Limited access to primary health care, and increasingly crowded emergency rooms, have prompted a Sauder alumnus to launch a start-up that transforms the traditional GP house call visit using video.
“We want to revolutionize medicine,” says Medeo CEO and Sauder BCom grad Ryan Wilson, sitting in Medeo’s spacious, sunlit office space in Vancouver.
He cites that one in three Canadians report difficulties in getting to their family doctor appointment, a 2012 study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information finds.
The company, which launched in 2013, took its name from merging the terms ‘video' and 'medicine'.
“True leadership is building a collective vision that everyone is equally inspired to achieve.”
- Ryan Wilson, CEO, Medeo
Wilson shows a demo of how the service, which is like Skype video conferencing for physicians, allows local doctors and patients to digitally interact via their computer, iPhone, iPad or Android device.
The system is already transforming the lives of new mothers and people with motion disabilities who have already started using the services.
Currently, there are more than 400 physicians and 12,000 patients participating in Medeo. However, anyone who is enrolled in B.C.’s medical services plan is eligible.
That is approximately the same fee that physicians and GPs receive for a regular consultation.
The cost to the health care system is the same charge by regular consultations. But Medeo added value is brought to the province’s health care, says Wilson, through improved access.
British Columbians travel all over the province to see a doctor or a specialist, he says. With physicians online, patients, especially from rural communities, have better access and reduce their healthcare-related travel costs.
Another advantage of being able to talk to your family doctor face-to-face, from home, is that less people end up in the emergency room, Wilson says. An emergency visit usually starts at $800 to $900. A video call is much less at $40.
Physicians would rather send a patient home to recover, instead of keeping them at the hospital, if they had a good way of monitoring patients at home, says Wilson.
Thanks to Medeo, that is now possible.
“Every time, we send a person home a day earlier, it saves $3,000 to $4,000 a day,” says Wilson and adds that research supports the notion of patients recuperating better when they’re at home compared to in a hospital bed.
Medeo’s mission of bringing Canadian healthcare into the 21st century would not have been possible without the number of Sauder graduates he has employed to launch the service, he concludes.
“When you start a business, it helps that you have gone to Sauder and can find people through the peer group that you developed at school,” Wilson says. “The single greatest challenge as an entrepreneur is finding great talent.”