An Israeli start-up is poised to help Russians find the health services they need and which are largely inaccessible to many of them.
According to the Moscow Times, statistics issued by the Russian government show that health care “has become inaccessible for a large part of the population, especially in rural areas: doctors labor under increased workloads, thereby compromising patient care; mortality in hospitals has increased; general morbidity is on the rise; and doctors are inundated with paperwork.”
ArchiMedicX, an Israeli start-up, has teamed up with the Mail.Ru Group, the largest internet company in Russia, to provide users with information about the top treatment facilities in the world and the best treatment options for their situation.
“About 50 million people a year travel to new locations to receive health-care,” said Moni Milchman, chairman and CEO of ArchiMedicX. “We want to enable these people to make the most informed decision while selecting the best hospital for a specified medical procedure.”
With millions of Russians desperate for better care, and able to afford paying for it, Milchman believes that his company’s partnership with the group “is critical. There is a huge population of Russian-speaking citizens who often look abroad for more comprehensive healthcare solutions, and Health Mail.Ru, the platform we are working with, is the most popular health portal for Russian-speakers, enabling us to provide our services to this wide audience.”
Established barely six months ago, ArchiMedicX is already providing millions around the world with information about the most suitable hospitals across the globe for their medical condition and procedure, allowing users to seek better, faster, and cheaper treatment tailored to their specific needs (budget, waiting time, language, food, etc), said Milchman.
Using big data, the system mines information supplied by the Health Information Management Systems Society, the largest global nonprofit organization, which collects information about hospital care, results, treatment programs, price, doctors, languages spoken – even patient opinion on the quality of the food – to help users figure out the best place to get treatment, whether nearby or across the world.
With medical tourism a burgeoning business, the time is right for a platform like ArchiMedicX, said Milchman. In 2014 alone, that business was worth over $100 billion, and it is growing by as much as 20% a year.
“In most Western countries, the question of what hospital to go to is based on hearsay, with friends and relatives telling each other that they heard that an institution is good or bad, especially for elective procedures. In a few cases you might get a professional opinion, but that could be because the doctor is affiliated with that institution.”
As a result, medical information is one of the most popular searches on Google. In the US alone, said Milchman, 80% of Internet users search for medical information on a regular basis. Of those, 56% seek out information about a specific medical condition that affects them or a loved one, and a total of 36% of Internet users look online for information about hospitals or other medical facilities.
In other countries the situation can be even more confused. “In the developing world there are no such opinions or data resources,” noted Milchman, and in many cases, patients prefer to take their chances at home than to enter a hospital for treatment, when it is not at all certain they will come out well – or even alive.
That sums up the situation in Russia, according to The Moscow Times report, which quotes numerous experts on the glum situation sick people there face. Nearly 18,000 towns and villages have no medical care at all, according to the State Statistics Service.
“From 2005 to 2013 the number of health facilities in rural areas fell by 75 percent, from 8,249 to 2,085. That number includes a 95 percent drop in the number of district hospitals, from 2,631 to only 124, and a 65 percent decline in the number of local health clinics, from 7,404 to 2,561,” according to the statistics cited in the report.
A lack of money is the immediate cause of this situation, but to Russians who need medical care, what matters is how they can get the treatment they need. Given a choice, many patients head for abroad, and that is why ArchiMedicX was chosen by Mail.Ru to supply data, said Evgeny Paperny, director of Health.Mail.Ru.
“At Mail.Ru Group, we are consistently striving to provide the best services for the millions of Russians that use our products daily. Healthcare is one of the most searched and talked-about topics on our portal. As such, we are looking forward to offering ArchiMedicX’s healthcare opportunities to our many users who search for medical treatments and solutions.”