Health care in Egypt can be a source of nuisance for many; getting an appointment on its own is a challenge, and going to a doctor you don’t know without at least a few personal recommendations is considered downright ridiculous by many Cairenes. Pharmacist Dr Amir Barsoum, CEO of Vezeeta, understands your pain and says he has a solution that will spare you the trouble.
“I personally had a horrible experience booking an appointment for my mother. The doctor, the service and the location were all wrong. I never want patients to have to go through what I went through so Ahmed Badr and I created Vezeeta,” he said.
“Basically, the problem is that patients do not know how to get to doctors. We want to introduce the idea of doctors who use health care technology because it has improved services elsewhere. We always say that if grocers use technology, it doesn’t make sense that doctors don’t. They should have a database of patients,” Dr Barsoum added.
The word “Vezeeta” comes from colloquial Egyptian-Arabic, referring to the receipt patients pay at the end of their visit to the doctor’s; what the service basically does is match patients and doctors- for free.
“If you want to reserve an appointment with a doctor you know, we can do it for you, and if you don’t know the name of a doctor we recommend one for you based on your needs. We look at a number of different factors, like location, price and even education. Some people insist their doctors have a certain educational background and we cater to that need,” said Dr Barsoum.
Dr Barsoum says the service is user-friendly and tailored to customers’ needs: “Patients have the option of going online or calling us. They can give us a doctor’s name, or specify by area and other factors, and we recommend one.”
This raises the question of bias: how can patients make sure that Vezeeta is recommending doctors based solely on merit? And why is the service free? Dr Barsoum said: “The patients recommend the doctors and this is what we take into consideration. If the target is for patients to like Vezeeta, then their feedback is what counts. The doctors are the ones that pay for the service, so it’s in their best interests to satisfy the patients if they want them to come back.”
Using Vezeeta instead of going for the more traditional route is your choice, but Dr Barsoum makes some compelling arguments: “It’s very easy, it is available 24 hours where not all practices answer the phone regularly, we can guarantee very high quality service, meaning you will never be the victim of a secretary’s bad day and finally, it’s completely free.”