By: Maliha Khalid Kayani, accountapreneur in Pakistan
During high school I suffered through a serious medical condition. My mother, the primary decision maker, also suffered from the experience. All she wanted was to choose the best doctor for her eldest daughter without compromising my privacy or the quality of the healthcare physician, but she didn’t know where to go, whether to consult a neurologist or a psychologist, etc. I did not want her to openly talk about my condition in the family, and so my mother went through this difficult process alone, without any resource or tools to help her navigate.
Even today, when I think of the healthcare industry in Pakistan, my mind immediately floods with questions like; which doctor to go to? Where do I find the best doctor for myself? Can I find my doctor on the internet or my phone? How will I get an appointment? How far would the doctor’s clinic be situated? Is my doctor legally licensed? Do I choose a doctor who is the most experienced or the one with recent publications?
All these questions are followed by a feeling of discomfort, and fear of the unknown. Eventually I end up calling my Mamoo (uncle) who is a doctor in the armed forces, and ask him about the best doctor for my illness. He gathers more information on my situation and calls various of his colleagues until he finally is able to connect me to a suitable doctor.
However, this presents a breach of privacy and does not allow me to factor my own considerations and opinions in selecting the right doctor for myself.
My solution, Ezpz Sehat, presents an online community where the doctors have a platform to present themselves to healthcare consumers while the patient has the power/right to choose the best doctor for her/himself, with the preferred determinants and share their experience with other families or individuals to help them in the process and deal with the disease as an effective community member. Ezpz believes that people like you and me, should have the best quality health care service no matter where in Pakistan you are! While it would typically take several trips to the hospital or several calls to find the right specialist, one can now access these services in just a few clicks! The use of technology to solve such issues is not novel to the rest of the world and it’s time that Pakistan follows suit.
The Ezpz concept is not just confined to helping consumers stay healthy but also aspires to educate vulnerable members of the community and to eliminate consumer exploitation. Ezpz does so by soliciting real-time feedback from the medical service users, ranking the medical practitioners on their behavior/conduct with the patients, time spent and care shown in examination of the ill, the fees charged, and overall efficacy of the medicine/treatment prescribed. Based upon this ranking, patients can make an informed decision about which physician they would like to visit. Once fully operational, Ezpz will help address the issues of fraudulent and incompetent physicians, who in connivance with the medicine manufacturers prescribe medicine that are redundant or ineffective or who charge hefty fees.
The Accountability Lab is supporting Ezpz with the seed funding and technical assistance that I need to build my organization around this idea. On the basis of the experiments we have ran so far and the feedback collected from industry experts, we believe that Ezpz will effectively address key accountability issues in Pakistan’s healthcare industry.
Follow Ezpz Sehat on Facebook here.