Emmanuel Opati talks about how XpertCare is tackling wait times for paediatric patients

Emmanuel Opati is the CEO and Co-Founder of the organisation, XpertCare. The firm consists of a network of subspecialists who are tasked with providing e-Consults to paediatric primary providers. They are the only provider-to-provider telemedicine platform compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 1996 and are dedicated completely to providing e-Consults and medical second opinions to paediatric patients. XpertCare recently received a $100 000 commitment from an Angel Investor and are continually looking to innovate and bolster their services.

Lucky for us, Emmanuel was able to answer a few questions about his telemedicine business.

Emmanuel, what motivated you to start XpertCare and did you encounter any setbacks during this process?

XpertCare is a telemedicine company based in Baltimore, Maryland. We provide subspecialty care to paediatric patients. We were inspired to start XpertCare because the healthcare system in the US is broken. Everyone in the US knows this. One of my co-founders personally encountered this broken system. He was a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital when his child needed to see a paediatric subspecialist. However, the next available appointment was six weeks away. As a parent, there is no way I can wait six weeks to see a doctor. Then the question was: If a doctor at one of the best institutions in the world was struggling to get his child timely care, what about the majority of us who are not doctors at world renown hospitals? The more we looked into this issue, the more we realized that access to paediatric subspecialty care is a big problem for millions of families in the US. We started XpertCare to help families get timely access top paediatric subspecialists using cutting-edge technology. As a telemedicine company, we believe all families should have access to timely and appropriate care no matter where they live.

Since we are a provider-to-provider service, the biggest challenge we faced was incentivizing primary care providers to use our service. They are very busy people and although they want to help their patients, at the end of the day, time is money.

How do you think e-Consults benefit the patient and the provider?

e-Consults help patients save time and money. For example, recently I got contacted by a mother of a 10-year old boy who had been referred to an allergist because he had a rash across his face. When his mother called the doctor’s office to schedule the appointment, the next available appointment was five months away and they would have drive 40 miles to get there. They contacted us because we are able to connect them to our allergist right away and the patient did not have to wait five months. Therefore, e-Consults help patients get timely subspecialty care, avoid unnecessary travel, and save money. Our service helps primary providers manage some chronic illnesses like Asthma and diabetes at the point of care in consultation with the subspecialists in our network.

You offer services in dermatology, child psychiatry, orthopaedics and gender affirmation advice. Which area do you find receives the most demand from individuals?

Dermatology has the most volume simply because there is a limited number of paediatric dermatologists in the US and parents are always worried about skin rashes. The other area of demand is Child Psychiatry. The wait time to see a Child Psychiatrist ranges from six months to one year. There is a lot of demand for Child Psychiatry e-Consults and we intend to grow our network and help more families.

How important is technology for your business and how does it shape your processes?

Technology is very important to the services we provide. It enables us to deliver services irrespective of geographical barriers and boundaries. Fundamentally we are in the business of transporting expertise and not people. What we did first was to build a network of experts. This network is not limited by geography but it is enabled by technology. Doctors in the US can join our network irrespective of where they live. Now that we have a network of top paediatric subspecialists, patients can access our subspecialists from anywhere. You don’t have to live in the city to get access to the best doctors.  Technology has also enabled us to streamline our processes and cut-down wait times from months to 48 hours.

How large is your subspecialist network and what type of qualities do you look for in your specialists?

I first need to mention that there is a shortage of paediatric subspecialists in the country. The challenge is that we cannot mass produce them because it takes many years of education and training to become one. As a company, we are proud to say that we have more than 60 paediatric subspecialists in our network from 16 subspecialties. To give you context, an average community hospital in the US has about six paediatric subspecialists. We have ten times that number. To give you another example, there are many hospitals without a Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon. We have two in the network.

To join our network, you need to be board-certified and credentialed to practice medicine in the US, be known by your peers as one of the best in your subspecialty, and finally, you must have a referral from someone who is already in our network.

What are some of the daily challenges of running XpertCare and how important is workplace flexibility?

Like any other Start-up company, there are daily challenges of customer acquisition, fundraising, hiring the right talent, and just making sure that we are meeting the expectations of our customers. One of the great things about our company is that we have a very strong management team comprised of mainly physician entrepreneurs. We have doctors who have founded companies and doctors who direct entire departments at academic medical centers which is great experience they bring to the company. However, what glues the team together is that we are all parents and are very passionate about increasing access to paediatric subspecialty care.

We take workplace flexibility seriously. As a telemedicine company, this is a big reason we attract the best doctors into our network. Doctors in our network set their own schedule. Everyone knows that the turnaround time of a case is 48 hours. But no-one is required to take a case. Also, our flexibility means that doctors do not have to go to a hospital to be valued. Like other professions, skills, knowledge, and expertise of doctors can be valued and compensated for outside the traditional doctor’s office or the hospital. If this appeals any doctor out there, please reach out to me.

Do you have any plans for long-term growth or expansion?

Yes. Our long-term plan is to be a one-stop-platform for paediatric care. Imagine a world where a parent who needs to make an appointment with a paediatric pulmonologist, a paediatric allergist, a paediatric endocrinologist, a behavioral therapist, and a nutritionist can do it in five minutes on one platform. This will save parents a lot of time and money. Parents spend a lot of time, energy, and money making and driving to appointments not to mention time spent in waiting rooms. We are committed to streamlining the process to save parents time and money.

Thank you Emmanuel for sharing your thoughts with us!
You can follow up with Emmanuel Opati at https://xpertcare.online

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world. You can contact Mike here.
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