When he was asked if he wanted to be a part of the newly minted doctor house-call application, Keegan Flynn had never even stepped foot in Malaysia.
But the investment banker at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch saw an opportunity he found hard to turn down -- so he didn't. Keegan packed his bags and left New York City for Kuala Lumpur, where he linked up with his former university-mate Garvy Beh, the founder of Doctor2U.
Since its launch in October 2015, the app - which brings an old practice into the 21st century - has seen steady growth in the hands of the University of Virginia alumni, and with the backing of the healthcare giant BP Healthcare, is seeing itself evolve into more than just a smartphone application that brings a doctor to you.
I caught up with the Chief Financial Officer to find out more about Doctor2U, what challenges it overcame, and its future. Here is Keegan Flynn, in his own words:
...on why he joined Doctor2U
I was always interested in working in this part of the world, and when Garvy offered this position it was hard to say no. It was a very small company with very big ideas and I was open to the opportunity and the challenge; it was exactly what I wanted.
...on Doctor2U at the time
It was launched purely as a doctor house-call app, so like Uber for doctors, and it was a small team of just 3 or 4 people, including Garvy, knocking on doors, getting doctors to sign up. But since, we’ve tripled in size to over eleven full-time employees and have added a lot more features to the app.
...on the reception from consumers
The biggest challenge was to educate the market and making consumers comfortable with using a mobile app to get healthcare services – especially in Malaysia, where the population is a little more conservative. There is high mobile penetration, but also a lot of distrust when it comes to e-commerce. So that’s something we needed to overcome, and with the support of BP Healthcare we’ve been able to do that – we’ve had over a hundred thousand downloads and are growing everyday; the feedback has been very positive.
...on the reception within the industry
A lot of doctors we came across initially were very traditional, and weren’t receptive of the concept. But over time, we realised that the ones who were most open to it were the younger doctors who were tech savvy and hungry.
The best part for them is that is just part-time work, where they are just accepting requests in their free time and making additional income; no sign-up fees, no subscription fees, and no obligation to accept requests. So, we’ve managed to build a core of doctors who are very active and responsive, within the thousand over doctors who have signed up with us.
...on how the app works
It starts with the doctors: all of ours are vetted by the BP Medical Council who make sure that they have all the valid credentials – Malaysian Medical Council and Annual Practicing Certificate licences as well as three years of experience.
When a request is made, there is a five-minute timer for a doctor to accept a request and if that expires, our support team then steps in, calls the patient, reaches out to our doctors and gets them one, who will then make the house call.
...on the newer features
We have since added newer features to the app. Users can now chat with our advisory panel of doctors directly via the app; they can text them with any medical related questions they may have. These features are free for all users. You could also send pictures to your doctor, maybe of a rash or a bruise, or in some cases, we’ve seen patients send their medical reports and ask the doctors for an explanation.
...on Doctor2U’s healthcare partnerships
We now also offer medication delivery, in partnership with Lovy Pharmacy, BP Healthcare’s retail chain of pharmacies. Basically, using our app, you can snap a picture of your prescription – as long as it’s legally valid – and upload it to our pharmacist’s portal.
If everything checks out the customer will get an email as well as a push notification with the pricing details, and if they agree with the pricing they can pay for the medication online. They can then either pick-up the medication at any BP or Lovy Pharmacy nationwide, or opt for a regular delivery or fast-track delivery – if the situation is more urgent.
...on future Doctor2U features
We just launched the video consultation feature, done entirely through the app. Through that, we also let the doctors issue electronic prescriptions that will then be sent to Lovy Pharmacy to deliver or pick-up at any of the community pharmacies.
In the next few months, we will be looking at moving into ambulance, nursing and physiotherapy as well – that are really a natural extension of what we already do.
The biggest thing for me, and the rest of our team is making sure we’re solving real problems every day. Working hard at this everyday is fulfilling, because every time we complete a transaction you know you’re helping an individual and also a family; so that’s really what we think about. I don’t have a medical background, but it’s very powerful and motivating to make a difference to an individual and a community.
...on the future of Doctor2U
Right now, we’re at the stage where we’re focused on expanding and getting as many people as we can to sign on, so that for the near future, that will still be the plan. But, we’re looking to expand into newer markets around the region very soon. Some features like the live chat already has users from other countries, so that’s something we’re looking forward to.
Stay on top of your health, by first disregarding these 10 untrue health myths.