Our focus is primary healthcare to the masses.
Adnan Hayat Zaidi is the Chief Executive Officer of HumWell. In addition to his core role in HumWell where he has been spearheading where healthcare is considered a right, not luxury, he also leads Multinet Pakistan and Preon Technologies as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer, respectively.
Following are the edited transcripts of a recent conversation of Mr. Adnan Zaidi with BR Research:
BR Research: Tell us about yourself and about HumWell. What key problems are you addressing?
Adnan Zaidi: I have been associated with Pakistan’s telecom industry for over two decades now. Starting from the grassroot level, I have been able to reach the management corridors of various telecom companies. Working alongside numerous NGOs has been an eye-opener towards the dismal status of the healthcare system in Pakistan, which demands a major overhaul. It is obvious that such a change is not possible within a few days, weeks, or even years. Technology, along with the power of innovation, are the tools which can do wonders to the revamp of the healthcare system in Pakistan. This is our ambition. This is our mission, and this is our agenda. We would want the mass population of Pakistan to have the best quality primary healthcare at the tip of their finger round-the-clock. HumWell is the title of this story. We are not a startup since we come from an established organization whose experiences span over decades.
BRR: What are all the services that you offer? And how are you different in this emerging telemedicine field?
AZ: We have an extensive range of features. We have on-demand doctor consultations, where we serve our users 24/7, without the need to book an appointment as a doctor is available round the clock. We keep and provide medical records; after the consultation, the doctor’s notes and prescription are accessible on the app under the Notes tab. Our ‘clinical facilitators’ ensure that a user’s basic profile is completed, before transferring the call to the doctor; this profile is accessible on the app. The ‘uploads’ feature allows the users to upload complaint-specific images and/or files, as required, under the Uploads tab of the app. These are then shared with the relevant doctors to ascertain their authenticity as well as for any significant findings. We also have follow-up appointments; our doctors may schedule a follow-up appointment with a user if required, and notifications will be pushed at intervals as a reminder.
As our focus is on primary healthcare, awareness and prevention is emphasized through an extensive healthcare library. For the user’s convenience, a comprehensive list has been provided for healthcare facilities, immunization centers, labs/radiology, and pharmacies nearby.
We also offer 24/7 in-app support. For all the uncertainties, tapping on the Support tab on the app will provide you with the app’s video tutorial, along with options to be connected to a support agent, either through live chat or call.
These are just some of the features; experiencing it first-hand would divulge the rest, and we encourage everyone to download and experience HumWell for themselves. We are confident to beat expectations here.
BRR: Is the app available in Urdu or other regional languages because when you target masses, language can be a big barrier?
AZ: The app is currently available in English and Urdu, with regional languages to be added in the future. However, we do have doctors who speak some of those languages and have been consulting with patients in their preferred language of choice.
BRR: What is your revenue model and pricing strategy?
AZ: The monetization model for HumWell is all within the consultation charges. We have multiple packages for our users to opt in, with the validity ranging from one month to one year.
BRR: How are you marketing and promoting your services - any partnerships and collabs with hospitals, pharmacies, or doctors?
AZ: We have taken a pan-Pakistan approach where we have reached out to the masses in more than 13 cities with the help of our on-ground teams and an all-around digital push. We have offered trials to educate customers and have given an in-depth understanding of how our application works. Our teams have organized on-ground activities to demonstrate functionalities and usage to the public. We have also posted tutorials online for our users to ease their grasp of the features.
People in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad responded very well to the utility that our app has to offer. Also, penetrating our services into smaller cities such as Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Multan, and Muzaffargarh showed promising results and insights for us to build upon. Their sincere feedback and patronage have been a welcome supplement to our efforts.
Partnerships and collaboration are a way forward that we are eyeing on. It will be a massive amalgamation of channels, corporates, enterprises, financial sector, etc.
BRR: How do you carry out the onboarding of consultants and doctors?
AZ: We have an extremely refined human capital management unit. We invite both experienced and fresh medical experts through job fairs. However, given that there is insufficient talent pool with telemedicine experience, several training sessions are organized after onboarding where they are attuned to the norms of telemedicine.
BRR: Which segment of your business is the key performer?
AZ: I would say the highlight of our app is the on-demand 24/7 doctor consultations.
With this feature we are eliminating the need to travel and the hassles of traffic, while giving a user back their time by conveniently providing them with an opportunity to have a reliable and affordable doctor’s consultation at the tap of a button.
BRR: When it comes to technology, do you think the pandemic has been a tipping point for tech-startups and digitization in Pakistan? And do you think that telehealth, telemedicine and other startups in the health sector would sustain once the pandemic is over?
AZ: To be honest, we are lucky that the situation of Pakistan has not been as bad, even in the third wave, as it has been in other parts of the globe. That being said, people are still quite apprehensive of visiting hospitals due to COVID, and yes, as is rightly pointed out, this is where a light has been lit on the benefits of telemedicine.
I certainly do not believe that the end of pandemic would be the end of telemedicine. I believe this pandemic will highlight the advantages of telemedicine, of all the ways it is more convenient and effective for everyone involved.
The world has adapted to it, and it is time that we do too. Are we going to do it? Certainly! It is just a matter of seeing how soon.