July 12, 2024


Unlimited Technology

Dubai-based startup Med Reach on plans ahead

© Motivate Publishing


© Motivate Publishing

Tell us more about Med Reach. How has the reception been since you launched early this year?

We – the founders of Med Reach – have a long history of working with pharma and medical companies. On one hand, we have seen the struggle that pharma companies face when they seek to communicate with doctors, while, on the other hand, doctors are very eager to receive scientific materials from pharmaceutical representatives. Hence, it is to cover this gap that we launched Med Reach. In addition, doctors are constantly looking to update their medical knowledge and upskill themselves by attending courses and seminars. Many doctors also want to share their own best practices with their peers. Hence, we also aim to support medical professionals in their careers via our platform.

Our value proposition has been very well received by doctors and pharma companies during our journey in 2021. So far 40,000 healthcare professionals are in the Med Reach database. Several pharma companies have also used our platform to communicate with doctors and to introduce digital marketing as their main direction.

What are the main challenges that pharma professionals face in the region at present?

Mohammad Shalaby

Generally speaking, there is a global ‘no-rep-policy’. Medical representatives are almost banned from visiting hospitals and other health facilities. This started years before the pandemic. In addition, the number of med reps is escalating rapidly, making it almost impossible for doctors – who have major time constraints – to afford the time to meet all of the reps. For years, face-to-face communication has been the predominant marketing channel used by pharma companies. However, it is both costly and restrictive. Also, the majority of doctors in the market at present are from the younger generation and are tech savvy. Hence pharma companies must invest in making their marketing fit with the economic and demographic changes.

With the number of pharma companies growing, the need to differentiate has also risen, and this is where digitalisation can play a major role.

Digitalisation has become a key driver across sectors. Why do you believe the pharma sector has not kept pace?

From our experience we can say that this was in response to the slow adoption of digitalisation among their main customers (doctors). While some pharma companies did try to establish individual digital initiatives and build their own platforms, this proved to be a failure and a major waste of time and resources. The market lacked a universal match maker suitable for all stakeholders and could be used by all companies simultaneously.

A disruptive alternative was required in the market which could leverage on digital tools and provide a unified and standardised experience for all the industry professionals. The reality is that digitalisation offers a huge opportunity for cost saving while also increasing the accessibility. Communication is key – and having the platform that can ensure doctors and pharma reps stay connected is vital for the industry.

You call yourself a social media platform for industry professionals. Can you elaborate on that?

Abdulkader Tatari

Med Reach is a combination of a social media platform, a learning management system and a telecommunications tool. Doctors currently use traditional social networks such as Facebook and WhatsApp to communicate with their peers and to share their articles, case studies and best practices. Senior doctors also use these platforms as a source for referrals from other junior doctors. Unfortunately, these networks are not suitable for sharing medical practices since communication is messy, untraceable and – most importantly – is not secure.

The Med Reach platform includes a specialised tool called Med Share, which enables doctors to safely share content and interact with their peers and followers. Med Reach is strictly for healthcare professionals and hence enables professional medical communication.

The Covid crisis has been particularly challenging for healthcare professionals. How will you support them when it comes to career growth?

Employees’ safety is a major concern for pharma companies and for hospitals. And what we saw during 2020 – during the pandemic – was the opening up of more opportunities within the telehealth space. At Med Reach, we are getting close to becoming a global hub for medical jobs to support practitioners in their careers. We also offer free access to medical educational programmes as well as online courses. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) have revolutionised e-learning by providing customised and standardised training in an affordable manner.

Your platform also offers online academic courses – have you partnered with any institutes/universities to facilitate that?  

Firas Anjarini

For sure, we have partnered with three major institutes offering accredited programmes in different continents. Other parties provide the accreditation for our in-house courses: ACCME, AACME, RCP are examples of partners that grant accreditation for Med Reach content.

Looking ahead, what kind of a role will technology play in boosting the healthcare/pharma sector in the region?

Digitalisation is the future of the sector. Examples of new opportunities include tele-medicine, online booking, e-pharmacy, remote patient monitoring and medication management. Many companies also now have their own patient support programmes, and many are using technology as these initiatives.

It is clear that technology will supersede many of the current traditional healthcare practices, leading to sales growth and increased margins.

With regards to Med Reach, you have closed your seed funding. Are you now seeking further investment?

Yes, we are looking forward to series A investment. We received our seed fund in early 2019 and managed to make the best out of the first million US dollars.

We contracted with one of the major global powerhouses for the development of the platform. We also invested in building valuable content to be available for free to all doctors. So far Med Reach offers more than 13 courses in MOOC style. In addition, we have organised several webinars.

© Motivate Publishing

With operations now in the UAE, Saudi and Egypt, are you planning to expand into other markets – regionally and globally?

The advantage of Med Reach is that since it is an online platform, it is borderless and can be accessed easily in any geography without the need for technical setup and installation. Users only need to sign up and can get the full benefits for free. We have many reasons to believe that the challenges encountered in the MENA region are similar everywhere around the globe.

Currently, we receive user registrations from all over the world.

We plan to expand to the rest of the MENA region and then target three million healthcare professional users worldwide. This is around 10 per cent of the global number of healthcare professionals.

Lastly, what is your long-term vision for Med Reach?

We are very ambitious and have plans to introduce new features every year for the coming five years. We have plans to offer AI and deep learning very soon. Our aim is to become another success story and a new unicorn arising from the Middle East.

© Motivate Publishing

© Motivate Publishing

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