I'm trying to keep up with at least one thesis activity a week. Today I talked to Rafi Syed, COO of Maven Clinic, a telemedicine company focusing on women's health. I learned some very interesting things from him.
- First, my initial thought that someone practicing telemedicine in New York to a woman in Texas was wrong- even in telemedicine, you can only work with a patient in the state you are based in.
- Second, there are still limitations to how far telemedicine can go with lack of available diagnostic tools (such as the forthcoming Apple Healthkit App).
- Third, the whole point of telemedicine is for women who don't have time to go to a specific place or set up an appointment, which if I offer a clinic with telemedicine capabilities in this store, might have just the same issues as a normal clinic.
The good news came from when I asked him about why they focused on women's health. He said that there's both a lot of good things going on right now in regards to women's health, but also a bit of a lack in terms of what's available for customers. Maven was recently awarded $2.2M in seed money, so there is definite interest to see more products designed around women's health.
This all lead me to the realization that I don't think telemedicine is right for this particular idea. I think it would be great down the line to potentially partner with a company like Maven. The idea is to give women the most access and correct information as possible.
I asked Rafi about how their plan for "Red States" where women's health is being highly regulated. They are passionate about providing quality care to women but still have to work within the states' laws. He mentioned that many states don't recognize telemedicine or even necessarily nurse practitioners for legal healthcare.
I heard this last part as an opportunity. If the laws are targeting women and women's health clinics, then perhaps if I have a for-profit model with only pharmacists and registered nurses, then I would be able to get around some of these laws. The store wouldn't be a place where any procedures can take place, but women can get accurate information before going to doctors who may be legally required to tell patients things that are not scientifically proven and can be dangerous.
So, taking a step back, and thinking of this as more of a communication device and how I can use that to my advantage.