We talked to Vladimir Kovalskiy, CEO and founder of Medesk, about the use of technology to improve healthcare and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Vladimir Kovalskiy: We are trying to maintain a balance between indoor and outdoor activities. This is especially important with young kids who always want to take part in activities that we have pretty limited access to right now. We have become accustomed to ordering most things online and are glad that online shopping is so readily available.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Medsek.
Vladimir Kovalskiy: My parents are doctors, so since childhood, I’ve heard a lot about how bureaucratic medicine is and how much time it takes for a practitioner to handle their paperwork. I studied software development at the Tokyo University of Technology and dreamed of creating a simple and convenient medical platform that could save practitioners and practice managers time and energy.
I started my project in 2008 when cloud technologies first began to actively develop. They allow you to save time and money on the implementation of complex equipment and are available to clinics that cannot afford expensive software. In 2015, we launched the Medesk cloud platform, which allows any clinic employee, from managers to clinicians to receptionists, to automate their work and concentrate on patient care.
How does Medsek innovate?
Vladimir Kovalskiy: We live in a digital era, where people search for clinics on Google, and doctors are chosen based on reviews on social media. Patients now prefer to make appointments online through online booking forms on the clinic website and receive their test results and prescriptions via SMS or email. So we are doing our best to make all the clinics we work with truly digital, and more able to meet patients’ growing needs.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Vladimir Kovalskiy: 2020 was a difficult but interesting year. We stopped renting physical office space, which helped us save some money. The Medesk team had to get used to working remotely without losing the quality of service and customer support we are known for. The widespread transition to remote work gave us the opportunity to hire specialists from different countries and significantly expand our presence in other markets.
Despite the surprises of this challenging year, we released so many new features such as an in-built Telemedicine module with the accompanying Medesk Meet app for patients to use.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Vladimir Kovalskiy: Luckily I did not. We consider human capital and team culture to be the most valuable resources for our company so we have reduced every other expense we possibly could without sacrificing HR. We accelerated our growth and squeezed more value from all the acquisition channels we could in order to keep our team fully on board. We have discovered how the scarcity of resources can improve efficiency and creativity.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Vladimir Kovalskiy: This year was very difficult for clinics and for healthcare in general. Because of the lockdown, private practices could not conduct appointments, and many of them were on the verge of closing. We understood the gravity of the situation and tried to retain clients, in some cases revising their contracts. We helped many of our client clinics to adapt their business processes for more effective remote work and collaboration. I think the most important thing is that we tried to help clinics to retain their patients in large part by building online consultations into the Medesk platform.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Vladimir Kovalskiy: We have previously won a grant, but you have no idea how much paperwork there is involved just so we could use this money! All that bureaucracy takes up so much of your time and your business simply stops functioning as it should, so I can say that support from the government is just an illusion. You need to rely only on yourself.
Your final thoughts?
Vladimir Kovalskiy: Healthcare has undergone a tectonic shift due to the COVID pandemic. The adoption of technology has accelerated and we’ve definitely skipped ahead 3-5 years at this fast pace. We are yet to understand how deeply both patients and providers will be influenced by this. Patients are empowered as ever to stay healthy and be in charge of their health.
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