Making processes in medical practices simpler through digitization

Laura Diez

Startup Stories

In most medical practices, documents are printed out, filled out personally by patients, scanned, typed, and the original document is then destroyed. This represents a major administrative expense, an expense that could be avoided. 

The Munich-based startup Simpleprax helps to avoid media disruption in the collection of patient data. Medical history sheets, forms and administrative documents no longer have to be printed out but are filled out digitally by the patient directly and imported into the respective practice management software. This replaces manual processes in the doctor's office.

In an interview with 5-HT Digital Hub Chemistry & Health, the two founders Antonia Saleh and Simon Osterlehner talk about their simple idea to drive the digitization in the healthcare industry. 

Making analog processes simpler

"We are a startup from Munich that offers digital medical history and data collection in medical facilities. With our product, doctors can collect patient information directly in a digital way and thus save time in daily processes," Antonia Saleh explains her simple product. The young founder herself grew up in a family of medical professionals and had early contact with common problems in doctors' offices and hospitals. "I was struck by how incredibly analog the processes within the healthcare industry are," Saleh says. For this reason, she made the decision to change something while still in school. In Simon Osterlehner, the young entrepreneur has found a passionate co-founder. "Our goal is to avoid media breaks when retrieving patient data and to digitize all paper forms," says Osterlehner. "Our software also helps to identify abnormalities and need for action in the medical history and display them directly to the doctor." 

Less bureaucracy, more efficient workflows

"Our solution can improve the day-to-day processes in the practice, which are very monotonous. Our customers select the documents you want to share with the patient. For each group of documents, there is a link from which the patient can access the documents to be completed or signed," explains Antonia Saleh. 

The patient can access the link via the medical practice website, or it is already included in the appointment confirmation message, for example, in an email or SMS. The patient fills out the documents and submits them. The information is encrypted and transmitted to the respective practice in real time and can be imported directly into the practice software. Thus, there is no need for duplicate administration of patient data and the bureaucracy is already done before the patient has entered the practice.

Simpleprax is currently focusing on customer groups that also have a younger patient base, for example therapy practices in the field of speech therapy. Still, the startup is aware that not everyone has the ability or the necessary knowledge to fill out documents in advance on their own smartphones. "For medical practices with mixed age groups, we offer a tablet app through which documents can also be filled out digitally in the waiting room. If necessary, the receptionist or an accompanying person can also help," says Osterlehner, explaining how to deal with seniors. 

Simpleprax Dashboard

Less is more: Intuitive software with a focus on data protection and security

Simpleprax is a privacy-compliant, cloud-based and, most importantly, intitive software that enables location-independent digital pre-appointment data collection. "It's a feature that's long overdue," said Simpleprax's founders. "With the goal of getting to the main functions with as few clicks as possible, we now have a very intuitive software that's also secure with end-to-end encryption." Currently, Simpleprax is the most secure product on the market, and the company plans to build on this position in the future.

Increased cooperation instead of competition

"The days of patients having to lug large envelopes of X-rays from doctor to doctor are over. Ideally, digitization in healthcare should have happened yesterday" say the two co-founders of Simpleprax. 

"Right now, there is a huge boom of digital solutions in healthcare. Many individual providers are developing solutions for small sub-problems, there is a huge glut on the market right now. We believe that at some point in the future, a unified platform for bringing digital healthcare together will be of great benefit. Because when solutions are developed together, society ends up with the best possible outcome rather than many individual partial solutions to the same problem. There is no other way than to digitize the healthcare industry."

From "university hallway startup" to home office

"We started Simpleprax just a few months before the Covid 19 pandemic. We always say we are not a typical garage startup, but a university hallway startup. In the beginning, we always worked in university hallways or empty lecture halls. Then we suddenly moved to the home office, and everything was digital - but we know all about that. Since we were developing a digital product, we didn't really have any problems during the Covid 19 pandemic. A lot of work was done remotely, and with the necessary security measures in place, we were still able to have customer meetings and continue working productively on our prototype. We had a lot more time because a lot of things naturally fell away on the outside. In addition, there was a rethinking in the market, more digital solutions are needed, so from that point of view we got off quite well. Because suddenly there were many more digital events on this topic in the healthcare industry. In addition, questions had to be clarified, for example, how do you solve the problem with documents within a digital consultation?"

Simpleprax Dahsboard

The future of Simpleprax

"We are already active in some doctors' offices and medical facilities, and we want to grow steadily. That's why we are trying to spread our product not only to medical practices, but also to therapeutic practices. We work closely with our customers to improve our platform in the long term and try to implement customer-specific features in our product. Beyond the medical field, our product can theoretically be used anywhere data needs to be captured digitally. By coming from an industry that is highly regulated in the management of data, our platform is very secure."

Starting up in the healthcare industry - advice for founders: 

"The best advice is simple: just start! In the healthcare industry, it is a great advantage to work with doctors from the very beginning. It's crucial to try to get to the customers directly and analyze the real problems together with them, so that you end up solving what needs to be improved on a day-to-day basis in the practice."

5-HT Digital Hub - A network to build on  

"At 5-HT, we benefit in particular from a large network of strong partners and an active exchange," says Antonia Saleh. "Especially the interfaces within the software are a big problem in digital health applications and this is exactly where we want to actively start and lead by example to develop products that interact well with each other. You must exchange ideas in order to develop strong solutions together. Also, we are already benefiting from 5-HT's very well-selected mentor network, we've already had a call or two with mentors who have helped us. 

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