In an era where digitalization is shaping every part of our lives, healthcare is no exception. Today, we are excited to share an exclusive interview with Efrat Sagi-Ofir, a trailblazer leading the charge in the telemedicine revolution. Efrat is not just any ordinary entrepreneur; she is the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Air Doctor, a cutting-edge telemedicine platform transforming how we perceive and interact with healthcare.
Co-founding Air Doctor, Efrat has been instrumental in architecting a more accessible, efficient, and truly global healthcare ecosystem.
How did you end up in the travel assistance and telemedicine industry?
Every good startup starts with a personal story. For me, the experience that highlighted the need for such services in my life happened during a trip to Spain where my daughter had an accident and cut herself near her eye. We were in a foreign country, unfamiliar with the local language, and had no idea where to seek medical help.
We reached out to our insurance company for guidance and they advised us to go to the hospital, but we were wary and wanted to prevent our daughter from feeling any unnecessary discomfort. Eventually, we went to the hospital, but the experience was far from pleasant.
This incident played a major role in motivating me to build a solution that would transform the travel experience for other travelers facing similar challenges. Travel is a passion of mine, and I believe that developing a product that provides comprehensive travel health services can make a difference in people’s lives.
Recognizing the challenges that travelers face when it comes to accessing quality medical care abroad, I saw an opportunity to make a meaningful impact in this sphere. Air Doctor has allowed me to combine my expertise in technology, entrepreneurship, and my passion for travel. The idea of developing a product that transforms the travel experience and helps people by giving them access to reliable medical assistance – whenever they need it, and wherever they go – is incredibly rewarding to me.
How did Air Doctor come to life?
The motivation behind creating Air Doctor stemmed from the realization that accessing quality healthcare while abroad can be a daunting and challenging task – especially for travelers who might not speak the local language.
In fact, everyone on the founding team has had firsthand encounters with the complexities of seeking medical assistance in an unfamiliar country. We all recognized the need for a reliable and accessible solution. We envisioned a platform that would empower travelers to easily find trusted healthcare providers in their vicinity, ensuring they receive trusted, quality care and support wherever they may be.
Air Doctor aims to bridge the gap between travelers and local healthcare professionals, offering a fully digital, seamless, and user-friendly experience. By leveraging technology and innovative solutions, we seek to alleviate the stress and uncertainty associated with seeking medical attention abroad.
With our vision in mind, we embarked on a journey to create a comprehensive platform that would connect travelers with a network of carefully selected healthcare providers. The platform was designed to provide transparent information about doctors and clinics, including reviews from other users, ensuring that travelers can make informed decisions regarding their healthcare needs.
For anyone who doesn’t know, can you explain Air Doctor’s services and who can benefit from them?
Air Doctor connects travelers to a global network of trusted, local doctors through an easy-to-use app, ensuring 24/7 access to quality, appropriate medical assistance in 75 countries and counting.
Using the app, travelers can browse doctors, filter according to their preferences, and schedule either a clinic, at-home, or virtual consultation with a doctor of their choice, at a date, time, and location that suits them. With the added benefit of being able to provide valid, local prescriptions, travelers can experience the medical care they know, in the places they don’t. Air Doctor also provides 24/7 multilingual customer support so travelers can get help every step of the way.
The beauty of the platform is customers don’t need to worry about paying at the doctor’s office or deal with the hassle of filing a claim – since there are no out-of-pocket expenses when the service of a virtual medical consultation is used through a partnered provider – Faye being one of them. Ultimately, we provide travelers with a fully, digital, cashless, and claimless customer journey – significantly enhancing the travel experience.
Air Doctor benefits the entire travel health ecosystem – by providing travelers with peace of mind, creating additional revenue streams for doctors (as well as reducing pressure on local emergency resources), and reducing claims costs for insurers (by up to 50%), all while improving their customer journey.
How many countries do you offer your services in? Which languages do you support?
At present, our multilingual medical network is active in 75 countries across the globe (and counting) and consists of over 20,000 trusted, local doctors and specialists, including GPs, pediatricians, dentists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, gynecologists, orthopedic specialists and more.
Our app supports 7 major languages, provides telemedicine services in up to 21 languages, and our doctors and customer support team speak a wide variety of languages.
What’s the biggest mistake you see when travelers use telemedicine?
While telemedicine can be highly beneficial, it’s essential to understand its scope and when it is most suitable. Travelers may overlook the fact that telemedicine services may have limitations based on local regulations and licensing requirements. For example, some telemedicine platforms may only operate within specific jurisdictions or have restrictions on providing services to travelers in certain regions. It’s important to be aware of these limitations and ensure that the chosen telemedicine service is compliant with local laws and regulations.
To make the most of telemedicine services while traveling, it’s important for travelers to understand its appropriate usage, recognize its limitations, and supplement it with in-person medical care when necessary.
Being well-informed, prepared, and utilizing telemedicine services with good judgment can help travelers benefit from this innovative healthcare solution while ensuring their health and well-being during their journeys.
What are your personal top 3 travel tips?
- Always book your ticket & travel insurance WELL in advance!
- Make time during your trip to connect with the locals – it’s one of the most enriching experiences. Don’t be afraid to learn a few local phrases to make sure you can engage in conversations.
- Travel can put strain on your body, so make sure you are also prioritizing your well-being.
In your opinion, how important are telemedicine services to the future of travel?
Telemedicine services play a crucial role in shaping the future of travel. It has the potential to significantly enhance the healthcare experience for travelers.
Telemedicine allows travelers to access medical care conveniently, regardless of their location – eliminating the need for physical visits to healthcare facilities, saving time and effort, especially in situations where immediate medical attention may not be readily available. Travelers can consult with healthcare professionals remotely, receive medical advice, and even obtain prescriptions when appropriate, all from the comfort of their accommodation.
In the future, telemedicine services can provide accessible, convenient, and timely healthcare solutions for travelers, ensuring continuity of care, overcoming language barriers, and mitigating risks. As technology continues to advance, the integration of telemedicine services into the travel industry is likely to become increasingly prevalent, enhancing the well-being and safety of travelers worldwide.