In a country where 75% of doctors’ appointments are scheduled on pen and paper, Gustavo Reis spotted an opportunity to address a number of inefficiencies within the healthcare system. “Whenever I see inefficiency in the market, I want to help solve it,” said Gustavo when explaining his motivation to enter the healthcare sector. HelpSaúde centralizes and maintains a comprehensive database for patients to find and access health professionals in Brazil.
As the company’s CEO, Gustavo draws on his past experience working in ecommerce. His ecommerce venture BondFaro sold to Buscape in 2006, created a successful centralized shopping comparison site. Even though he had no previous experience in healthcare, Gustavo realized similarities in online shopping and patients searching for health professionals, including some of their inefficiencies. According to him, HelpSaúde works to remove and reduce friction in communication between patients and health professionals.
HelpSaúde was the first company in Brazil to create a comprehensive online vertical search database of health professionals with up-to-date profiles and contact information. Before its launch, the team at HelpSaúde planned and spent months combining dozens of databases to compile them into one accurate source. Initially, HelpSaúde was the only company working on a vertical search engine for healthcare in Brazil. The early planning and execution for their product paid off. By 2011 the site attracted more than one million unique visitors per month. Gustavo compares the initial site to an online ‘Yellowpages’.
Innovation and development have kept HelpSaúde as the first choice for patients seeking information about doctors and health professionals. Gustavo highlighted HelpSaúde’s strengths: simplicity and usefulness of the site in addition to its 30,000 registered health professionals. He said, “We are a marketplace. We have to have demand—the patients—and supply—the health professionals”. The site attracts a high amount of web traffic, because “whenever patients come to our website, they see a lot of options compared to our competitors”.
Over the last few years the site has evolved from an online directory to a more transactional platform that encompasses scheduling. The site encourages doctors’ practices to shift from a ‘pen and paper method’ of scheduling to an online service. Gustavo said that this action allows a medical practice to “leapfrog from an inefficient system—if you can call it a system—to a cloud-based system”. He added that a cloud-based system is simply a smarter way to manage a medical practice and lets the doctor focus on the patient. Nearly 7,500 medical practices now maintain their schedules through HelpSaúde.
The future of HelpSaúde seeks to improve the business practices of health professionals. Gustavo said we want to “go deeper into their back office offering more and more tools to allow medical practices to be more efficient in their day-to-day business”. Another possible area of expansion is to create a HelpSaúde mobile app. Gustavo said the design of the site must be mobile-friendly, because 14% of the traffic comes from mobile devices.
While investors have recently become cautious about investments within Brazil, Gustavo feels that healthcare startups in Brazil can succeed, because many people and startups are dedicating time and effort to solve specific problems. He is confident that their combined contributions will improve the quality of healthcare in Brazil.
Learn more about HelpSaúde: http://www.helpsaude.com/
Related Post: A Revolucao da Saude com HelpSaude (por Gustavo Guida Reis)
Gustvavo Guida Reis will be at the Health 2.0 LATAM Conference in São Paulo, December 06 and 07.