Tag Archives: Online Health Service

Healthcare at the heart of the digital revolution

Nowadays, we are used to make appointments for the doctor, dentist or other healthcare specialists through the phone. We dial the number of the practice, we dial our way through a phone menu and in the end, after waiting in line for a couple of minutes, we reach the assistant who tells us when our desired specialist is available for an appointment. This appointment scheduling is a daily struggle for doctors and clients. There are 8 billion European doctor appointments booked annually and doctors spend 18 hours a week on average scheduling these appointments.

Doctolib is a French startup that aims to make this process more efficient. The SaaS (software as a service) doctor booking platform is a service that finds nearby health professionals at whom the client can book and track appointments online. Doctolib uses cloud computing and the internet to improve healthcare access for patients in France.

The startup consists of a community of over 17.000 specialists such as dermatologists, dentists, surgeons, gynecologists, urologists, ophthalmologists and allergists. Doctolib collaborates with 435 healthcare centers, such as hospitals, clinics and other establishments.
The service is able to help reduce booking costs of healthcare specialists up to 30% and simultaneously help decrease no-shows up top 75%. Furthermore, Doctolib puts specialists on the map and make them more visible to clients. Through this, specialists get around 20 new clients per month. For the Software, healthcare specialists pay a monthly fee of €99,-.

The main goal of Doctolib is to help healthcare specialists with their appointment scheduling with online reservations. Doctolib strives to deliver a seamless healthcare experience for healthcare specialists and patients.


That all sounds very impressive, but there are several players on the market that offer online reservation systems. The main advantage of Doctolib over its competition is that it uses cloud computing. Doctolib tries to offer an innovative, integrated experience through the cloud, to give doctors a clearer, up to date overview of their schedule. This requires large amounts of human effort and the dedicated employees of Doctolib get this done. That is why Doctolib has a competitive advantage, higher customer satisfaction and a market share of 80%. 

Efficiency criteria
Doctolib can be seen as efficient business model since patients are better off, doctors are better off and there are no other firms on the market that offer similar integrated solutions. Doctolib creates value for clients and doctors, if more participants of both groups use the software, both parties maximize their profitability. 

The software is now only available for doctors in France, but Doctolib is currently working on an expansion towards Germany. The long-term purpose for Doctolib is to take over the entire European market.

All things considered, Doctolib has a bright and promising future. I am very curious what Doctolib will bring to the healthcare industry and if the Netherlands will soon be conquered by this tech startup.


Tsekouras, D. (2016), Lecture 1: Introduction to value co-creation, Rotterdam School of Management.


Doctolib Grabs $20 Million For Its Booking Platform For Doctors


Grail Beats Cancer with DNA Tests

What is it?

One of today’s most promising products might just be around the corner.. Our suffering and long battle with number one’s killing disease might finally come to an end. Jeff Huber, Grail’s CEO, lost his own wife to cancer and was determined to spin out a company that promised to detect and ultimately provide the tools to beat cancer before it could spread throughout a person’s body. With a background in massive data businesses at Google, including Google Ads, Apps, and Maps. At Grail, Huber moved from mapping the world to mapping genomes. Grail is developing blood tests that can detect many types of cancer before symptoms arise. Expectations that cancer blood tests will quickly turn into a multibillion-dollar industry has attracted growing interest from investors. Grail has raised more than $100 million from Illumina, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos’s venture fund, Bezos Expeditions, and Arch Venture Partners.

How does it work?

The testing concept is to use high-speed DNA sequencing machines to cleanse a person’s blood for fragments of DNA released by cancer cells. If DNA with cancer-causing mutations is present, it often indicates a tumor is already forming, even if it’s too small to cause symptoms or be seen on an imaging machine. A DNA test able to pick up many kinds of cancer could be revolutionary because tumors caught early can often be cured with surgery or radiation.

Sounds promising, but is this all not too good to be true?

