By @ interview with Sonia Neary, Owner & Founder of PhysioLinked, Chartered Physiotherapist.
Describe the company-elevator pitch
PhysioLinked.com aims to help physiotherapists to grow and manage their practices with minimum fuss and no upfront cost. For patients PhysioLinked.com offers a simple means to find and book a qualified chartered physiotherapist online and in real-time.
Research shows that 90% of patients go to the internet as their preferred channel for managing and accessing information about existing health conditions. A full 72% want to book, change, or cancel appointments online. (Accenture, 2012).
PhysioLinked’s own UK-based independent market research (2016) confirmed that 83% of the 208 patients surveyed would search for and book a physiotherapist online if such a service were available to them. Remarkably, only 17% of physios we asked offer automated online booking.
— Physio Linked (@PhysioLinked) January 31, 2017
How are you different?
We are in a competitive “first mover” advantage position in our immediate market. Not only do we offer physios what bookings.com offer hotels but also a one-stop-shop practice management suite in one central platform.
What makes us different and is most compelling about our offering for physiotherapists is that our innovative business model is a pay-as-you-go offering. This means that there are no more upfront costs for online listing/booking facilities, practice management software, handset rental or minimum monthly credit card fees, etc. Nothing like this currently exists for physiotherapists or clinicians in any setting.
Why Will The Company Do Well?
Our aim is to connect patients and physiotherapists while facilitating the needs of the modern day patient. Patients are leading busy digitized lives and expect the same standard of customer service from healthcare as other service industries.
As a practicing physiotherapist myself, I am acutely aware of the challenges people face when seeking the right qualified chartered physiotherapist. Titles of physiotherapists can be hard for the public to decipher. With all of the various titles out there, it’s hard for patients to make the distinction between chartered physiotherapists and other practitioners with varying levels of education or competence. There are also generic booking sites that don’t always check their clinicians credentials, which might pose a safety risk for the patient.
Our professional body, the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists is still working hard to protect the public in ensuring that the titles of all those working in the industry become registered, which would eliminate the ongoing risk for of title confusion between Physiotherapist and Physical Therapist for example.
PhysioLinked facilitates patient access to qualified professional physiotherapists and offers reassurance, value and convenience to consumers
— Physio Linked (@PhysioLinked) January 27, 2017
Where are we based?
Currently at the Synergy Center in ITT as we won the AIB Start Up Award for the New Frontiers Phase 2 Programme there and that included a fabulous office space at the centre.
When did/will you launch and how will you market the product?
Incorporated on Sept 1st, 2016. Soft launched among Irish physios November 1st . Official Irish launch/public awareness campaign to commence January 3rd
Biggest Wins To Date
Winner AIB Start Up Award Synergy Centre,ITT (Nov 2016)
Runner Up LINC Jumpstart Award (Nov 2016)
Regional Finalist in Start Up category, South Dublin LEO of IBYE (Oct 2016)
What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?
We are targeting the following English-speaking markets for the present:
2017: UK & South Africa
Based on the information supplied to us via the professional physiotherapy bodies in the pertinent jurisdictions and IBIS and Plimsoll industry reports from 2015 & 2016, there are over 133,000 registered physiotherapists working in private sector in the English-speaking territories alone (Ireland, UK, South Africa, Canada, USA, Australia).
In the short term we are targeting- physiotherapists in any private setting in Ireland, the UK, South Africa.
Tell Us About Your Team.
The PhysioLinked (www.physiolinked.com) team consists of founders Ms. Sonia Neary and Dr Greg Martin. Their unique, in-depth sector knowledge has enabled PhysioLinked develop a focused value proposition that meets the needs of a broad range of stakeholders including physiotherapists and patients alike.
Sonia Neary is the company founder and is a practicing chartered physiotherapist (MISCP) with 14 years’ clinic experience in all core areas of rehabilitation in both HSE & private clinic settings. Having successfully developed and run ‘Physio At Home’ (www.physioathome.ie) Sonia now works closely with and manages our talented IT team, Sales & Marketing team, works to source funding supports, develop key partnerships and is involved in the daily administration of the company.
Dr. Greg Martin is co-founder at PhysioLinked. He is a medical doctor with an MBA & Masters in Public Health. Dr Martin has financial & operational experience working with both start-ups & entrepreneurial ventures. As the Director at the Clinton Health Access Initiative, for example, he gained experience managing budgets, project, business processes & staff. Dr Martin has also successfully engaged in entrepreneurial ventures & is also on the board of trustees for IFGH & CBM (Irish healthcare non-profit organizations). Dr Martin is one of the founding partners of Cornerstone consulting, the founder of the academic journal Globalization & Health, the founder of the charity Books for Africa & a co-founder of the Radio HIV Initiative in South Africa. He has successfully raised money for his various ventures from the Open Society Foundation, Pepsico & the Department of Health (UK).
Long Term Plans
Taking this platform to the USA & Canada is our primary focus for 2018, which offers the potential to tap into a further 120,000 private physiotherapists. The beauty of our offering is that it is applicable in any clinical setting.
Favorite Tech Gadgets?
I’m a major fan of using technology to enhance quality of life and compliance with prescribed exercise regimes. Several of my past colleagues and fellow Irish Chartered Physios have developed some highly impressive apps- such as Ciara Clancy’s Beats Medical app for people with Parkinsons disease and Avril Copeland’s Ticker Fit which supports healthcare professionals and patients to implement important lifestyle changes. I’m also a fan of companies such as Teledoc and enhancing access to medical professionals through online portals.
As regards tech gadgets, I love the fun stuff and have filled our kids Christmas stockings with Hex Nano Bugs; wouldn’t say no if Santa offered me some wireless Bose headphones and a VR headset!
What Tech Gadgets Do You Wish You Could Use To Help You?
We would be keen to bring in reduced assessment times and facilitating advanced “check-in”, where patients can save valuable 1:1 time and fill in their medical form in advance of treatment. Webcam assessments would be useful in certain circumstances as part of this process. It would mean both parties could assess the patients’ suitability for physiotherapy without them having to leave the house!
Anything I’d like to add: A little bit about our modest beginnings…
About three years ago, I had just had my first son and I wanted to start a little private practice work. I was interested in offering homecare physiotherapy as I felt there was a real demand at that time for private home-physio to compliment a strained public health sector. I didn’t have a conventional clinic ‘shop-front’, so I built a website (www.physioathome.ie). I didn’t have a secretary so I built in an online booking feature. In order to accept payments from my patients I integrated Stripe credit card payment facilities.
I opened up that platform (www.physioathome.ie) to other physiotherapists. After the first year I sat down with as many of the physiotherapists working from the site as I could (circa 40) and asked them what they would like from it. Based on their feedback I built out basic practice management features; based on our market research (while at New Frontiers Phase 2 –Synergy Centre ITT….the team there, led by Colm O’Maolmhuire, Onray Brainard and Tom Rooney, are amazing!) we built out a platform that can be used in any clinical setting. For now we are working in the physio sphere but aim to branch into other clinical settings in due course.
Both myself and Greg believe strongly in creating greater efficiencies in healthcare and supporting clinicians to meet the needs and expectations of the modern-day patient.
How Do People Get In Touch?
W: PhysioLinked (www.physiolinked.com)