Cape based Tech Start-up Spreads its Wings

By Anton Ressel & Liesl Jobson

Discovery Partners With RecoMed to Power Their Online Bookings

A black-owned technology start-up has developed an online booking system that is changing how patients, medical professionals and medical aids engage with each other in South Africa.

The name of the platform, RecoMed (www.recomed.co.za), plays on the word “recommend”, and allows patients to not only book appointments with healthcare practitioners using their smartphone or computer, but also to rate these practitioners, along the lines of TripAdvisor. Similarly, medical aid administrators are using the system to book life insurance assessments, staff wellness appointments and a host of other bookings direct with practitioners, vastly reducing admin costs and improving efficiencies.

Supported by Edge Growth, the ASISA Enterprise Development Fund and other venture capital and equity partners including HAVAÍC and Growth Grid, RecoMed has grown from a fledgling start-up to an increasingly sought-after solution for the likes of Clicks, Discovery and Medicross, amongst others.

Founder of the platform, Sheraan Amod, described his excitement at the recent successful roll out of Discovery’s in-house Wellness Clinics programme, one of the company’s most ambitious projects to date. “So far, we’re handling 1 500 bookings a month for Discovery, using 9 practitioners at five different clinics. There are around 10 000 staff members using this platform now, and it has gone without a hitch, which makes me very proud of what we have created.”

Discovery Project Manager, Ishmael Maswanganyi, commented on the drastic reduction oftelephonic bookings since the programme’s inception. He says, “The receptionist makes fewer than ten telephonic bookings per month since implementing RecoMed.” He praised the booking platform, which is currently being used by staff in Port Elizabeth, Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg. “It’s user-friendly and easy to navigate, as well as stable.”

Tech entrepreneur Amod said that the Discovery collaboration, which began in February 2017, was successfully and punctually launched on 1 July 2017. He reflected on the substantial teamwork that had made it possible for RecoMed to pass Discovery’s strict IT security approval procedures.

“The team from Discovery Wellness was highly competent and execution-focused,” said Amod. “We thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with like-minded people. This was a big contributing factor to our being able to deliver a complex project like this on time.”

RecoMed enables patients to find their closest doctor at any hour of the day or night – including approved service providers contracted by their medical aid – and to book the next available appointment. The system reduces practice costs and enhances a customer-centric care policy, as patients are at liberty to recommend their medic to the general population and comment on their experience.

Corporate employers who need to co-ordinate wellness screening days and insurance medicals can also benefit from the system, as well as large scale healthcare solutions requiring chronic disease management programmes. The platform facilitates the smooth interaction for the patients of these programmes with the insurance brokers and call centres who manage them, enabling them to get instant bookings with whomever is approved to see them at optimally convenient times.

RecoMed generates revenue by charging medical practitioners a transactional booking fee, and in some cases a value-added percentage on the appointment value. New patients comprise 20 – 50% of bookings that doctors receive from RecoMed, depending on their specialisation and level of engagement on the platform.

The success of RecoMed confirms, once again, that local tech companies with innovative offerings can find and be found by corporates needing specialised solutions.

The growth of tech-based businesses like RecoMed is good news for Cape Town and the country as a whole, as was highlighted by Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, at the recent AfricArena conference. He noted that disruptive and innovative developments are providing tremendous opportunities for economic growth and job creation in the City and Province.