Real doctors, real problems. These are what Colombian startup 1DOC3 bring together by having doctors answering a host of common medical problems in Spanish. The free-of-charge service offers medical advice discreetly to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it or access quality medical care.
The app sprang from founder Javier Cardona’s own experiences when working in the Middle East, when he was in need of medical advice in Spanish. “The experience was horrible and I couldn’t understand why it was so difficult to interact with a doctor online,” Cardona told LATAM.tech.
Since 2014, the startup has been constantly amassing new queries and have as of today over a million users of the free health consultations in Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and Peru. They currently have 400 doctor’s on board as well to answer the multiple questions that might be aimed at them.
The doctor’s themselves answer around 600 questions a month and come via references and are trained for quality before they answer their first questions. Cardona said that the doctors earn between US$300-600 a month answering everything from the banal concerns of the hypochondriac to quintessential Latin American questions like “does guava juice cure diarrhea.
Interestingly, approximately 30-32% the queries lodged on 1Doc3 are asked by teenagers on issues of sexuality. Cardona believes that the platform can be a powerful replacement for a lack of sex education within Latin America. By way of example, the platform was able to show why public policy needed to improve the Colombian government’s commitment to contraceptives as it was shown that the majority of teenagers and young adults were abandoning their contraceptive due to side-effects. “We not only answer the questions, we also interact with public and private institutions on this issue,” Cardona said of the positive impact their data insights can give. The technology can be a vital tool here to undo the negative effects in society, like teenage pregnancy, the spread of STIs and more traditional views on contraception.
The vast data on answered questions also provides some deep insights into what ails a society. As the consultations are free, 1DOC3 monetises their data by selling their insights to insurance companies and big pharmaceuticals. Their current pharma clients include Roche, Novartis and Bayer. Their roster impressed the panel of judges at the recent TechCrunch Battlefield Latin America in Sao Paulo, reaching the finals but were unable to win the competition outright. In addition to this, they’ve also grabbed Facebook’s attention and will be helping the social network bring affordable Internet services to less developed countries by way of their internet.org initiative.