"When I'm sick, why can't the doctor come to my house?"
With a simple question from his daughter, Fábio Tiepolo had the idea to create a solution in which patients could request a medical visit at home for primary care, without the need to go to a doctor's office or emergency room, creating a closer and humanized service.
Using technology as an ally to provide unique experiences efficiently, the resulting company, Docway, was able to provide medical care through video and telephone, drawing the attention of primary healthcare providers. Now operating in a B2B2C model, Docway provides services, technology, and expertise in teleorientation and telemedicine.
Docway health professionals aim to understand a patient’s context to propose a more detailed diagnosis. With its primary home care service, the doctor can closely monitor the patient, his or her family, and analyze the external elements that may be affecting his or her health.
As he built his company, Tielpolo began to realize that many patients scheduled appointments just to clear up simple doubts and seek guidance. With the health and technology DNA that built the company, Docway realized video consultation could enable a more accessible and personal connection between doctors and patients.
"When the patient's conditions allow us to be in touch via video, we were able to maximize the use of telemedicine and teleorientation. Still, we have as contingency an extremely prepared team of 3,600 doctors spread across 360 cities in Brazil for in-person home care,” Tiepolo said.
In this way, technology has become one of Docway's main allies in its mission to revolutionize the healthcare industry in Brazil.
After analyzing several solutions, we felt that Twilio had the stability we needed, with security, high performance, and infrastructure. Not to mention that we could also explore other communication solutions, leaving our operation centralized in one partner.
Tiepolo realized early on that it was essential to partner with providers that aligned with his purpose.
"We needed to partner with healthcare operators who would allow us to provide an extremely relevant service, not only for the patient, who is often lost in the health system, but also for professionals in the area,” he explained.
The first partnership was established in 2017. Since then, Docway has started to operate in the B2B2C model, offering its services, technology solutions, and expertise in the area to the largest healthcare operators and insurance companies in Brazil. Docway solutions, such as video appointments, can be used directly on their platform or directly through the operators' official channels via integrations.
"With the arrival of the first business partner, which is one of the largest healthcare operators in Brazil, we started to think about an elastic increase in the volume of services provided,” Tiepolo said.
Tiepolo saw the need to ensure scalability, security, and to have service-level agreements to attend to the growing volume of patients without losing the quality of service. It led him to ask his technical team for a thorough assessment of all potential suppliers of video technology and their solutions—it was then they discovered Twilio.
Docway's Tech Lead Vinícius Reis was looking for solutions to guarantee the stability of the video service—and got it at Twilio.
"When I presented the project with Twilio as a supplier, the main question I was asked was, ‘If we need to scale up the operation and grow 30 times, will we be able to support it with this technology?” he explained. "After analyzing several solutions, we felt that Twilio had the stability we needed, with security, high performance, and infrastructure. Not to mention that we could also explore other communication solutions, leaving our operation centralized in one partner."
Today, in addition to using Twilio Programmable Video for telehealth, Docway also enables telephone screenings via Twilio Flex, Twilio Programmable SMS for messages, and sends emails using Twilio SendGrid.
When Reis considered Docway’s technology options, he never imagined they’d have to be ready to adapt to a pandemic.
"We had two weeks to adjust our operation for COVID-19 pandemic. We recruited doctors, adapted the in-house team following WHO recommendations, and hired a BI platform. One of the few things I wasn't concerned about during this period was with Twilio. I knew our Twilio solution would support the volume increase,” he said.
Docway’s average of 1,000 video appointments per month in 2019 increased exponentially with the arrival of COVID-19 in Brazil, reaching 65,000 videos in just one month at the beginning of the pandemic. Phone calls skyrocketed too, to upwards of 5,000 telephone contacts per day.
“It is with great regret and mixed feelings that we think of any type of growth within a scenario like this, where people are exposed to a pandemic. To face this challenge, we put our purpose ahead of everything, using our solutions that combine health and technology,” Reis said.
Tiepolo agreed: "Every day, when our numbers increase, we are aware that we are making a delivery of great value to the health system, guaranteeing medical care of quality and at a distance.”
For Tiepolo, it is difficult to predict the future of health with COVID-19 dominating the present. But, he said, he believes we are living in a moment of market rupture that will leave a lasting mark on the way people consume and interact with healthcare.
"When we overcome this situation, people will ask themselves, 'Why do I go to a doctor's office, if I can get a quality consultation without having to leave my house?' It is following this idea that Docway is preparing for the future,” he said.
We had two weeks to adjust our operation for COVID-19 pandemic. We recruited doctors, adapted the in-house team following WHO recommendations, and hired a BI platform. One of the few things I wasn't concerned about during this period was with Twilio. I knew our Twilio solution would support the volume increase