Today we sit for an exclusive interview with Dr.Zubair, the CEO of Click Drs which recently held its launch on 29th October 2020. Click Drs is a platform aiming to bring the future of health-tech to Pakistan. A platform that lets you connect with a certified doctor from the UK with ease or a General Practitioner (GP) instantly and presently free of cost, it is set to change the telemedicine game in Pakistan. Time is money as they say and seeing a doctor for minor issues while sitting at home will not only save time but also transportation and visiting costs.
So tell us about your journey? You’re from Pakistan? How did you go to the UK?
I am primarily from the UK. I was born and raised there and did all my academics there but I have always been in touch with Pakistan due to my family roots and I have been visiting Pakistan since I was a kid.
Is this initiative already running in the UK before you are launching in Pakistan?
Click Drs has been founded by a team of UK NHS doctors including myself and my partners Dr Junaid Malik and Dr Nadia Malik. We started in the UK but in a very different format. It is present in the UK as software that clinics and hospitals can use for their patients. For Pakistan, it is completely different from the UK in terms of how we are using it.
What is the size of your team right now in Pakistan?
In Pakistan alone, we have started with a team of about 8 people currently working here and rapidly expanding.
So you started the operations in the pandemic I presume given that you’re a telemedicine startup?
Actually, we’ve only started our operations here very recently, in the past two months or so but technically in the midst of the pandemic.
What is the process through which you select the doctors and specialists that want to get registered on your platform?
It is pretty simple actually. We would add you to the platform from the administration side. You would appear on the app under your specialty. If you are a cardiologist for example, and someone needs a cardiologist, he would look under the cardiology list and they would see your name and profile on that list. You will be able to choose your schedule i.e. the days and timings you are available in and you can manage that from the dashboard provided to you. Once registered, all you have to do is log in, and you know what your timings are, you’ll see your booked appointments and you make the call on the specified time.
You are offering free services during the pandemic?
The services we are offering free at the moment is the instant doctor that allows you access to a General Practitioner (GP) almost instantly. The specialists are being added at the moment but a fee will be charged for them once they are available.
What sort of payment methods are you looking to add to the platform then?
The standard Credit card or Debit card options will be available. We are also in talks with JazzCash at the moment to add them to our platform as well.
What is the fee that Click Drs will be charging from the overall fee charged to a customer once the paid services start?
At the moment, we are not working on profit at all. When we bring the specialists on the platform, we will only be charging the doctors fees and we will not be taking any sort of commission. Eventually, we may add a commission rate to breakeven with our expenses but at the moment we are not charging anything ourselves.
How soon do you think the paid services will be available i.e. the specialists?
We believe we should have several processes complete in the next 4-6 weeks allowing us to bring paid consultants to the platform but the instant doctor service will still run free for now.
Are you looking for funding in any form?
Yes, funding is something that we will consider. We are already in talks with some investors and that is something that we are pursuing.
So what will be the financial model once the paid services launch?
Once the paid services launch, we will have a per-month subscription model but we can’t give a clear estimate of how much the cost will be at this moment in time.
In your opinion as a doctor, how effective do you think telemedicine can be in terms of diagnosing symptoms through chat/video calls, etc. so that the customers, as well as the doctors, are satisfied at the end?
Telemedicine deals well with acute medical problems generally of a minor nature such as common infections like urine infections, throat infections, coughs, colds, skin problems, eye infections, etc. There is a broad list of such conditions that can simply be managed through telemedicine. Obviously, certain conditions are not suitable for telemedicine like acute abdominal pain since someone needs to examine that patient or someone with chest pain. So the doctors are trained on what their limitations are, what they can manage, what they need to refer to hospitals or specialists.
So a laptop is necessary for a doctor to use the platform?
Yes, the doctor needs a laptop as he needs a bigger interface because they need to see medical records, they need to see the patient, they need to have a chat window so they need a bigger interface to manage all that.
If I want to see a doctor right now(instant doctor), how soon would I be able to get a doctor on call?
Ideally, you should get a callback within 30 minutes or so. That is the aim for us but as the demand increases, we will add more doctors to the platform. Ideally, It shouldn’t be a problem for us to maintain that number.
So are the doctors on the platform primarily Pakistanis?
Yes, they will have to be owing to language barriers. We need them to have at least some level of Urdu knowledge. They may have graduated from the UK but will be actively practicing in the UK and they will be able to use the platform(for seeing a UK doctor only).
How will you review how an appointment went?
So we will keep a record of every appointment that will be available to the doctors and patients as well. Patients also have an option to review the doctors they have consulted with as reviews are very important for us. We will also be liaising with patients randomly to know of their experiences with both the doctors and the process of our platform.
What happens if a doctor does not show up for an appointment or vice versa?
Since everything gets logged, we will be able to see if a doctor doesn’t show up for his appointment or a patient. If they are both on time or not? In short, we have the system in place to review all of this and maintain a good standard of service.
What happens if the consultation isn’t conclusive due to issues like internet problems etc.?
There will be limitations as it is with everything, in such cases the patients will be able to rebook their appointment for free. The patients can also call us and let us know if they are not satisfied with something. Doctors will also have the number of the patient and they can switch to audio call immediately if it is clinically necessary to continue.
Lastly, any advice for entrepreneurs in general or people aiming to build health-tech startups like yourself?
I would say, go for it. There are a lot of limitations especially in Pakistan, a lot of potential challenges, but in the end, that is still not a reason not to do it. Look at others for inspiration, you may not necessarily be competing with them. Don’t ever give up! If you have an idea and you feel it is the right one, check the feasibility and look at your market and then just go for it.