Many travellers have experienced it. You are abroad and do not feel well. Then it is often difficult to explain what your complaints are in a foreign language. Israeli startup Air Doctor solves that problem by virtually looking for a doctor who speaks your language.
Despite the fact that travel bans and social distances around the world have largely kept people at home, the company has continued to provide its essential services throughout the global health crisis.
The startup is now preparing for a world where travel can look very different and has built a platform that allows travellers to find a suitable doctor abroad based on spoken language, location, medical speciality and assessments.
In December 2019, Air Doctor introduced a telemedicine service that allows travellers to virtually meet physicians who can speak their native language. Yuval Zimerman, Air Doctor’s vice president of marketing and global partnerships, saw the use of his virtual network increase by 150 percent in the past two months as the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is gaining traction in telemedicine and breaking through previously held obstacles, both on the doctor’s side and on the customer’s side,” Zimerman tells NoCamels.
“Doctors are starting to believe in the product as a product that does not interfere with the connection to their patients, and on the other hand, patients are beginning to see that with current technological advances, doctors are well suited to provide accurate diagnoses and consultations through a video call. Seeing this trend, I am confident that telemedicine will continue to grow after COVID-19. ”
Zimerman says the company has a “multilingual database of physicians who speak most popular languages around the world and can also provide prescriptions worldwide.
“For now, we have the option to provide a prescription from a virtual consultation in the UK, most of Western Europe and the US. This is growing naturally, “he said.
With the help of the international physician network, Air Doctor has used its global network and resources to establish a global list of COVID-19 testing sites in 28 countries around the world now that the coronavirus pandemic has broken out, said CEO Jenny Cohen Derfler.
She co-founded the startup in 2016 with her son Yam Derfler, Air Doctor’s business development manager.
“We wanted to use our network for good amid the pandemic,” said Cohen Derfler, “Why not share the resources?”
The comprehensive country guide provides general information and details on where to find medical help. While not every country can provide assistance in English, Air Doctor can help the patient find and schedule a virtual video appointment with an English-speaking doctor.
Last month, the company, which targets individuals as well as physicians, insurance companies and mobile network operators in B2B partnerships, announced it would offer its network to mobile operators to help them recover lost roaming revenues as a result of the global shutdown of tourism and business travel. In a post-COVID-19 world, they said, the mobile industry will need to add more value-added service to encourage people to travel again.
“Mobile operators know exactly where their customers are traveling, so they can easily adjust how their travelers use the service,” Cohen-Derfler said in a statement. “Before COVID-19, travelers generally did not think of getting sick while travelling, now many will be concerned about this possibility when leaving quarantine.
“Mobile operators can increase their customers’ peace of mind by ensuring they have access to physicians anytime, anywhere. Being sick or injured while travelling is frightening and stressful, especially if you don’t know the culture or speak the language, “she added.
Although Air Doctor calls itself an “additional” service that can be used by travellers with or without insurance, the company has a number of partnerships with insurance companies, hotels and other entities.