Announcement – LDA and trakMD’s Official Partnership!

trakMD and the Lebanese Dental Association (LDA) are proud to announce their official partnership!

The aim of this partnership is to provide all registered LDA dentists with an improved and seamless communication using trakMD’s digital platform. As of April 23rd 2019, all LDA’s communication material will be sent and received on trakMD’s app.


trakMD at GITEX 2018 Dubai

Meet us in Technology Week from 14th to 18th October 2018, Dubai, Hall 7A, Stand #7A-C1 Lebanon Software Innovators

GITEX is the biggest technology conference in MENA and South Asia, where trakMD will be exhibiting its revolutionary solution to more than 150,000 attendees. Dubai World Trade Center, October 14th to 18th, 2018.

TrakMD : trouver un médecin en un clic (by Le Commerce Du Levant)

Publié le 31 août 2018

Lancée en octobre dernier, TrakMD est une plate-forme qui permet de trouver un médecin et prendre un rendez-vous instantanément et partout au Liban.

Depuis un ordinateur ou via l’application mobile, il suffit de se connecter, d’entrer le type de spécialiste et la localité recherchés. TrakMD propose ensuiteune liste de professionnels correspondantau profil souhaité. Il n’y a plus qu’à les contacter. Les utilisateurs peuvent aussi se créer un dossier médical numérique ou demander à recevoir des notifications de rappel – par exemple pour des examens réguliers ou les vaccins des enfants.

Totalement gratuit, TrakMD est en faitun produit d’appel qui permet de vendre des services numériques avancés auxprofessionnels de la santé. TrakMD propose en effet aux médecins et centres médicaux de prendre en charge leur stratégie digitale, que ce soit l’optimisation de la prise de rendez-vous, de la facturation, l’analyse de données des examens, ou la mise en réseau des machines médicales.

Son fondateur, Ibrahim Fakih, est un ancien infirmier spécialisé en nouvelles technologies. Pour créerTrakMD, il s’est inspiré de start-up similaires en France et aux États-Unis. Après un investissement sur fonds propres de plus de 200000 dollars, etdeux ans de développement, TrakMD revendique aujourd’hui environ 500 médecins et plus de 10000 téléchargements.

La start-up compte depuis quelques mois un nouvel investisseur, lui aussi issu du secteur médical, et cherche à lever davantage de fonds.

« L’idée à long terme est d’améliorer l’accès aux soins médicaux, notamment dans les régions reculées et pour les populations marginalisées comme les réfugiés », dit Ibrahim Fakih.


hand holding a cell phone in front of chart file and stethoscope

trakMD on Executive Magazine

Health entrepreneurship in Lebanon Low competition in an emerging market

When it comes to health, Lebanon is one of the leading countries in the Arab world in terms of the quality of healthcare provided and in testing new medical technologies. The country now has the opportunity to lead the way in entrepreneurship via healthcare startups. Executive spoke with entrepreneurs in this field to see what challenges they faced and what obstacles still need to be overcome to find success as a healthcare startup.

According to a 2016 Wamda Capital’s report on health startups, MENA is growing its first generation of health entrepreneurs, which means that the region is witnessing the first business and economic wave of an industry that is likely to expand and unveil a vast range of entrepreneurial opportunities.

Meanwhile, worldwide information technology solutions for healthcare are entering their third wave. As consulting firm McKinsey & Company pointed out in a 2014 paper on the digital future of healthcare, the first two waves of IT brought computation of data and statistics to healthcare institutions in the 1950s and helped with integrating processes among healthcare organizations in the 1970s. Compared with these advancements, the third wave of digitization is seen as having incomparably greater implications, from robotic surgery and remote diagnosis to mobile healthcare via digital apps.

Given the huge social and economic implications of the full digitization of healthcare and wellness, any entrepreneurial ecosystem should be priming itself to nurture startups related to healthcare. This applies in Lebanon as much as anywhere, but local healthcare startups who spoke to Executive report experiencing the same frustrations felt by other startups in the Lebanese ecosystem, such as the difficulty of attracting funding and the lack of local talent.   

Among local startups, diabetes digital monitor Weglo is still in its first development stage. Spike, a software application that helps and guides diabetes patients with their everyday treatments, and TrakMd, an online platform that helps patients find, book, and review doctors around Lebanon, have already progressed beyond the launch phase and are currently operating in a full commercial form.

While the entrepreneurs that spoke to Executive cite similar difficulties to those encountered by emerging healthcare startups worldwide, they also raised issues unique to the Lebanese market, and opined that the economic situation in Lebanon negatively affects startups due to the dearth of appropriate resources and professionals within the field.

barriers to the big-time

Lack of public reach—becoming recognized and showcasing services to the general public—can be a challenging initial hurdle for startups to conquer. Typically, online outreach has proven to be the most effective method for startup brand advertising. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)—the process of maximizing visitors to a website by ensuring it appears high in the list of search engine results—has reportedly been very effective for some startups, such as Spike, which is now in the process of planning a global app launch. Although SEO has proven effective at increasing a brand’s exposure, others in Lebanon still struggle to make themselves known, which in the long run could affect the profitability and net worth of the organization.

