Modernizing and Democratizing Health Services
Dr Petros Pandis – an entrepreneur, with an PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Imperial College London and extensive experience in digital innovation – has pioneered creative, customer-focused digital solutions for all-round business benefits. As the founder and CEO of Docandu, an innovative digital health platform, Petros is at the helm of affairs at the start up. In an interview, he speaks on array of topics ranging from the idea behind founding of Docandu to how the latest pandemic has changed the health industry, from challenges posed to what entrepreneurs should do to carve a niche for themselves. Excerpts from the interview:
The Story Behind
Docandu has been touted as a revolutionary digital health company that combines high-quality traditional medicine with the most modern, and at the same time ushering in user-friendly digital innovations. Docandu is like ‘a personal healthcare assistant’. It gives the user instant medical advice for their symptoms through AI technology, as well as guidance for the next steps. It simplifies the patient-doctor interaction, by connecting the user to either a Docandu GP or by offering a wider selection of private doctors (marketplace). Finally, it offers a convenient virtual space for medical records storage with easy access and sharing capabilities. Based in London and Athens, the company envisages a democratized and modernized health service that all citizens can have access to – anytime and anywhere in the world. “Our Docandu app is a fully-integrated digital health platform that connects patients to medical advice, healthcare data, and doctors anytime, anywhere. The uniqueness in Docandu’s platform is the ability to break the international boundaries and connect patients with their preferred healthcare provider, anywhere they are and, in their preferred language, – including sharing of translated medical records.”
Healthcare Technology Innovation
“The healthcare sector is subject to the most prominent transformation on a global scale” opines Petros. He however cites a contradictory situation here since the healthcare industry is always using cutting edge technologies and the regulators tend to be old-fashioned and follow rigid processes. “Overall, the healthcare system can be described by a shortage of staff, outdated medical equipment, huge waiting lists and dated infrastructure, especially in the public sector. Long-lasting problems have been aggravated by the recent economic crisis.” Paper-based systems that lead to inevitable delays in reaching frontline clinicians with relevant clinical information, is yet another problem in the healthcare industry, rues Petros. Electronic medical records (EMRs) paired with mobile devices and apps, make it possible for medicos to quickly access test results at the bedside. A more accurate take on patient symptoms is possible with EMR and AI-symptom checkers, which frees caregivers from the burden of data collection and allows them to be the one that interprets the data and counsels the patient directly. “Having the ability to access medical data we believe is very important for patients.”
“Among the challenges that we face in the healthcare tech landscape is the lack of standardization. We have ample data but too many interfaces and systems to simplify and truly democratize digitization” explains Petros. From Appointment Management Systems, to Patient Administration Systems and Laboratory Information Management Systems, to government portal and medical records management, the list goes on and on, adds the professional. “Healthcare companies are affected by regulatory challenges that raises the cost of services and can make it hard for new entrants.”
“Considering the challenge in regards to the fast change of both hardware and software, healthcare leaders and clinicians need to establish closer links with medical manufacturers and software development companies to harness the potential of healthcare technology to transform the health systems and create a connected healthcare environment. They can collaborate on developing new business models and scenarios to improve the uptake of new healthcare technology.”
Memorable Moment of Success
In fact, 2020 represents probably the most recent memorable moment that built Docandu’s brand name and reputation and helped 50,000 citizens in Greece against the pandemic. “It’s AI-based product, developed to check COVID19 symptoms and asses individual risk ‘COVID19 Checker’ has been touted as one of the first solutions in Europe that was approved and made available by the Greek authorities. Since then, Docandu has been recognized and awarded as one of the key innovative solutions against the pandemic of COVID-19 from the Ministry of Digital Governance, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Development and Investments. Also, Docandu has been placed on the top 3 Medical App in Google Play Store, received sponsorship from Microsoft, awarded from the National Bank of Greece as one of the most innovative companies in 2021 and been listed in the 100s Game Changers Companies in 2020 in Greece from Startupper.
A Piece of Advice
Health care is an industry that is rapidly growing, so up and coming entrepreneurs will have plenty of opportunities. The industry is challenging, rigid and heavily regulated, however, the rewards will be significant if you succeed. Innovative solutions from health start-ups could become a major player contributing to industry value. There is also the aspect of impacting human lives and contribute to changing health care for good, signs off Petros.