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The company helps patients find a doctor, while assisting physicians with appointment management
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There's been a lot of innovation in the healthcare space recently, and much of it seems to focus on the patient, for good reason. They are the drivers of the healthcare market, and literally every single person is a prospective customer. It only makes sense
Of course, there's the other side of the equation: the doctor. There may be fewer of them, but making their lives easier will also improve the lives of patients.
Doctolib is a company that is solving one problem that doctors face: appointment scheduling. It's an online and mobile booking platform that helps to find and a specialist doctor nearby and make an appointment.
On Thursday the Paris-based company announced that it raised a €26 million Series C investment led by Bpifrance, the French public investment bank, with participation from existing investors Accel; Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, co-founder of PriceMinister; and Nicolas Brusson, co-founder of BlaBlaCar. Ludwig Klitzsch, German CEO and owner of the health group led by the Klitzsch family, also joined the round.
This brings the company’s funding to €50 million in the last three years.
Founded in October 2013, Doctolib offers doctors and facilities a SaaS full-range service to improve booking management and communication with patients. It includes personalized tools, services and assistance from its team. A single doctor can be installed and start working with Doctolib in less than an hour.
"We have numerous testimonials of doctors that began receiving online appointments the afternoon following their installation, reducing their number of calls, increasing their patient base and optimizing their workflow with fewer interruptions. Doctolib is very easily adopted and can durably transform doctors' organization; our main challenge is to get doctors to try it," Stanislas Niox-Chateau, CEO and Cofounder of Doctolib, told me.
For patients, Doctolib is a free online service to find a nearby health practitioner, book and track appointments.
"Doctolib facilitates healthcare access through the power of Internet and cloud computing. We believe that improving healthcare access is a big deal. In any given year, there are 8 billion medical appointments booked in Europe. Patients know how difficult it can be to find a doctor and book an appointment. And the booking process is also very expensive for doctors, who typically spend one third of their time on administrative tasks: that is 18 hours a week on average," said Niox-Chateau.
"While major life-changing booking platforms have emerged in several areas, including travel, hotels, restaurants, etc., healthcare has never really benefited from such type of innovations, yet the need is clear: in comparison, there are 'only' 200 million hotel bookings per year in Europe. Doctolib aims to become Europe's best full-range booking service to deliver a seamless healthcare experience for both patients and doctors."
The company has a community of 17,000 doctors from all specialties, including pediatricians, gynecologists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, surgeons, urologists and allergists. It also works with 435 healthcare establishments, including hospitals, clinics and centres. On the patient side, it currently sees 6 million visitors per month on its website.
One of its most recent clients is the Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris, which is the largest hospital system in Europe and one of the largest in the world, with 39 hospitals and 23,000 doctors to be installed in the coming months.
For doctors, the service is able to reduce booking management costs by 30 percent, and decrease no-shows by 75 percent. Doctolib decreases no shows for scheduled visits to 2.5 percent from the industry average of 10 percent. It also brings up to 20 new patients per doctor each month
The company competes mostly with Zocdoc in the U.S. and Docplanner in Poland, but Niox-Chateau sees them as inherently different services, as it is more of a "service company" than a "tech company."
"In the booking industry, a normal tech company such as many of our competitors tries to help professionals by letting some of their slots available to online reservation, without losing their old paper agenda. Our founders' ambition was to offer a complete and integrated experience, allowing any health professional to manage all his appointments through the cloud, after a few minutes of setup, no matter the specialty or the organization complexity. This is much harder to achieve because it requires tremendous amounts of human energy, a dedicated workforce and irreproachable service level. But it changes everything on the long run," he said.
"Today this is why we have bigger customer base with 80% market share, better customer satisfaction, better product integration with the practice, greater patient traffic and ease of use, better referrals, stronger online visibility, and overall a stronger brand than any of our European competitors."
The new money will be used to consolidate the platform’s leadership position in France and Germany. Right now, it has offices in 35 cities across France and Germany. It is currently in Berlin and will soon launch in three new cities.
It will also be used accelerate its longer-term European expansion.
"Our market is huge and we're still at the beginning of the development of online booking in Europe. For the moment we're focusing on enhancing our leadership in France and Germany, which are the biggest markets in continent with more than 1 million practitioners in total. We have a long term European ambition but we will focusing in our current markets first," Niox-Chateau told me.
Doctolib also plans to add more than 150 new employees to its 300 member team in the next year.
In the next five years, the company wants to build itself out to be over 2,000 employees, who will "share the same vision of service and passion, providing the best daily tool ever for patients, doctors and healthcare facilities."
"The path is still long but our team works hard every day (and night) to reach this goal."
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