By Manish Nair
I mentioned in a previous blog post how the sound I associated most with Lima was that of car alarms going off in song. I believe I have arrived at the root of the mystery as to why this happens.
It was as I had suspected—the threshold for setting off the alarm is simply set extremely low, perhaps in response to a high rate of thefts from cars in the past. The source of my confidence is that I witnessed a car alarm being set off right as I walked past it—with absolutely no physical stimulation but from the wind. I was discussing this peculiarity with Dr. Venegas, one of our local collaborators, when he told me that he had even had his own car alarm disabled, because it was such a nuisance to have to switch off all the time.
The elation from my discovery was still wearing off as I had a meeting with the founder and medical director of a private company called Doktuz. Doktuz is a young organization that has a vision of revolutionizing healthcare in Peru by providing primary healthcare at the doorsteps of clients. It uses a mobile platform from which clients can select “Injectables,” “Ambulance,” “Nutrition,” or “Lab Testing,” and the relevant service is provided at their home as soon as possible by a nurse or midwife.
The premise behind Doktuz is to transform the often frustrating experience of receiving healthcare to one that is more friendly, convenient, and patient-oriented. Thus, it aims to minimize the time that patients spend in clinics, where wait times are notoriously long, and provide services from the comfort of home instead.
Doktuz has already enlisted a number of healthcare providers to work with it, and doctors and laboratory staff conduct tests remotely. Results from blood tests, for example, can be accessed by patients from their Doktuz mobile application after their blood was drawn while they were sitting on their home couch, without ever having had to go out of their way.
Doktuz aims to add more services to their application, and it was not hard for either party to see that the POCkeT colposcope to could fit neatly into their model. After all, the concept of POCkeT is to provide screening for cervical cancer in any location, with the actual diagnosis done remotely. There is a potential path to partnership, which both we and Doktuz were excited about.
You can probably tell by this stage that I was very impressed by Doktuz. On top of their open office, objective-driven and fun work style and enthusiastic and accessible leadership, Doktuz is a company that is changing the landscape of healthcare in Peru. I love that they emphasized delivering the best possible experience to the patient, because unfortunately, many people in Peru have difficulties with the healthcare system, either due to long wait times or a lack of facilities. And this is not a problem that is unique to Peru.
With the rise of service providers such as Doktuz, perhaps we can all begin to believe that the hassle of healthcare might soon be an issue of the past.