Instead of acquiring their own building and staff, the platform allows them to sublease underutilised consultation rooms when it’s available in private practices and hospitals. The platform also manages their administration and patient bookings.
The startup also offers hospital admission rights and theatre access through a pilot with two hospital groups, allowing specialists access to hospital facilities while still consulting outside of the hospital from the Ingress facility network.
The platform which went live in December last year was founded in 2018 by three doctors; Jason McArthur, Noxolo Gqada and Nicolina Bardou. McArthur, who serves as CEO of Ingress Healthcare, says the startup has raised R11-million in total from investors since its inception.
The previous R5-million was raised in January 2019 and came from Enso Equity as well as a local angel investor who is a property mogul. Each committed R2.5-million to the round, says McArthur. McArthur also notes that the cost of rent and administration can typically come to about 60% of specialists’ or general practitioners’ revenue.
But take away the building rental and outsource the receptionist and back-office work to the platform, and a doctor will end up paying far less in overheads. Ingress Healthcare works on a variable “pay as you use” model that typically ends up costing the practitioner roughly half of what a traditional practice model would cost them. The Ingress model mitigates practitioner risk when they are growing their practice. At a time where private healthcare providers are struggling in the wake of COVID-19, the Ingress model protects professionals from this market variability.
To source available space, McArthur says the startup first gets in contact with doctors and hospitals to check if there is ever a time when their consulting rooms are usually not in use — it typically looks for stretches of four hours where rooms are free.
When there are regular free time slots, the startup then puts in a request to book these slots after which these slots become available on the platform to other doctors and specialists in the surrounding area.
McArthur says the platform has currently enrolled 30 practitioners in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth - using the facilities of the platform, these practitioners have had about close to 1 000 patient consultations in the last three months.
He says the startup is perfecting all its systems before attempting to scale beyond this to “ensure great service delivery”. However, the startup plans to add practitioners from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal “very soon”.
The platform, he says, is about to launch an offering “in the next two weeks” which will allow patients to book a consultation with a medical professional online. When the offering goes live, the platform will essentially offer a full digital service, which will allow patients to book a consultation with a medical professional, who will in turn be able to use a consulting room at a nearby medical practice or hospital on the Ingress network.
Furthermore, Ingress Healthcare has launched a Virtual Healthcare Platform offering South Africans high-quality medical assistance, accessible from any device. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ingress encourages South Africans to adhere to lockdown restrictions without the fear of being deprived of healthcare from trusted professionals.
“At Ingress Healthcare, together with our team of certified GP’s, paediatricians, ENTs, dermatologists, psychiatrists and physiotherapists, we strive to support the health of South Africans no matter where they are based and further our efforts in flattening the curve,” McArthur concludes.
For more information, please visit www.ingresshealthcare.co.za