The idea for Sudamed came to doctor-turned-entrepreneur Mazin Khalil two years ago while standing in a hospital reception in Khartoum. He watched a father walk up to the reception with a newborn baby and ask for a particular doctor, only to be told that the doctor was not working until six hours later.
- Sudamed website
Mr. Khalil, 25, saw a simple solution. He set out to create an online medical directory that would list hospitals, clinics, dental practices, physios or anyone involved in the medical profession, and the location and opening times. Those healthcare providers could then pay to list extra information – the names and numbers of doctors or the list of drugs being sold.
“I knew how hard it was to get information in Sudan,” said Mr. Khalil. Soon, he figured out it wasn’t just a lack of information that was stunting the medical industry.
Healthcare providers were being paid by insurance companies up to six months after a patient appointment, impacting working capital. So Mr. Khalil created a discount card that patients could use at Sudamed-registered clinics and receive up to 50% off, as long as they paid in cash on the spot. The card costs patients $30 and there are now 10,000 in circulation.
Next, Sudamed created a patient record system, which is still in beta. The web-based software is now used by one-third of doctors in the directory, replacing or complementing current clinic management systems for about one tenth of the price.
While patient records will remain confidential, Mr. Khalil plans to collate and sell the data on to pharmaceutical companies and governments to conduct market research in the healthcare sector.
In total, Sudamed now has 2,000 healthcare providers registered in Sudan and made $500,000 in revenues last year, Mr. Khalil said. The startup’s whirlwind two years was rewarded last week in Cairo where it won the MIT Pan Arab Startup Competition and a $50,000 prize. Sudamed is now seeking up to $300,000 in fresh funding to scale the business to Lebanon, Jordan, Ethiopia and Kenya.
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(via WSJ Blogs)