Bupa Arabia, the Saudi-owned and publicly traded health insurance company, has just announced its backing of the Dubai-based online appointment booking platform, Okadoc.
The two MENA businesses have signed a “strategic partnership”, which includes an undisclosed equity investment by Bupa Arabia in Okadoc.
Part of the Bupa Global network, Bupa Arabia backed the healthtech startup as part of its mission to “enhance customer experience and elevate the level of its digital healthcare services”.
CFO Nader Ashoor explained: “One of Bupa Arabia’s key strategic priorities is to expand its investment portfolio in innovative tech companies.
“The partnership comes in line with the aspirations of the [Saudi] Ministry of Health, the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance [CCHI], and the Central Bank [SAMA] in driving digital transformation in the sector in accordance with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Founded in 2018 by Fodhil Benturquia, who currently serves as CEO, Okadoc describes itself as “the only one-stop shop patient engagement platform that is directly integrated with providers’ health information systems [HIS/EMR], allowing patients to see real-time availabilities and book video and in-person appointments seamlessly without any admin support”.
According to the company, its technology has been proven to optimise healthcare appointment bookings, reducing “no-shows” by as much as 75%, and offer new revenue streams via online consultations.
It has so far secured funding of approximately $12.3 million.
WHY IT MATTERS
The partnership will see Bupa Arabia’s insured members being offered instant medical appointments with doctors “across more than 60 specialities”, as well as other digital health services via the platform.
“We will always need doctors’ offices, but it’s up to digital health innovators to facilitate the right mix of in-person and virtual interactions,” continued Nader.
Last month, Bupa Arabia announced the launch of its telehealth platform that specialises “value-added healthcare services such as doctor-patient video consultations [telemedicine] and appointment booking”.
Bupa Arabia COO, Mohamed El Missaoui, said at the time: “Digital transformation is a key pillar in our strategy. We are committed to transforming the delivery of healthcare services by expanding our digital leadership and creating sustainable and accessible technological solutions.
“We are proud to be working with the most prestigious partners from the healthcare sector in the Kingdom that include major hospitals and healthcare professionals while also further advancing our capabilities by partnering with other tech healthcare platforms such as Okadoc and Sanar.”
ON THE RECORD
“Our mission at Okadoc has always been simple: to improve the healthcare experience for all,” said Benturquia. “Our white label solution is currently adopted by some of the region’s largest providers and payers. Through our technology, patients will have direct access to top hospitals and clinics throughout the Kingdom – this is exactly the type of game-changing technology that the sector needs.
“We look forward to our strategic partnership with Bupa Arabia to help us achieve our mission and prepare us for our next stage of growth.”