Pakistan not ready for Healthcare apps… Yet!
A lot of efforts have been made to kickstart healthcare apps in Pakistan. None of them unfortunately have been able to gain the critical mass to go public and make any difference at all to the health Care system.
The most successful app launch in Pakistan has been taxi hailing rides such as Careem, Uber and many other on the way. The success of these apps show evidence enough that the Digital Eco System in Pakistan needs digital solutions which produce result immediately. The reasoning for such a behavior may be still be unclear. However it remains a de facto that an app that creates ease for the customer is successful in Pakistan.
Why Healthcare apps are not successful
Healthcare apps developer in Pakistan are making a fundamental mistake. They’re making the app so that the success of the app depends upon the doctors, clinics and hospitals using it and not the consumer using it alone. This has created a void in a situation where the acceptance of the customer has been made secondary. The success is solely dependent up on the doctors and clinic adapting the app.
This identifies the need for a digital infrastructure independent of the doctors and patients.
For the app creators, it is important to understand the doctor’s situation. The doctor who are engaged in private practice are very busy. They see up to 200 patients a day in a matter of just a few hours which is mostly in the evening time. Currently, except few hospitals there is no appointment based ques for the patients to see the doctor. Most of the time the patients just make a phone call before visiting the doctor to confirm if the doctor is in or not. A waiting time for the patients usually last for between 2 to 4 hours if very common. A apps currently launched in the market is rather an inconvenience to the doctors than something that should be adding value. Hence, deterring the doctors
What is the solution?
Making an app alone is not the solution. The healthcare apps creators need to create and adapt a b2b model instead of a b2c model. so it can actually create a difference. This however is not as easy is Careem and Uber. This requires to create an ecosystem which is actually sustainable. It is important that an pull marketing strategy is used so that the doctors and the patients both find it useful.
Making it economically viable is another challenge the health app builders need to seriously consider. This is one I do not believe can be achieved without a public-private partnership.