medical procedure? Welcome to the club, fellow medical tourists.
Many countries have weak healthcare systems that cannot deliver complex care for treatments such as diagnostics, oncology, fertility, chronic disease treatment, geriatrics, musculoskeletal disease, etc. As a result, people from many countries have been forced to travel abroad to access the healthcare they needed. More than 21 million people travel abroad yearly to seek healthcare treatments.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic - most of the borders are shut and patients have to seek treatments within their borders. Adding to the problem - access to hospitals has been limited drastically, as many medical institutions have closed, either partially or fully.
Due to the fact that the virus is contagious, patient’s trips to the hospitals expose them to infection risks - many patients try not to go to the hospital unless it is an emergency.
This results in many patients having unsatisfied needs of medical treatment or consultations.
Healthcare and Medical Tourism Issues
As a result of COVID-19 pandemic, medical tourism, and healthcare in general, have several problems:
- Hospitals that take and treat COVID-19 infected patients are overwhelmed with the inflow of patients;
- All clinics and hospitals - are in a high risk of infection and can be a source of spread of the virus if not identified and stopped in time;
- Many clinics have been closed or reduced their activity due to the pandemic related problems (various reasons);
- Many clinics and hospitals did not implement the telemedicine technology and staff training in time and are restrained to do so in the pandemic conditions.
We are MedicalTourism.Review - a platform that allows patients who don’t have access to complex or integrative healthcare to find treatments, and to reach out to medical institutions. We also help patients to identify the quality of the clinic or hospital - through their registrations, qualifications, accreditations, and reviews from other patients.
In the context of this hackathon and current COVID-19 pandemic - we want to implement a set of extra-functionality that will help both: medical providers and patients - a set of communication tools. These tools will help patients and medical institutions to have better ways to interact and schedule appointments. Tools proposed to be implemented are:
- Appointment system - allow patients to schedule a telemedicine (or real-life) appointment in the clinic / hospital;
- Live-chat - allow patients to talk to clinics directly, and for clinics to handle patient requests. It also allows them to talk to other clinics if they want or need (knowledge exchange, patient forwarding).
- Telemedicine - the video / audio server and customized front-end application for consultation sessions.
Implementation and Tech
The appointment system will live as a Drupal custom module (because the main platform is built on Drupal). It has to be flexible enough, so we can customize it as we develop it and as we get feedback from the medical representatives. Also, it has to be aware of custom account / listing settings that the providers will set.
We want to use Rocket.chat (similar to Slack) open-source chat, that will allow us to extend it and adjust / adopt it to our needs. We have installed and tested Rocket.chat, which is built on top of Meteor.js and we believe it’s a good candidate for our needs. Advantages:
- Rocket.chat comes with a built-in front-end App that allows Live-chat conversations to happen;
- provides end-to-end encryption - which is important for the medical text-based conversations;
- integration with Audio / Video systems for calls - such as Jitsi - we plan to customize this part and extend it, so we can use our own customized Jitsi server.
- allows to forward conversations, allows #channels as conversation hubs for clinics and hospitals - for knowledge exchange, similarly to how we use these in #EUvsVirus;
- canned Messages - this is not a part of their Community Edition, so we’ll have to implement our own version of this.
From our analysis, Rocket.chat seems to be the perfect tool for our case - it’s modern (Meteor.js + React for web client), flexible and allows for fast prototyping. There’s also an iOS and Android (and electron) native client apps - all open-source - this will be very useful for us to extend our functionality and offer clinic and hospital representatives proper Apps for patient-handling.
What we have done during the weekend
Research (questions and answers)
When we started this project we had many questions (over 40) - which we had to answer to know what to do. These questions lead us to multiple research adventures.
So far we have researched:
Telemedicine marketplace; appointments; integrations; open-source frameworks and tools; patient issues research, healthcare and medical tourism issues, forecast research, business analysis of monetization, growth, and market penetration.
We took the output of the Research and Feedback - and created 2 UX / UI user-flows for patients and for medical representatives. The user-flows cover all the proposed functionalities.
- Searching for a clinic / hospital in a domestic medical-tourism setting;
- Requesting an appointment and filling-in the necessary form;
- Requesting an application through live-chat;
- Receiving email and participating in the telemedicine call.
- Receiving the request through live-chat;
- Receiving the request through email;
- Completing the appointment form;
- Receiving the confirmation and participating in the telemedicine call.
Communication & Feedback
We have been gathering feedback from patients, medical professionals, experts, and mentors about different perspectives of the project to help us design and implement the best solution.
