The Silicon Review
Due to the rise in COVID cases, healthcare providers were forced to cater to their patients with methods that didn’t require in-person visits. Telemedicine might seem like a new concept for the healthcare segment, but it has grown unprecedented due to rapid technological advancements. The primary goal of a telemedicine platform is to provide better patient care by creating two-way, real-time communication between a healthcare provider and a patient at a distant site. The Company’s telemedicine platform was initially designed to access patients residing in remote locations. Even though it is still being used for this purpose, it has also become a tool of convenience for healthcare providers and patients across geographies. Globally there are various companies delivering excellent telemedicine solutions, but Portal Telemedicine’s AI-enhanced telediagnostics capabilities stand out from the rest. Founded in 2013, Portal was launched from the desire of its co-founders to make a real and significant change in the world of health. Before Portal Telemedicine, Rafael Figueroa, CEO and Co-Founder of the Company, founded Green Society, an NGO that brings technology such as solar energy, drones, and the internet to rural families. During this experience, his eyes were opened to the distance between physicians and patients in Brazil. More than 50% of the physicians in the country are concentrated in central regions, which mean that some places only have 1.3 doctors per thousand inhabitants on average and extremely limited access to specialists. With telemedicine, it is possible to reduce this inequity and connect patients in remote areas with the best specialists in the country. So, with his partners Renata Troncoso, Claudia de Castro, and Roberto Figueroa, he developed an easy-to-use solution to integrate any medical device and connect physicians to clinics, hospitals and patients to further expand the value of this capability, the team enhanced the offering with artificial intelligence automation. Portal Telemedicine delivers diagnostics in a few minutes and for an affordable price fulfilling its mission of providing access to quality healthcare for all.
Meticulously crafted offerings
The lack of access to healthcare is a global problem. It is related not only to the poor distribution of professionals but also to the high cost of a medical appointment, examination, or treatment. This inequality was even more accentuated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The abyss in access to health care is even between nearby cities. For example, if today a person arrives at a state-of-the-art hospital in São Paulo suffering a heart attack, the chance of dying is 3%. If this patient arrives with the same problem at a health unit in a small town in Brazil’s interior, 200 miles away, this risk increases to 24%. The gap occurs for several factors, the main ones are:
Portal Telemedicine’s solution contributes to reducing this gap. The Company offers a comprehensive solution to connect the best specialty physicians to clinics and hospitals, even those in remote locations, delivering diagnostics in a few minutes. Portal has developed drivers and data handlers to extract information directly from proprietary medical devices, a unique technology capable of connecting to over 90% of medical devices on the market. This innovation dramatically speeds up diagnostics, prevents mistyping and errors as data is sent directly from the device without manual upload. Another important innovation is incorporating artificial intelligence into the system, which empowers doctors to report more quickly and accurately. In electrocardiograms with alterations, Portal delivers the report in an average time of 3 minutes.
Portal’s R&D team performs design thinking processes together with Google, inviting physicians, nurses, AI engineers, and UX designers to participate in the development of each product, to ensure the delivery of a result in an intuitive set of tools that can be used even by non-tech users. During the development of Portal Telemedicine’s platform, the Company organized design sprints with physicians from hospitals such as Albert Einstein, a reference Israeli hospital in Latin America, which contributed to the current model of the platform, where a physician can analyze ten times more exams per hour than a conventional system. Portal also carried out a study to ensure the usability of its platform for health agents, nurses, and technicians, who are at the other end, performing the exam. Recognizing that most of these professionals don’t have technical or digital knowledge, the Company developed a solution that would allow sending exams with just a few simple clicks through the Cloud to the medical center. With this solution, Portal speeds up the process, reducing errors significantly.
The telediagnostic work which Portal has been doing over the past eight years using artificial intelligence to prioritize urgent exams and integrating it with any medical device across Brazil and Africa has proven the effectiveness and efficiency of the Company’s technology. Portal’s next step is to offer its solution to healthcare institutions in other countries that have their own doctors so they can increase the quality and capacity of their care. Part of the Founder’s vision for the future is to connect professionals through this platform, creating a global network among specialist physicians for second opinions in medical examinations and consultations. As Portal expands its solution to other countries, it will continue to enhance its ground-breaking AI capabilities and results. Portal will be able to connect patients to the best doctors worldwide to solve health challenges. With the global challenges imposed by the pandemic, the mindset of doctors, patients and governments about the importance of telemedicine has evolved and the Founder believes that today the world is prepared to discuss international regulations about healthcare and international healthcare agreements. Portal’s system is ready for this, the Company has already established partnerships in the USA, France and Canada to support the expansion and fulfill the Company’s mission of bringing access to quality medicine for all.
Meet the leader behind the success of Portal Telemedicine
Rafael Figueroa is the CEO and Co-Founder of Portal Telemedicine which was elected by the United Nations (UN) as one of the 10 companies in the world to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals set out for 2030. He is recognized by Google as one of the world’s top 40 authorities on Machine Learning and mentors startups in Silicon Valley, Japan and Brazil in Google’s Launchpad Accelerator. Rafael graduated in Economics, and specialized in Design Thinking from Berkeley University. He has 5 years of experience in investment banking and is an expert in mathematics applied to algorithms. Before he started to work with healthcare technology, he did an internship at Google and founded two other startups.