SPECTRUM sits down with one member each month to share their business model with the rest of the community, speaking candidly of their journey as entrepreneurs in their respective fields. We caught up with Emmanuel Prado from Health2i and uncovered what the disruptive medtech platform has in store for the future:
Were you always focused on medtech or did you come from another discipline before starting the business?
I worked in investment banking and in other functions across the financial sphere for much of my career. That being said, the world of tech always intrigued me due to the potential that the sector had to offer. While working in corporate finance, I happened to meet a founder of a medical startup that was looking to exit the business. I was in an advantageous position – due to the line of work that I was in – and decided that it was a viable opportunity. I guess you can say that the rest was history…
Tell us a bit about Health2i and what the company does.
Incorporated in Singapore and entering the Indonesian market in 2010, the business can best be described by outlining its evolution through two main verticals. It started as an online forum for patients, allowing them to share their medical experiences and concerns. The forum was moderated by physicians and we soon realised that a significant portion of our users were looking for medical advice online. This soon developed into a mobile App that provides free medical advice through a live chat service with our very own pool of trained doctors on board.
The business has already been gaining steady traction with over two million consultations. We also entered the African market in 2014, with plans for expansion into other emerging markets in the near future.
We essentially leverage on our expertise to develop disease-specific services, adding to our offerings of medical advice and consultations.
What do you attribute Health2i’s success to thus far?
I attribute our success to 3 main reasons.
We were the first company to provide medical advice online in that part of the world. This afforded us with the precious first-mover advantage.
Secondly, there was a huge gap that was waiting to be filled. The demand was already there with patients living relatively far from any medical services, having to constantly battle traffic jams, very often only to satisfy the need for quick answers to basic medical questions.
Lastly, our adventure would not have been possible without the great work and support of our amazing team.
Has Health2i met with any resistance or roadblocks so far?
Innovation comes with uncertainty and often a bit of resistance, especially in very regulated and complex industries like healthcare. Also, digital health is a mix of healthcare and technology, a new space that has yet to be clearly regulated. It is sometimes a challenge, but it enables us to adopt a responsible approach and high standards, to explore new opportunities with tangibles clinical benefits.
A good number of doctors are apprehensive that technology will take their jobs or make more accurate diagnostics thanks to data. Advancements such as AI are better equipped to carry out testing on patients and GPs are likely to be bypassed and eventually disappear. Even surgery is seeing major developments through robotics. Patients are also sometimes unaware of the power behind such technologies, and reluctant to adopt such platforms.
The healthcare industry as a whole also needs to be educated thoroughly on the monetary benefits of our platform and this can be a challenge. We also need to ascertain if such a platform will generate revenue by charging for consultations or whether it should be data driven. E.g. using data trackers to predict illnesses before they occur for a determined fee.
What are the key trends that you see emerging in Medtech over the course of the next few years?
The future will be a lot about personalised care. The field is more and more recognising that medication is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Treatments will be tweaked to better-fit different genetic make-ups. With the development of AI/ML, automated diagnostics will also take centre-stage and take prominence.
Also, there will be exponential growth in the medical e-commerce arena. The future will also see more diagnostics carried out through the likes of teleconferencing leading to more home care.
What do you think of your experiences at SPECTRUM so far and how has the collaborative environment helped?
I really enjoy the networking opportunities over coffee at the Beacon and hope to have more of them through organised events. An example of this could be being connected with the large pool of blockchain members to create further collaborations in the future.
Because of the business I’m in, my discussions with Helen from C&R have been highly productive. We have a possible collaborative opportunity in the works, confident that we will be able to help companies that specialise in early illness detection to be adopted by healthcare institutions.
\And there we have it; our discussion with Emmanuel sheds light on the advancements in the medtech sphere and how the industry is being disrupted considerably. Watch this space for next months interview with another one of our members that advance our tech ecosystem at SPECTRUM.