Docspert’s founder Professor Hisham Mehanna is a world-renowned ear, nose, throat, head and neck surgeon, with an international reputation in the management and research of head and neck and thyroid cancer.
He explains: “It is common for patients given a diagnosis of a serious medical condition to seek a second medical opinion. As such, I was seeing many people, often travelling from around the world, who were desperate to have their diagnosis and treatment checked.
“In an alarming number of cases, I found the original diagnosis to be incorrect, or that their treatment could be improved. Around half of patients recommended surgery didn’t in fact need it.
“To solve this sub-optimal standard of global healthcare, and to put an end to sick people’s time and effort to find and visit the correct health expert for an accurate diagnosis, I wanted to develop something that would correct this imbalance.”
While holidaying in San Francisco with his IT-expert brother in the summer of 2018, Hisham was inspired by the work being done in Silicon Valley, and began to explore how the power of technology could be used to democratise patient access to the world’s best healthcare professionals and experts.
“The original idea was for an online healthcare platform providing second medical opinions from global healthcare experts in the UK, US and Europe, and would remove the need for patients to travel to get a second opinion from the best medics wherever they are in the world.”
With the concept formed, Hisham developed Docspert with two colleagues Ahmed Elkamin and Mohamed Hatan, both doctors working in Egypt.
Docspert went live in January 2020.
“From patient’s initial enquiry, Docspert matches the patient with the correct medical expert based on the nature of the condition or disease. Our team obtain a full medical and case history and prepare a case file. Patients choose either a virtual consultation or meeting via video call, to discuss our experts’ opinion, diagnosis, and treatment.”
During a nine-month pilot, hundreds of people in the Middle East, Egypt, the US, Malaysia, Thailand and the UK, came to Docspert.
As demand for services soared, the Docspert team planned its formal launch, and investment to support the next stage in development.
Docspert secured early-stage funding from a team of Angel Investors, among them Richard Haywood, a former managing partner in a law firm, who nowadays takes a non-executive role in private equity backed businesses in the technology and professional services sector.
Richard explains: “Docspert’s tech-based concept and operation is groundbreaking and has already saved hundreds of people from unnecessary surgery and procedures, where more up-to-date treatments have come along.”
18 months on from its formal launch, Docspert has completed two rounds of Private Equity investment. It provides access to 160 of the world’s leading healthcare professionals in around 40 medical specialists including oncology, neurology, immunology, rheumatology, paediatrics, orthopaedics and spinal surgery.
“The statistics speak for themselves,” says Hisham. “Of the last 300 patients, 21% have come to Docspert with no or a wrong diagnosis. As a result of Docspert’s expert correcting or identifying the diagnosis, 78% of patients have received changed or improved treatment, and 41% of patients have not had to have the incorrectly recommended surgery.
“This is why we are so committed to expanding the business, to make this life-changing service and support available to as many people as possible.
“Among Docspert’s life-changing and life-saving results, is one case that sticks in my mind,” says Hisham. “The mother of a 15-year-old girl diagnosed with ovarian cancer contacted Docspert, desperate to find out if there was an alternative to the recommendation from three surgeons that her daughter should have surgery to remove both ovaries and the womb – a procedure that was scheduled to happen three days later, and which would leave her unable to have children.
“Docspert requested the girl’s medical records, and subsequently put the family in touch with one of the world’s leading ovarian cancer surgeons, who reviewed the information, and told the family that the recommended surgery was not necessary at all. He recommended treatment to remove only the affected ovary, followed by chemotherapy. With the advice just one hour before the surgery was to take place, the girl’s parents instructed the surgeons to carry out the revised surgical treatment. The surgery and treatment were a success, the young girl is now well, and living her life normally.”
“Consultation, a comprehensive appreciation of the patient’s medical history and diagnostics, are the bedrock of the Docspert service,” Hisham adds.
“It enables our team to match the right expert to help patients get the right diagnosis and treatment. We will continue to build on this as Docspert evolves and grows.”
“As well as using technology to innovate the diagnosis and treatment of serious medical conditions from top medical experts, Docspert puts patients at its heart, saving and improving the lives of hundreds of people across the world,” says Graham.
“It is a pleasure to play a part in helping Docspert to provide their services which clearly deliver a very real social benefit and transform many people’s lives,” adds Leanne.
Richard adds: “I know what good legal service and advice looks like, and Lodders delivers, with excellent advice, and sound commercial experience, always providing innovative solutions, whatever the challenge.”
This article first published in issue 8 of our magazine, Lodders Life.Contact us
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