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Pakistani health start-up bridges doctor-patient gap

By Shahina Maqbool
June 06, 2016

Online appointment booking system

Rawalpindi: EzPz Sehat, a startup technology company, started its operations in Pakistan Sunday by launching a powerful online data platform where patients can, within minutes, find the right doctor from over five major cities and 30 plus specialisations, and get an appointment online, thereby simplifying one of the tedious processes in patient-doctor consultation.

With both specialist doctors practicing in the hospitals of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, as well as patients in attendance at the launch ceremony here Sunday, the organisers unveiled how easy and simple it can be for them to make informed choices and set appointments within minutes.

“We help patients find the right doctor for them and help doctors with an online presence which allows them to interact with patients through a moderated feedback system,” participants were informed. aims to bridge the gap between doctors and patients by providing reliable information of doctors practicing all over Pakistan. It helps patients find the best doctors for them, and offers top medical practitioners a better way to connect with clients. They can filter doctors based on consultation fee, distance, gender, and language.

Appreciating the online appointment booking, doctors said it would greatly help them in managing time and keeping a good track of their appointments. At present, patients have to undergo a lot of effort to find the doctor most suited to their need and then make an appointment. Some patients from outside the twin cities, especially those coming from Northern Areas and AJK, have to send a person all the way here to find the doctor and set appointments, thus wasting a lot of time and money in the process.

While highlighting the problems that patients generally have to suffer because of the communication gap, leading pain management specialist Brig. Asif Gul remarked that, “this website has been constructed around the idea of convenience and digital empowerment to provide users with sufficient data to find the right doctor.”

Maliha Khalid, CEO of the startup said, “Ezpz has one of the most comprehensive roster of doctors available in Pakistan. It’s like google for doctors. Finding and getting an appointment with the right doctor will be easy as pie.”

Maliha further went on to say that, “Technical smartness is one of the increasingly important skill sought after by young consumers today. This is amply reflected in unprecedented growth in smart phone usage for making market place decisions and indeed searching for making appointments with doctors. Currently, there are around 10 million Internet users in Pakistan and the number is fast increasing. These Internet users alone are based in Islamabad and Rawalpindi (1,029,000), Lahore (2,412,480), and Karachi (7,050,000). The number of specialist doctors in the country is around 60,000, half of which work in major cities, i.e. Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad and Peshawar.

Maliha recognised the need for such a product in 2014 after a personal experience dealing with the broken health system in Pakistan. In the last two years, she has been able to achieve buy-in from thousands of doctors as well as users, and brought them onto the Ezpz platform. Maliha has a degree in Economics and Management from University of London International Programme.

Engineer Umer Adnan, co-founder and CEO of E4 Technologies said, “We developed this product for EZPZ Sehat by combining our expertise in user experience, design thinking and knowledge of software and cloud platforms necessary to support the smooth running of Ezpz’s system. We’re also going to come up with dedicated Apps for doctors that allow them to make the transition to our system hassle-free.”

Eminent public health professional Ayyaz Kiani, who is also the co-founder of the initiative, said the aspect of consumer protection has also been embedded into the application. “For the first time in Pakistan, patients can sort doctors based on their experience, the number of online appointments they have been booked for, patient ratings, profile views, etc.?They can sign up and manage their profile, including any medical history they would like the doctor to view, prior to the appointment. Patients can book online appointments and keep a tab of their past and upcoming appointment as well as cancel any scheduled appointments in case of any issue. Once their appointment with the doctor is completed, they can review and rate the doctor, helping other patients to better judge the on-panel doctors.”

Ayyaz said it took over three years to develop the application “which is comparable to any top of the line product in the UK or the US.” He maintained that the process of getting an appointment is quicker and simpler because no advance payment is involved. Both the doctor and the patient can cancel an appointment in case of emergency by posting a message and rescheduling the next visit.

Ayyaz told this scribe that rather than having a disease orientation only, the application has a preventive health angle wherein health providers involved in dietary modification, physiotherapy, and physical exercise have also been included. He said, the application is totally interest-free, and has no advertisements or any kind of corporate interference.

Gyneacologist Dr. Salma Zahid quipped that “with introduction of EzPz Sehat, I will be able to save time by having better time management of my practice and spending the saved time with my family at home.” She hoped Ezpz will continue to excel as a comprehensive platform that brings all the doctor and patient information together in one community.”