Healthcare startups in Lebanon report facing several obstacles in their early stage development, ranging from the scarcity and high cost of raw materials, and the lack of talent in the Lebanese market, to issues with funding. Given that the healthcare industry requires in-depth research by professionals in an area where the cost of mistakes is high, finding the appropriate staff and tools can be a very difficult challenge. According to Spike founder Ziad Alame, the lack of motivation in the workforce is holding back the healthcare startup industry in Lebanon. “There’s a mentality in Lebanon where people don’t really want to work, they just want to have a job where they go sit behind the desk and wait for the day to end,” Alame says. “[Employees] are selling their time without putting in the effort, which is one of the reasons why we are not seeing startups coming out of Lebanon that are really good.”

Another major issue is that of funding. While this barrier is faced by startups in all sectors, healthcare startups require relatively large amounts of funding in order to succeed. All the entrepreneurs interviewed by Executive agreed that obtaining funds in Lebanon is one of the most difficult tasks, due mainly to the low risk mentality of investors.

Spike reports obtaining an estimated $150,000 from different venture capital (VC) funds such as ZOUK, Kafalat, SeatBoost, and MIT, while Weglo and TrakMD say that the VC road was more difficult for them and instead they had to self-fund their ventures. “I started self-funding, first using my money to pay for people and acquiring parts for prototyping,” says Abed  el-Rahman el-Kaderi, co-founder of Weglo. Both Welgo and TrakMD say that the lack of local CV funding resulted in delays in developing their concepts and presenting their services.

In their 2016 report, Wamda Capital notes that health startups in MENA region often rely on more informal sources of financing—personal funds, family money, friends’ money, and grants—over any other funding sources, especially for early-stage capital.

After clearing development and funding hurdles, healthcare startups still face challenges related to their legal status within the wider healthcare sector, its potential client pool, and ensuring user privacy. “Legal credibility is a big challenge for startups since formal institutions are set within the traditional healthcare infrastructure,” according to Kevin Shoucair, business support manager at local accelerator Speed. Having a large portion of the population in poverty also makes it more difficult for startups to target clients with the means to use their products and realize their full potential. “Health startups also have a great cost coming from establishing security systems, which will ensure the user’s privacy and access,” Shoucair adds.

Local entrepreneurs also cite positive aspects of the current healthcare startup ecosystem, including low competition and non-saturation of the market. According to Alameh and Kaderi, since the healthcare startup market in Lebanon is still in its early stages, this makes it easier for new companies to break out and become noticed. “The only advantage we have in Lebanon is that it is easier for us to get recognized in the sector, as there are not a lot of competitors,” Kaderi argues.

While the future is unpredictable in a country as volatile as Lebanon, each of the healthcare startups Executive interviewed agreed that much depends on the approach adopted by the startup. Funding and marketing are not enough to guarantee the success of a healthcare startup: Ethics also play a major role. In this regard, mistakes cannot be made, as their effects will impact directly on the wellbeing of consumers. As a result, the research done into emerging healthcare startups needs to be extremely accurate and undertaken by experts in the field to avoid harmful consequences for the health of citizens.

To better understand how investors and funds make their decisions, Executive also spoke with funds and accelerators that previously invested in the healthcare ecosystem.

Helping hand

There is clear growth in the Lebanese startup market, with the sector thriving ever since Banque Du Liban launched Circular 331 in 2014, which provides support for emerging startups, private equity firms, and accelerators. To further expand the viability of the startup ecosystem, the Lebanese Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (LVCPEA) was launched at the start of 2018 with around $360 million in funding to dole out. Including major players like Berytech, Leap Ventures, and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), the core mission of the association is to help investors effectively engage in the creation of information and communication technology in Lebanon.

Based on the portfolio descriptions of Lebanese VC firms, on average, two health startups are invested in per fund, with most being software-based startups such as Spike, the application for diabetes assistance, and AlTibbi, a platform for healthcare-related knowledge. There is not a specific budget set for healthcare startups, which are sometimes included as a tech investment or software investment.

With most VCs prefering to invest in software-based startups, it is a real challenge for hardware-based startups to grow in Lebanon, especially if they require R&D investment. “There is a low to zero R&D environment, so there’s little homegrown innovation taking place which can be spun off into startups,” says Fadi Bizri, partner at B&Y venture partners, a VC fund for technology startups in the MENA region.

Given the great human capital residing in Lebanon, the potential for the healthcare sector is promising. According to research carried out by MEVP, an estimated $450 million per year is spent on general doctor consultations in the MENA region. Currently, the private healthcare market size in the GCC is around $62 billion, and is estimated to grow 8.7 percent per year to reach $94 billion in 2021, according to MENA Research Partners (MRP), a leading research company in the region. There are indeed, big investment opportunities in the entrepreneurial health sector, given the mentality shift from curative to preventive healthcare among an increasingly health conscious and tech savvy population.

“With current infrastructure adopting new innovative technological trends, healthcare startups will see greater adoption in Lebanon. [These technologies] will also be more accepted by the government, regulatory bodies, and eventually the country’s biggest hospitals,” says Walid Mansour, a managing partner at MEVP.

