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On Demand Businesses 101

Your ‘Dose’ to a painless doctor-on-call experience – Startup Story #30

This week, we bring to you the story of Dose, a medical on-demand service that lets patients call doctors to their location and consult them online. In an interview with Jade, founder of Dose Healthcare, we find out what led her to found a startup in the healthcare on-demand space, what makes Dose so successful and where she thinks it is headed.

Q1. Tell us about Dose and your personal motivation to start this?11376443_635338399934956_1490269427_n

Dose is a mobile medical service that delivers doctors and nurse practitioners to a patient’s home, office or hotel on-demand. The service operates through an app, which is available for iOS, Android and on the web. A patient in need of medical care simply requests a visit through the app, and within two hours a provider will be arriving at their door. We also offer virtual consults via phone and video for medical conditions that don’t require in-person care.

Cole, my co-founder, had the initial idea for Dose. He was between jobs (and health coverage) and came down with your typical cold and flu symptoms. He considered going to the urgent care center, but the thought of getting out of bed, coupled with fear of the potential cost, led him to forgo seeking medical care all together. Cole is very entrepreneurially minded, and he saw in that moment a problem he wanted to fix.

The thing about the healthcare system is that everyone knows it’s broken, but people are hesitant to get involved because it’s such a big problem with so many strings attached. As a healthcare attorney, I was motivated by the challenges involved.

Q2. What sets Dose apart from the competition?

Our biggest competition at the moment comes from your traditional urgent care and walk-in clinics. There are really so many things that set us apart from these guys, but three things top the list. The first is convenience – basically not having to interrupt your day to spend hours in the waiting room. Second is quality. From top of the line providers to impeccable customer service, we are 100% focused on pleasing the patient. Lastly is transparency. Too many patients avoid getting necessary medical care because they fear the potential cost. Our prices are always listed online, and patients always know the cost of their care upfront. You won’t be receiving any bills in the mail from Dose.

Q3. Put some light on the technology used to build Dose.

Our service is accessible via an app, which is available for iOS, Android and on the web. The technology itself is very similar to what you see with Uber, Lyft, etc. You request a visit with Dose, we dispatch the closest available provider, you track their location and arrival time and at the end of the visit we charge the credit card associated with your account. It’s super simple to use, but the technology is doing a lot of work behind the scenes.

Q4. What has been the most challenging part of developing a platform like Dose?

By far the most difficult thing about starting Dose has been training the market to think about healthcare in a new way. When someone gets sick, they are trained to think ‘go to the doctor’, even though going to the doctor is usually a terrible experience. We’re teaching patients to consider a new and better alternative. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been really fun to bring our service to the market, because people are so excited about it. But, you can’t change the way people think overnight, especially when it comes to healthcare.

Q5. How are you marketing Dose to make it a first preference in the healthcare market?

To be successful in healthcare, you have to establish trust in the market, so that’s what we’re focused on. Word of mouth and experiential marketing are key for us.

Q6. How is Dose empowering the on-demand healthcare market in Nashville?

Nashville is a great place to be, because it’s actually the capital of healthcare in the U.S. We have a lot of fantastic resources and people at our disposal. We have a number of partnerships in the works that are going to help make on-demand healthcare very commonplace here.

Q7. How are you planning to position Dose against prospective competition, and how will you sustain your USP?

We have a plan, but I think it’s important not to plan too much. You have to be ready to adapt to unexpected changes. Dose is an extremely new concept, so our only option is to listen to the market and try to give it what it wants.

Q8. Approximately, how many transactions do you complete in a single day?

We’ve treated hundreds of patients in a day.

Q9. Do you plan to operate ONLY in Nashville or is expansion to other locations also on the cards?

Expansion is definitely in the cards. Our model is inherently scalable, so we want to take full advantage of that. At the same time, it’s important that we maintain the same level of quality that we are offering now. Healthcare is a local business, and whether we are in one city or 100, we plan to keep that local feel.

Q10. Where do you see Dose 5 years down the line?

Five years is such a long time in the life of a startup, and the healthcare market is changing so much, It’s nearly impossible for me to answer this question. In five years, Dose will be a nationwide concept. It may look a lot different than it does today, but the healthcare system in this country is going to evolve and Dose is going to be part of it.

Q11. What is the biggest hurdle that you faced or are still facing?

I can honestly say that we have yet to meet a hurdle that we couldn’t get over (or around). The biggest hurdle I’ve faced thus far is probably figuring out how to relinquish control over certain aspects of the business. When you build a company, it’s like your baby. You want to be involved in everything that happens. We are extremely lucky that Dose has grown into something that one person can’t manage alone, but it’s been hard for me to trust other people to make the right decisions for the company.

Q12. Any word of advice for all the startups out there who are trying to enter the Mobile Healthcare services sector?

Don’t be afraid of failures (big and little), because they are going to happen. When something doesn’t work out like you wanted it to, find a new approach. You won’t be successful if you’re not willing to adapt. Some of the most successful startups in the world started out as something completely different than what they are today.

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