AfterPay gives MediCheck a prescription for growth
AfterPay boosts financial wellbeing of e-health start-up MediCheck
Thomas Ehrengren and Christian Tärnholm, MediCheck
The entrepreneurs behind Swedish e-health start-up MediCheck aim to help people with chronic illnesses by providing a shortcut to specialists. But, like any young company, they needed to free up cash to ease growing pains. Arvato’s pay-after-delivery solution AfterPay was just the medicine they needed.
MediCheck co-founders Thomas Ehrengren and Christian Tärnholm looked to Uber and Airbnb for inspiration for their business model: rethinking and repackaging existing services to make them more appealing to today’s digital-savvy consumers. Backed by start-up accelerator Frogleap and TWIST Digital, they came up with an online platform where people with chronic illnesses can book consultations with specialists via video.
Patients can even rate the specialists that assist them, much like you would a taxi ride or a hotel room. Another source of inspiration was Stockholm’s Emergency Medical Group, which allows specialists working in their free time to deliver 24-hour care services to the police and the Swedish Prison and Probation Service.
MediCheck specialists are on call anyplace, anytime.
Thomas and Christian carried out research into specialist care in Sweden and found that 60% of Swedes with chronic illnesses fail to follow up on medical issues. With MediCheck, they now have a shortcut to a large network of licensed specialists.
The service went live in early 2017 and has already attracted around 180 specialists covering a wide range of chronic conditions. Combined, the specialists speak more than 20 languages.
CONVENIENCE THAT DOESN´T COMPROMISE ON SECURITY
Swedes are famously early adopters of technology and there are several e-health services on the market, including the state-run 1177 Vårdguiden.
Whether in banking or healthcare, more and more Swedes want and expect the same level of service they receive from Amazon, Apple or Google.
“People with chronic conditions need better and faster help, and that is possible with today’s technology,” Thomas says. “Also, as there is a growing interest among people to take greater responsibility for their own health, you need alternate paths to the care you need. It was just a case of balancing convenience with security.”
As well as a secure, encrypted service, MediCheck offers peace of mind when it comes to the payment process. Patients do not need to have their credit or debit card on hand when booking a consultation or worry about paying right away. At checkout, they can choose to pay through AfterPay. After a simple credit check, an invoice is sent via email. Patients get 14 days to pay and the option of dividing up payments to make it more affordable.
“The decision to offer invoices was a no-brainer,” Christian says. “If you have an e-health service, it just seems natural to have it built in. With invoice, patients have the convenience of knowing they can spread their payments into monthly instalments. That makes life easier for them. While for us, it is smooth, fast and there’s no fuss.”
FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL ADVANTAGES
A core benefit of AfterPay is simplicity. For MediCheck, this translates into everything from the payments process to the seamless integration of APIs.
“AfterPay’s API is really neat,” Christian adds. “A request is sent to AfterPay for a credit check and once you pass, an invoice is created right away.”
Jacob Wootz, Online Payment Advisor at Arvato, says one of the main advantages of AfterPay for a start-up like MediCheck is that they get paid directly, which frees up essential capital. “Better liquidity and a more streamlined billing process are good news for any new company. And they can leave all the admin, from invoicing to payment processing, to us.”
Christian agrees. “With AfterPay we don’t have to wait for the invoice due dates and the money comes two days after the transaction,” he says. “As a start-up, we need every dime, especially in the beginning, because until we have reached a certain level and have some margins that security is crucial.”
AfterPay also feeds payment data into Google Analytics that MediCheck can use to optimise the customer experience.
MediCheck plans to offer online consultations with psychologists and therapists as well as subscriptions and bundled services that combine specialist care with advice from other experts, such as nutritionists and physical therapists. There are also plans to expand outside Sweden.
“One of the things that attracted us to Arvato was its strong local presence across Europe and that they are well positioned to support us as we move into other markets,” Thomas says.
The new healthcare
In Sweden, 44% of the population lives with one or more chronic diseases, such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes or any other condition that last for more than three months.
The Swedish healthcare system is stretched to breaking point and waiting times are among the worst in Europe. Acute problems are prioritised so patients with chronic illness often need another route to specialist care.
After several months of beta testing, MediCheck launched in March 2017.
Medical consultants can work whenever they choose. There are no obligations on the time they dedicate to MediCheck and they can schedule themselves anything from 15 minutes to full time.
The price for a drop-in consultation is 350 kronor, which is the same as for visiting a specialist clinic. An emergency room visit in Stockholm costs 400 kronor.
180 specialists are available for consultation with no need for a referral.