Any developer of a screening test for cancer faces challenging obstacles. How often will the test find cancer, and how often will it give a wrong result? Is it truly reliable? What’s more, even tests that do discover cancer early can turn into medical disasters if patients end up getting aggressive and costly treatment for cancers that won’t kill them. As Huber states: “If you look at this business, it’s littered with failures. With a few exceptions, screening tests have been invariably horrible,”. To prove early detection is possible, Grail will spend millions on organizing clinical trials involving as many as 30,000 people. It will test all of them and then see if the tests are able to catch cancer earlier than established methods. Grail is the only company currently able to implement sequencing technology at a cost that’s low enough to carry out such studies and bring an inexpensive test to market. Grail has a price advantage because it is a spin-off of Illumina, a company that makes and sells more than about $2 billion worth of DNA sequencing instruments, chemicals, and test kits annually to university scientists and other labs.

A bright future ahead?

Eventually, the DNA tests will be available in every hospital in the US and every person should be allowed to take it at a price of 600 dollar. Timing matters, and the intersection of genome sequencing and the computation that is possible now, with new technologies like machine learning, it feels like we are at the right time to make this happen. If Grail succeeds, in the future, get a cancer diagnosis to being about as eventful as having the flu, that would be a good outcome.





Is it normal that my >insert body part here< hurts?

Sharing your symptoms with PatientsLikeMe

Have you ever been sick and googled your symptoms? There’s a good chance the Internet told you you might have something way worse than your doctor told you, or that your little headache means you might have a brain tumor…  Or have you ever been sick but experienced there was no one close by to talk to and ask what symptoms are normal or what you could expect?

Continue reading Is it normal that my >insert body part here< hurts?

Beginning era of Online Health Service

There are so many business idea opportunities out there, but none of them is more challenging than online health consulting service. Health is a not just a matter of preference, everyone cares about it. For that reason, people are very selective and careful in selecting type of health services they can get. On the other hand, medical professionals are also in need of better tool to increase their capacity in delivering health services to more people, especially health consultancy.

In 2013, there were around 15000 medical apps (David Lee Scher MD, 2013) but only few of them were successful. Apple created a healthcare app called iDR 24/7 with the purpose of providing health consulting service at any time, however consulting with professional doctor (in USA) charges user some amount of money. Other examples are HealthTap and iTriage that are available in iOS and Android. Both of them allow you to reach high number of professional doctors and yet provide other advanced features such as daily health tips, smart symptom diagnosis, or even searching for nearest hospital. Likewise iDR 24/7, there is small fee for a doctor’s advice. Last example of famous health-related app is Urgent Care (Android and iOS) which is focused on delivering health services from professional medicals at any emergency moment.

The next question is: why so many health apps fail? In providing health advice and consultancy, good enough is never enough, patients always demand the best possible service when it comes to their health, whereas doctor only wants a tool that helps them simplifying all the health service delivery process such as prescribing medicine, setting up new arrangements and archiving the records of the patient. Beautiful design and sophisticated feature are merely additional as long as the basic functionality works. Thus, involving medical experts in the platform development itself is very important.

In the era of internet, people have access to medical information on internet even without seeing the professionals (doctors). However, for more complex situation, they still need assistance from the experts and thus the implementation of online health consultancy service will help. Not only doctors can provide more timely assistance, they can also reach people who cannot afford medical cost, especially for consultancy. Ball and Lillis (2000) predicted E-health services may educate normal people with basic medical information (general information, disease management, and clinical decision support), support the communication between doctors and patient, and increase administrative efficiency (e.g reduced paper used for medicine prescription, form, charts, etc).

In conclusion, doctors and patients are the main customers of this digital platform. Doctors benefit from the increased capacity in delivering consultancy services whereas customers will have more access to health advice service easily in timely manner. Through collaboration with medical professionals, developers (for website or mobile app) should be able to create a platform in which interaction between physicians and patients can be supported flexibly in lower cost. As health is particular concern of everybody, the advancement of internet technology will drive high demand for online health service in the next 5-10 years.

Ball, M. J., & Lillis, J. (2001). E-health: transforming the physician/patient relationship. International journal of medical informatics, 61(1), 1-10.

Belle, Mika (2013). No waiting rooms, no copay: 6 apps to get a doctor’s advice. Retrieved from: http://www.techhive.com/article/2038659/no-waiting-rooms-no-copay-6-apps-to-get-a-doctors-advice.html

David Lee Scheer, MD (2013). 5 Reasons why mobile health apps fail. Retrieved from : http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2013/02/5-reasons-mobile-health-apps-fail.html