According to World Health Organization, over 45% of World Health Organization (WHO) member states have less than 1 physician per 1000 population. This figure was 0.97 for Pakistan in 2015. Pakistan has the highest mortality rates with newborn babies and women giving birth as a percentage. While the issue is realized by not many but few, here’s the Social Diary in conversation with Nauman Jaffar. The man who plans on giving health care a new meaning!
How does yourdoctors.online work?
YourDoctors.Online (YDO) is a free application, currently available on web and coming soon to Google Play and App store. It enables individuals, particularly women, to get direct access to physicians around the clock, completely free of charge! Whether the users are at home, in office, on the road or anywhere else, they have access to qualified medical professionals at all times. All they need to do is create an account to begin the chat.
In literally less than 30 seconds, a doctor joins the chat to discuss the patient’s concerns. Most of our doctors are based in North America but since we provide 24/7 support we also have a great team of family doctors supporting us from other parts of the world.
For us doctor-patient confidentiality is our top priority, hence all chats are secure and encrypted. We ensure that we strictly adhere to North American and European privacy compliance regulations.
What urged you into coming up with the idea of something of a virtual doctor for anyone who needs help?
The reason that led us to create YDO was simple. We wanted to create a platform where anyone from anywhere in the world could get easy access to quality medical advice for free. Just like air and water, access to healthcare should be a basic human right. Hence, we wanted to a play our part in enabling people to get the right medical advice and guidance.
Also, YDO is close to my heart for personal reasons. My aunt and my boss lost their lives because they had been misdiagnosed. In fact, according to John Hopkins medicine, misdiagnosis is the third main cause of death. So, I decided to create an application which would allow people direct access to physicians based in North America, as North America has one of the best medical systems in the world.
How important do you feel it is for patients to be in contact with the doctors who are just a click away?
As I said, a very small portion of people have access to doctors and even smaller have access to doctors for free. Since medical misdiagnosis is so common, it is important to get a second opinion before finalizing treatment options. Secondly, there are health concerns which people can’t talk about openly, so YDO enables them to speak directly to a qualified physician who can answer their queries.
“I believe in educating patients to prepare them for the right questions to ask
when seeing their family practitioner or the emergency doctor. Your Doctors Online allows me to do just that.”
— Dr. Cheema, Chief Medical Officer at Your Doctors Online
Since our service is 100% secure, anyone can log in through the website or download our app (starting Oct 2018) and chat with a real doctor. I believe this is most beneficial for women as they make 80% of home health decisions for their family.
How has the turn out been as yet?
We have been very fortunate in this regard. Without spending on advertising or marketing, we have been able to register over 30k patients in the last year. It has all been through word of mouth and web search.
As an example, we served 1,500 patients for free in just one week during July 2018. From preventing suicides to helping a lady who choked on food, each day we have an amazing story to tell. Through our website, we facilitated the delivery of a baby in a remote area, the mother was not able to get access to a doctor in time. This, for us, was another major achievement.
Do you think people in Pakistan would eventually adapt to the new age medical service providers such yourdoctors.online?
As a nation, Pakistan has a very high mother and infant mortality rate. Where the mortality numbers paint a gloomy picture, Pakistan is also witnessing a steady increase in technology adoption and mobile penetration.
While the older generation in Pakistan may be more comfortable with physically going to a doctor and having a face to face conversation, the younger generation is more receptive to technology. With a mobile or PC and an internet connection, they can access YDO from anywhere in Pakistan.
I believe, all we need is awareness. Once the people know that such a service is available, they will use it, not only for themselves but also their family and friends.
How have you guys been running the services so far? (Since, medical help is provided for free)
At this point, we have invested literally our whole life and earnings to get this concept up and running. Today, we have a team of senior as well as young doctors, who are highly motivated and have a strong desire to help people around the world. As we collect more data, we now have started offering the less acute or less chronic via younger volunteer doctors who come to learn due to the high traffic, bots and senior doctors supervising both.
Is there something that you would like to say to the new doctors, for donations etc?
Yes, please help us spread the word. We have engaged young doctors and they have become a part of our virtual doctors’ team but we would be happy to bring more doctors on-board so that they can not only earn but also help provide medical advice to those who need it.