Business & invest,
Medico revolutionising the health industry
Angela Pennisi | May 29, 2017
From waiting lists to waiting rooms, health care often involves waiting. With the arrival of Gold Coast-based startup Docto, these delays could be reduced to Internet loading times.
Dr Jon Field, Director of Intensive Care at Gold Coast University Hospital, is part of the team of medical professionals bringing specialist care online through Docto.
Field describes Docto as a parallel of a hospital environment, in which a patient is welcomed and then seen by an appropriate specialist, who is part of a collaborative team. The key difference is that this process can now occur online.
One group of users have come through travel insurance.
“Docto connects doctors to patients directly if they are unable to meet in person,” says Field.
This connection enables Australian travellers to gain a medical opinion from home, even while overseas.
Another group of users benefiting from the system are those living in rural and remote communities, providing them with the ability to connect with a specialist without travelling to a major city.
Through a program embedded in the patient’s browser, patients can speak with their doctor through online chat, voice call or video call. In certain cases, the doctor is then able to provide a prescription, which is faxed to the patient’s chosen chemist.
On the other end of the call, a patient could find one of a range of specialists, depending on his or her needs.
In addition to the obvious benefits of this connectivity, Field has observed an interesting side effect. He surmised that some patients might be more comfortable sharing personal details through the online chat facility, providing more detailed information to assist with their consultation.
Currently, Docto is accessible through organisational users. Since its establishment, Docto has serviced a range of organisational clients, such as Gold Coast Private Hospital and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Some calls are also referred through GPs based in regional areas.
Built only last year, Docto is connecting with about five patients per day. Field sees the opportunity for growth as Internet infrastructure improves.
“As people’s bandwidth gets better with the NBN, it gets easier,” he says.
As Docto’s range of specialists grows, Field and the Docto team are keenly focused on recruitment.
“We hand pick our doctors; they’re not just anybody,” says Field, adding that the key focus was on recruiting specialists who were customer-focused, affable, and experienced.
Already, the program has grown to include approximately 40 specialists whose services might otherwise be hard to access, including an orthopaedic surgeon, dermatologist, cardiologist and neurologist.
As Field reflected on the project, it was clear that he was proud of his team’s progress.
“We’re making doctors accessible like they’ve never been before.”
See Business Gold Coast for more.