“There’s an event going on in New York for the musical Hamilton called the ‘Ham4Ham Lottery,’ where two people will enter to get two guaranteed seats,” UBERDOC Founder and CEO Dr. Paula Muto said. “UBERDOC is similar to that, but it won’t play with luck as much.”
There’s no question about it; when someone needs to see a specialist, they need to know when and where they can get the best possible treatment.
Despite having an abundance of hospitals in the area, a recent study shows Boston’s (and to an extent the Greater Boston area) average wait time to schedule an appointment is much higher than expected.
UBERDOC, operating via a Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, is designed to give patients an opportunity to schedule the appointment they need with a specialist in a timely manner, without requiring a referral, insurance paperwork or having to wait months for an appointment. The platform connects patients to a wide variety of medical fields and available appointment times for a flat rate of $300.
Similar to many digital health startups in the Boston tech scene, the company’s Founder and CEO has experience in the healthcare field. Muto’s full-time career in the medical field has spanned over 20 years, during which she has worked as both a vascular and general surgeon. She currently runs her private practice, Muto Surgical, out of the suburban towns of Lawrence and North Andover.
“I come from a surgeon family. My father was a surgeon, my brother and husband are practicing surgeons, and I have my own private practice,” says Muto.
Since she has been on the front lines for quite some time, Muto has seen a variety of problems in getting urgent care for patients.
“I’ve read a lot about the struggles of patients trying to find care on a short notice,” said Muto. “I asked myself, ‘Why can’t it be easier?’ and, ‘Why can’t we find some common ground?’”
Muto used these questions as motivation to brainstorm ideas for the platform, and then began sharing the ideas with her fellow colleagues and family members. Receiving feedback from private practice specialists, as well as doctors and nurses from major hospitals was key to figuring out what a patient needs in today’s world.
In February 2016, UBERDOC was founded with the intent of giving patients an opportunity to schedule the appointment they need. After entering a patient’s information, they will see what type of urgent care they need – and what times are convenient for them. The idea behind this was to make sure a patient wouldn’t be missing a prior engagement, such as a business meeting or family event.
When it came time to build her team, Muto compared the experience to a completely different field, saying it was like, “creating a cast list for a play.” Muto’s brother, Mark Muto, has been an active member of the team, and former Constant Contact CMO, and current Founder and President of WEVO Conversion, Janet Muto (Mark’s wife and Paula’s sister-in-law) threw in her experience with UBERDOC’s marketing.
Muto wanted to be transparent with the $300 payment with users and implemented another feature to the app. If follow-up treatment is required after the first appointment, UBERDOC can also invoke a patient’s health insurance, so they are not paying another sum of money.
The company began testing the UBERDOC platform with several Boston-area private practices – and found great success.
Now a part of the Boston tech scene, Muto got to experience partaking in events typically attended by tech entrepreneurs and investors. UBERDOC was invited to take part in TiE-Boston’s StartupCON last month. As a first-time entrepreneur who has spent most of her career attending conventions and trade shows in the medical space, she found this to be a different world than she was used to.
“Medical trade shows are all about data. Whether it is sharing data, presenting data, or hearing about people’s research data, it’s very straightforward,” Muto said. “However, startup shows are more about sharing the product, personal experiences, and the company vision.”