Topics we discussed and tested: patients experience; medical institutions' integration to the system; design and user experience; healthcare assessment in general; business implementation & monetization; Implementation roadmap and more.
We have had amazing feedback thanks to the #EUvsVirus hackathon, we could reach many key people to help us brainstorm, test, plan and develop the project. It would be 100 times more work to reach so many people on our own!
The solution’s impact on the crisis
To figure out the impact on the crisis we need first to see what is the current outreach of our platform - MedicalTourism.Review. We list over 4000 clinics from over 100 countries and the submission and management of the listings are free for medical institutions, this way they have access to free tools for the outreach of patients online.
We have over 200 representatives active on our platform, most represented countries are: US, Spain (452), Turkey (192), Israel, China, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Ukraine (37), India (385), Hungary (81), UAE, Romania (54), Costa Rica, Vietnam, Greece (102), etc.
By rolling out the proposed tools we will offer clinics and hospitals that either closed or are considering closing their activity - an option to continue their work via digital means. For others, these tools will be useful in planning future treatment trips (some treatment trips take 3-6 months of careful planning) - so when the borders are re-opened, they can resume immediately the work. It will help clinics on both domestic and international levels.
For patients, it offers treatments and consultations via digital means - so they don’t expose themselves to COVID-19 contamination risks.
We have decided to implement and release the appointment request functionality as soon as possible (during the next 2 weeks) which will be free to use for patients and medical institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
The necessities in order to continue the project
We need funding for development, maintenance of the startups also to support and expand our team. Also, these new solutions will require even more investment into development, maintenance, and we’ll also need funding for the outreach and media campaign, training, and translations.
We are looking for mentors to help us develop the project further outside the hackathon, and the help we need is - medical domain mentors, medical insurance, business development, public relations and marketing, investment.
Partners (Medical & Insurance)
We are looking to partner with healthcare organizations, medical insurance companies - which will speed up the integration of our solutions to clinics and hospitals and will simplify their processes in dealing with patients.
The value of our solution after the crisis
After the crisis, we plan to continue to innovate and develop digital tools for healthcare providers and for patients, facilitate communication and fill in the gaps and deficit of the healthcare systems, locally and globally.
The simplified version of these solutions will be accessible to any clinic or hospital for free, as many of our current tools.
An advanced version of these solutions will be a part of the Premium Subscription package - a paid subscription for Premium clinics and hospitals.
Medical Institutions have access to a free base account. But they can purchase extra digital tools and solutions, which include: statistics, dashboards, promotions, integrations, and telemedicine tools.
We already have a version of premium solutions that medical institutions are purchasing; and we plan to extend it.
- Premium Memberships for Clinics / Hospitals for the base set of tools: starting from 50 - 100€ / Month (due to COVID-19 - we have lowered the prices)
- In Platform Ads.
- Affiliation Programs.
- Contextual Advertising: traveling, accommodations, legal services, insurance, etc.
- Integration packages, API, automatization, and online tools for bigger volume Medical Institutions.
- Development deals for system automatization and integrations for Chains, Health Insurances, and Healthcare Facilitators.
Who we are
We are qualified and experienced in IT, startups, and community support.
Nicoleta Nagailic - CEO at MedicalTourism.Review - traveled in over 35 countries, managed movie and animation projects, co-organized open source community events, training, schools, and projects. Have web development experience in Wordpress and Drupal.
Sergiu Nagailic - CTO at MedicalTourism.Review, Developer at WebProphets (Australia), president of Drupal Moldova Association. Has over 10 years of experience in web development, mainly working with Drupal. Worked at FFW (US), Adyax (FR), Development Gateway (US), and now with Web Prophets (AU) - on many international projects. Open-source advocate: organized multiple open-source conferences and events.
Irina Grisca - Research and Content Management at Medical Tourism.Review. Is closely working with the startup community, organizing events and projects to raise investments and help develop the IT industry.
Anya Abchiche - Communication Manager at MedicalTourism.Review, holding an engineering degree, and open-source advocate, with 5 years' practical experience in IT project management, both in the startup industry and non-profit sector. She has been involved in the biggest Youth Movement Organization - AIESEC - and is working closely with the World Economic Forum (WEF) through the Global Shapers Community.
Best friends at work!
Through years of collaboration and working together on many projects - we know how to work effectively, and we are united by common values and goals.
We are lean, focused, highly productive, and goal-oriented, delivering projects for communities locally and globally. We are driven to positively impact people's lives in the IT, Startup, and Healthcare sectors.