On-demand access to Canadian doctors by text and video

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Hey Product Hunters! Co-founder and CEO here. I'm really excited about opening up the kimono on Akira - we've been working on it for almost a year now! Akira is based on the radical notion that healthcare should work the way you do - i.e. it should be available to you on-demand, wherever you happen to be, and in the medium you prefer. Most of the world's population doesn't have access to great healthcare, but they do have phones, which is why text is at the heart of how Akira works. In fact, around 60% of consults on Akira are text-only! Canada has been surprisingly untouched by digital health in the past, so we're initially focusing our efforts there. Canada spends $220B on healthcare and has a fairly homogenous set of laws across the provinces - we think the opportunity to scale quickly across Canada is tremendous. We'll be expanding into other markets in the near future, so I'd love feedback on where you think a service like Akira could have the greatest impact! Our long-term mission is to bring high-quality healthcare to the world. We'll get there by progressively enhancing the abilities of medical professionals with narrow AI. We'll know we've succeeded when a young mother in Mozambique or Laos, or anywhere else in the world, can access world-class medical advice on her phone for pennies. I really hope you enjoy Akira! Cheers, Dustin
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@dwalper Major congrats Dustin! Love what you are doing. Big Market, big vision & superstar team. Can't wait to see how you will attack the U.S. Market in the Obamacare era. There's lots of interesting things happening in the health space including in the US (e.g. Oscar Health). As a proud and local Torontonian, always excited to see a local start up flourish. Congratulations!
@aeroechelon Thanks Marvin! We're proud to be a Canadian team that thinks globally.
@dwalper Hey! This is a neat product, and I'm super enthusiastic of Canadian advances in healthcare and technology. Good things are happening here in the North! Still, just a quick note: can we please not use "open the kimono" as a phrase? There's better language out there – in this case, "launching" might have worked just as well. Thanks!
@ryanjamurphy Hey Ryan - thanks for the encouragement! :-) We want Canada to be a world leader in digital health - we certainly have the talent in this country!
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Congrats on the progress, Dustin. One of my favourite features of this product: fill a prescription remotely with a simple virtual doctor visit, and have it delivered to your door.
Hey Dustin, congrats on the launch. Participating in your beta, so far so good. What's the biggest thing you have learned from your users? Any unexpected feedback from early adopters?
@darynakulya Hey Daryna - great question! The biggest learning lesson has actually been around the importance of text. During the week, many members work at a desk, often in an open office environment (we've indexed heavy on tech companies in our beta set). It can actually be challenging to find a good place to take a video call, particularly a sensitive one with a doctor. We weren't sure which people would prefer, but something like 60-70% of our consults have been conducted entirely by text. We've also found there are certain ingrained notions that take some education to change - for example, this idea that an appointment is necessary. We want to be on-demand, which means when you want to talk to a doctor there will be a doctor. That can be hard for people to wrap their heads around given the current state of the system :-) As for unexpected feedback - I've been amazed at the range of issues we've seen thus far. Really interesting stuff, and higher engagement than I expected. Over 20% of employees in our first beta companies have used Akira in the first 6 weeks (for real medical issues, not just to test the service - we take those out of our metrics).
@dwalper Interesting, I've found messaging option to be super convenient in the open office environment :)
This is so awesome! How does this work/fit into insurance? How do the doctors get compensated?
@d0b0 Hey Sam! Thanks for the questions and encouragement. So at launch we'll have two options - either employers can provide Akira as a benefit to employees, or you'll be able to sign up yourself on a monthly subscription. Pricing-wise it will be in the ballpark of a Netflix subscription, cancel anytime. Insurance is something we're working on - for companies that have Health Spending Accounts, it's am eligible expense which keeps it simple. For more standard coverages, we're working with insurers to get Akira covered in the future. Right now we just negotiate a rate with each company based on expected utilization. Doctors are compensated by Akira directly. At the moment these services aren't covered by provincial health insurance. We actually pay doctors for time rather than patient volume, so they're not pressured to churn through patients - we want them focused on providing the best possible care.
I am in Florida. I would love to use your product.
@asya Awesome! The US may well be our next target market.