29.04.2015

Qoolife: health entrepreneurship to ensure quality of life

Image | Qoolife

Qoolife is an online consultation platform linking doctors and patients created by two entrepreneurs with a desire to improve patient care. We talked to the company’s CEO, David Gil, about the project. 

How did the idea to establish a company like Qoolife come about? Explain to us how the initiative was born.

Qoolife arose from a desire to use commonly-used technologies to improve patients’ self-management and doctor-patient access and communication. As two entrepreneurs with different career backgrounds and experiences, we formed the core of a multidisciplinary team to take aim at a very ambitious objective: Rafael Pinilla, a doctor and economist experienced in both care and management; and me, David Gil, an engineer with a career path in medical technology and the online world. The two of us glimpsed a future with dramatically more efficient health services thanks to the Internet and mobile technologies, one in which patients are more independent when it comes to taking care of their health, and at the same time more satisfied with the services they are offered.

Qoolife is a peculiar name: Where does it come from?

Very peculiar. It was really difficult to find a name that captured our vision and could also compete in the worldwide online market, recognisable in any language. Qoolife is a loose acronym of “Quality of Life,” which is what we want for our users. Our name also subtly features one of our secret weapons and talismans for success: the double “o,” pronounced like “u,” also appears in the names of some of the world’s most important online companies, such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo. 

What are the advantages of Qoolife with respect to traditional consultations at medical centres?

If we compare online consultations with traditional ones at medical centres, we see that the advantages are many and significant: the reduced transport costs and physical consultation space results in more reasonable prices for patients, greater scheduling and geographic flexibility, and the transparent selection of doctors.

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Image | Qoolife

How many medical specialties does Qoolife cover?

Currently at Qoolife we have haematologists, paediatricians, clinical psychologists, gynaecologists, midwives, neurologists, primary care doctors, sexologists, surgeons, aesthetic professionals, dieticians, opticians, nurses… Our platform accommodates all medical specialties, and is open and also highly recommended for other disciplines and medical therapies, like psychology, nutrition, nursing… Really, any medical professional who is thinking about offering his patients a channel of care through the Internet can do so very easily with Qoolife. 

How medically reliable is a platform like Qoolife?  Are the recommended treatments safe?

Firstly, all the professionals who offer services through Qoolife have been approved before they can offer services to patients. This point is especially important for us, as a new means of attention like this one demands an additional level of oversight and reliability.

It should also be mentioned that the only services offered through Qoolife are those that do not require an in-person examination by a professional. There are, nevertheless, a great number of consultations involving questions about treatments, health tracking in cases of problems already diagnosed, and second opinions. In these cases answers over the Internet are perfectly feasible once the doctor has all the necessary information provided by the patient. Qoolife develops follow-up tools and instruments to gather specific data for each specialty, while also making available to patients a health file in the Cloud storing all this information, free of charge. 

How do you handle patient privacy and data protection?

Patients’ privacy and the protection of their medical information and communications with their doctors are not only a legal requirement for us, but also an essential commitment to our users. As digital technologies become more and more a part of our lives, concerns are growing regarding user security and privacy, and this is natural. Qoolife makes available to its users security measures similar to those employed in online banking, with regards to the physical and IT security of the servers that store the data, in addition to the coding of communications with the platform.

Last but not least, at Qoolife the data belongs to its rightful owner, the patient, and it is he who decides who he shares it with: his doctors, caregivers… what we refer to as the patient’s “health network.” Qoolife never sells or cedes data to third parties not authorised by the patient. 

Little by little you have come to specialise in paediatrics and services related to expecting mothers. Had you thought about focusing on this from the outset?

From the very beginning we realised that mothers and fathers are the best segment of the population to target for digital health services. First, they are much more likely to accept technological services than others. In fact, many of them already belong to the “digital native” generation. Practically all of them have a smartphone today, and you can tell. All this became clear when Qoolife launched its first online medical consultation services: there were soon more paediatric consultations than for the rest of the fields, and the demand has only risen since then.

Thus Qbaby was born, a project designed to provide first-time parents with peace of mind and assurance through the figure of a “personal online paediatrician” available to answer all those questions that arise during a baby’s first few months. After a few trial months and experience with our users, we decided to launch Qbaby Futura Mamá as a logical extension of the service during pregnancy, furnishing them with support by online midwives and gynaecological specialists.

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Image | Qbaby Futura Mamá

Why is it so important to focus on first-time mothers and fathers?

Because they have the most questions, which can be easily answered via the Internet. The most common questions are those related to sleep disorders, nursing, colic, the introduction of food, daily care, the moods of children and parents, and the baby’s proper development.

All of these issues are pressing problems for inexpert parents, and in most cases they can be cleared up by consulting a specialised professional through Qbaby, in a way that is simple, quick and does not require any travel or waiting. 

What has the response been like to Qbaby by mothers and families in general?

The first users are really satisfied with the service. At this time we are fully immersed in a process of growth and expansion, so we are making improvements to the platform in response to requests by our users, in pursuit of the greatest possible added value.

We are also fortunate in that our list of collaborating doctors boasts a series of professionals who are highly visible and enjoy fine reputations online, famous for the quality of the content that they generate on the Net, or as specialists in specific disorders. This leads many mothers, regardless of where they reside, to really appreciate the option we offer them of accessing these professionals who they already know.

Qbaby, however, is in no case a substitute for traditional medical services. Rather, it seeks to be the ideal online complement to quality in-person paediatric medical care. 

Where do you envision Qoolife and Qbaby 4 years from now?

In the future citizens accessing medical professionals via the Internet will be considered completely normal. Patients’ health will be tracked much better, and they will be able to make more informed decisions.

4 years from now I see Qoolife as a leader in the area of health monitoring services, functioning as a forum where doctors and patients can converge, as well as offering millions of users worldwide the very best digital health products.