MEDIALPHA – Easier and faster access to lab tests
How do you revolutionize a healthcare system?
One way consists in cutting down waiting time and simplifying access to basic services, like blood or urine collection. Medialpha tackles a challenge common to most healthcare systems by facilitating collection services from the comfort of your home or office.
“Our platform is unique on the market – it used to take up to an hour to find the right service provider, we’ve cut that time down to 5 minutes.”
How Medialpha began
Medialpha was born from the friendship between Marina Staingart and Jean-Pierre Sabe-Affak. Jean-Pierre is a microbiologist with an experience in health services administration, providing him with great insight into the healthcare management system in Quebec. Marina followed a career in computer engineering and holds an M.B.A in finance – she traveled the world to discover the best practices in health care systems. Together, they created Medialpha, a Montreal-based company which provides healthcare services such a blood collection at patient’s home or office.
As doctors appointments’ waiting lists are getting longer and people’s timetable less and less flexible, basic healthcare services such as blood tests are not easily accessible. Patients can turn to the private system for requisitions but this can be costly, confusing and still time-consuming. Demand for such tests have also increased as insurance companies and preventive health practices have been emphasizing prevention over cure.
When Jean-Pierre and Marina enrolled in Hacking Health Montreal’s 2014 Hackathon, they were part of a bigger team who wanted to develop a solution for online appointment confirmation and wait list management. They credited this initial experience as a useful testing ground, as the hackathon allowed them to realize how well their ambition and values aligned with each other. Post-hackathon, they decided to tackle the problem by starting with a pain point that seemed easier to address: improving access to blood collection and testing.
This was the beginning of Medialpha, a company which seeks to transform how some of the basic healthcare services are delivered. “Empowering patients to have control of their schedule, and more importantly of their health, is at the core of our initial aspiration” explains co-founder Marina Staingart. “We credit our success to centering our business model on patient experience principles”.
In addition to being easy, affordable and safe, Medialpha is unique in the market and is currently growing partnerships with medical clinics, pharmacies but also insurance companies. More recently, ProMontreal Entrepreneurs provided $50k in funding to support the development their software platform – it is now fully operational and facilitates appointment booking according to location preferences.
How Medialpha works
Medialpha ensures patients will be matched with high-quality blood collection services who can operate from the comfort of their homes or offices. Patients chose the place and time of their appointment while Medialpha handles the paperwork and processing. “Our platform is unique on the market – it used to take up to an hour to find the right service provider, we’ve cut that time down to 5 minutes.” says Jean-Pierre Sabe-Affaki. “This represents important operational savings for clinics, nurses, or a private company like medical laboratory service providers or insurance providers”.
The concept is very simple:
-The patient sends his or her requisition via fax, email or online form on Medialpha’s website which then finds the best price on the market thanks to its proprietary software. Within 24-48h, Medialpha calls the patient to coordinate an appointment – a nurse is then sent to the patient’s house or office at his or her convenience. Medialpha also ensures the prescribing physician and patient receive the results via email.
What’s next for Medialpha?
Besides running pilot projects in 4 different clinics, Medialpha now offers administrative assistants to mobile nurses and has even extended its services to urine based tests and more specialized tests associated with allergies or reproductive health, facilitating access to over 500 different tests.