Access, Affordability, and Awareness Guaranteed -CURA4U
As a visionary and a strategic leader, Dr. Waqas Ahmed (a Nephrologist based in Jacksonville, Florida) takes his mission very seriously. Paving a way for a patient-focused connected care, Dr. Ahmed focuses on improving the lives of millions of patients. Combining his healthcare expertise and passion for immersive technology, he along with his co-founders, founded American TelePhysicians Group of Companies (ATP), a digital healthcare organization led by physicians, to help both patients and healthcare providers. “In a highly fragmented and regulated industry like healthcare, high cost, lack of price transparency, poor patient access as well as education and ineffective integration of healthcare services are some of the major challenges that exist,” points out Dr. Ahmed. ATP utilizes technology to focus on integration of healthcare services to address their key issues, which are Access, Affordability and Awareness (the 3As).
The Inspiration :Inspired from being involved in his parents’ care (in Pakistan), Dr. Ahmed says, “I envisioned a marketplace platform to schedule healthcare services for our loved ones remotely as well as get second opinion services from expert physicians in America.” In 2016, Dr. Ahmed along with his co-founders established their own IT team in Pakistan. “We gathered a team of friends, including dedicated and hardworking US based physicians, IT and business professionals who not only developed the revolutionary IT platforms but built a network of over 20 healthcare services to launch SHIFA4U project—a one-stop healthcare platform to consolidate all healthcare services on singular digital portal—in Pakistan in Nov 2017.” Since then, SHIFA4U has expanded its expanded services in over 20 cities with over 100 healthcare partners and has over 500k users of their platform. Recently, ATP launched its marketplace project, CURA4U, for the U.S. market with a vision to bring price transparency and serve millions of self-pay patients including visitors and patients with high deductible plans. ATP is also scaling its projects in other international markets.
Helping Patients and Providers by Digital Healthcare Revolution Essentially, ATP designed a digital healthcare eco-system model, which has 2 integrated projects—one for patients, Healthcare Marketplace, and the other, SmartClinix, for healthcare service providers. The location based One-Stop Healthcare Marketplace project, CURA4U, enables patients (or their family members on their behalf) to search and schedule for various local quality healthcare services with upfront price transparency. Its services include doctors’ appointments (for both office as well as online visits), labs, diagnostics, pharmacy, and home care service etc. It also provides patients access to education materials as well as their results/healthcare records. On the other hand, SmartClinix is ATP’s cloud-based customized digital healthcare solution with built-in EMR, telemedicine platform and patient portal which upgrades digital capabilities of healthcare service providers.
The Mixed Effect
According to Dr. Ahmed, technology has a mixed effect. Technology has definitely improved the standard of care in terms of early diagnosis and better treatment. However, currently in healthcare , its focus has been more on financial rather than actual care (such as is the case of electronic medical record for billing) is leading to patient as well as provider dissatisfaction, as more time is consumed in documentation of reimbursement related content rather than actual patient care.
ATP is working and emphasizing to change the innovation focus on actual patient care.
The Ultimate Belief
Dr. Ahmed believes that success comes to those who believe in success., “the ultimate belief in success coupled with persistence and ability to motivate the team is the key of any successful venture. “You just have to envision your target destination and work hard with trust in God,” he notes. Milestones: Under his leadership, ATP has scaled its operations in multiple countries and won various awards including GEC catalyst award at connected healthcare conference, Top 6 Healthcare start up by American Telemedicine Association, and now has been invited by United Nations as expert on digital healthcare on its summit for Universal Health. He has also participated in IFC/World Bank HealthCare Summit as member of think tank on digital health.