Guest article by Thibaud Andre

 

In the dynamic business environment of Shanghai, several French startups are creating new trends and have caught the attention of the digital market. The CareVoice is one of these startups that are quickly evolving thanks to an innovative idea adapted to the market, a mobile application that offers the very first review-based social platform related to healthcare.

Since launching their mobile app in July, The CareVoice is off to a great start with a product that is receiving great feedback from patients and healthcare professionals from Shanghai and New Delhi. I recently sat down with founder Sebastien Gaudin to ask more about his company.

TA: Can you tell us more about The CareVoice?

SG: The CareVoice is a start-up founded in 2013 in China. The first mobile application was launched in December 2013 in Shanghai and is also being launched in New Delhi soon. It is the first dedicated review-based social platform that empowers patients to make better healthcare decisions, and helps healthcare providers and companies create positive experience for patients.

From a comprehensive listing of hospitals, doctors, and treatments, patients can voice their true healthcare experience by posting reviews based on their medical visit or treatment, providing valuable insights that can be shared with other patients undergoing a similar health journey. Created with the patient experience in mind, The CareVoice provides an open, trusted, and reliable platform to make informed decisions based on individual healthcare needs for a healthier community.

The CareVoice also provides valuable input to doctors, hospitals, and healthcare companies to listen to patients. They can continuously improve upon their services and treatments. In turn, they will find value in ensuring they provide the best, most positive experience to their most important stakeholder – the patient.

TA: How did you get the idea to develop a review-based social platform related to healthcare?

SG: Living abroad and in a country like China with still lots of unmet needs made me more sensitive to new business ideas. I believed there was a strong opportunity to launch The CareVoice considering that Chinese people shage a lot of their opinions using social media. I would highlight the lack of transparent information about hospitals, doctors, treatments, the unequal use of medical resources, and the lack of trust from patients towards healthcare professionals and treatment, as well as sources of poor patient compliance and doctor/patient relationship issues.

TA: For who is this platform intended?

SG: Everyone could use or benefit from this platform. People facing health issues are expected to be the core users, but also doctors, hospital management, and healthcare companies, so that they can engage in innovative ways with patients. At launch, we focused on the expected early adopters who may be the young/mid-age people who own an iPhone, are health conscious, and want the best for their health.

TA: Do you have any feedback from professionals (doctors, pharmacists, etc.) or patients?

SG: We do have a lot of feedback from patients and professionals with whom we aim to build the platform. We conduct market research, focus groups, and benefit from feedback from field operations. Overall, the concept is welcomed. As said previously, the needs are very important on the patient side. The first version of the App is intuitive, easy to use and sharing a review takes only a few clicks. For professionals, I would say the majority think a patient’s feedback could be highly valuable to them and their institutions. Indeed, they are keen to continuously improve the quality of care, build up their reputation, and stand out against other institutions or professionals. All agree on the importance of building a trustworthy platform and that is why we set this as our key priority. We will of course continue to work very closely with our users and customers to refine our product and develop our next features or services.

TA: What are your goals for the next months?

SG: We are still at the early stage of development, so our primary focus is to attract new users and get valuable reviews published on the platform; this way, more users can then join and search for the best-rated medical services or treatments according to their needs and also connect with other patients who have undergone similar journeys and who can provide them with support and encouragement. We are seeking a second round of fundraising to help us achieve our strong growth ambition and to scale up our operations.

TA: Do you have any plans for B2B partnership?

SG: We are very pleased to already have several cooperation agreements. We started a partnership with the obstetric/gynaecologic (Ob/Gy) department at East Hospital South Campus, which is one of the highest rated public hospitals in Shanghai. The Ob/Gy department is the result of an international cooperation with the French Healthcare Group, Noalys. The medical team provides not only medical healthcare services and treatments, but does also quality research work. Our platform will especially help their management team to identify how they can continuously provide a high quality of care and positive experience to their patients. We also have cooperate with CDP, a group that provides human resource-related services to corporate clients and employees across China. We have a third cooperation with a market research agency in Shanghai, which works closely with pharmaceutical companies to better understand patients’ needs. The CareVoice can cooperate with multiple players in the healthcare market since we provide a unique platform to enable engagement between professionals and patients.

TA: The CareVoice is currently based in China and India. Do you have any plan to extend your business in other countries?

SG: China and India are already two very large markets! We are now in Shanghai and have just started in New Delhi. We plan to expand to other key cities within the next 12 months. Nevertheless, we believe our unique concept makes sense in other countries, in particular in Asia and Europe where internet or mobile healthcare services are not yet very developed like in the US. Therefore, we plan to explore at least two other markets in those regions by 2015.

 

 

374193_3011027085566_661669269_nThibaud Andre is a French consultant working at Chinese market research firm Daxue Consulting.  He is passionate about Chinese culture and likes to share insights about the many emerging markets of the Middle Kingdom.