The challenges and drawbacks facing healthcare startups are severe, with the most common and recurrent challenge being funding, especially for non-software based startups that require heavy capital in order to build their prototypes. However, low competition works in the sector’s favor, allowing emerging startups to grow and be noticed in the Lebanese market. The future of the sector depends on how entrepreneurs, funds, the government, and the market act and react—in particular to address the challenges detailed above. In the meantime, Lebanon should support and embrace the development of a healthcare entrepreneurial ecosystem and work toward improving it for the sake of a healthy economy and a healthy populace.


trakMD in the news: Aliwaa

trakMD منصة رقمية ثورية تم إنشاؤها لإعطاءتجربة مُرضية للرعاية الصحية للمرضى من خلال تسهيل الوصول إلى الأطباء وتعزيز التفاعل بين الأطباء والمرضى. باستخدام منصة trakMD، يستطيع المرضى البحث عن الأطباء حسب التخصّص أو الموقع أو توافر المواعيد، ومعايير بحث أخرى، ثمّ حجز الموعد وكل ذلك في نقرة زر.

يشدّد إبراهيم فقيه، الرئيس التنفيذي ومؤسس شركة trakMD على أنّ: “المرضى أولاً، هذا هو هدفنا الأساسي البارز من خلال التزامنا الجماعي بالجودة والنزاهة والابتكار المستمر في أعمالنا”. وأضاف: “نحن نسعى جاهدين للالتزام بإطار عمل صادق وشفاف، مع الحرص الشديد على احتياجات الجهات الفاعلة الرئيسية في قطاع الرعاية الصحية”.

الميزة الكبرى التي وفرتها trakMD هي أنها مجانية بالكامل للمرضى. يمكن الولوج الى المنصّة من أيّ مكان و في أي وقت من خلال الهواتف الذكيّة أو الحواسيب الشخصيّة. فبنقرة زر واحدة، سيتمكن المرضى من الاطلاع على الملف الشخصي للطبيب و آراء المرضى الآخرين الأمر الذي يساعدهم على الاختيار.

trakMD ترسل تلقائيا تذكيرا بالمواعيد عبر رسالة نصّية للمرضى لتضمن عدم تفويتهم أيّ موعد بسبب انشغالاتهم اليوميّة.



Patient Engagement: Digital self-scheduling set to explode in healthcare over the next five years


By the end of 2019, 66% of US health systems will offer digital self-scheduling and 64% of patients will book appointments digitally, delivering $3.2 billion in value and a competitive boost for health systems.

Leading health systems are shifting away from the telephone for patient appointment scheduling Driven by patient demands for greater convenience and more control, US health systems are adopting digital patient self-scheduling tools to differentiate themselves competitively, improve efficiencies and enhance patient engagement and satisfaction.

A recent Accenture survey shows 77 percent of patients think that the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online is important.

1 A rapid explosion in use of digital solutions for DIY appointment making will radically alter the US health system marketplace over the next five years. Accenture research predicts that by the end of 2019, 66 percent of US health systems will offer digital self-scheduling and 64 percent of patients will book appointments using digital tools. Nearly 38 percent of appointments will be self-scheduled— that’s almost 986 million appointments —creating $3.2 billion in value.

2 The consequences for late adopters could be severe. Research shows that the average time for a patient to complete a scheduling call is 8.1 minutes and agents transfer patient calls 63 percent of the time–far exceeding national crossindustry best practices for call handling.

3 Third party online self-scheduling services, which can enable patients to book appointments faster and get appointments sooner than by using the phone, position themselves between health systems and their patients and can drive patient volume to competitor systems.

Digital self-scheduling tools are better than the phone – and leading health systems are taking note According to Accenture Health analysis, almost 40 percent of the top 100 US health systems and 10 percent of remaining US health systems currently offer the ability to digitally self-schedule some types of appointments. On average, a health system that offers digital self-scheduling provides the ability to self-schedule half of its appointment volume. Nationwide today, patients selfschedule 2.4% of appointments out of the roughly 11 percent of appointments that can be self-scheduled.

Over the next five years those numbers will spike dramatically. Accenture research predicts that by the end of 2019, all of the top 100 US health systems and 55 percent of the remaining health systems will offer digital selfscheduling. On average, a health system that offers self-scheduling will provide the ability to self-schedule 80 percent of its appointment volume. Across the US, nearly 38 percent of appointments will be self-scheduled, while almost 60 percent of appointments will be able to be self-scheduled.

Digital self-scheduling offers efficiency, value and differentiation Digital self-scheduling delivers significant financial and competitive benefits, helps maintain patient customer base, boosts operational efficiencies and improves organizational flexibility and agility. Adopting self-scheduling delivers value by enabling call center capacity to be reallocated and schedulers to perform additional and/or more complex activities. In 2019, 986 million appointments will be booked using self-scheduling tools, enabling health systems to reallocate $3.2B in scheduler capacity that year alone, based on average annual scheduler salary and productivity. By making general appointment scheduling available online, health systems can reduce excess capacity, expand scheduling hours and better allow for last minute appointments. The capability also provides healthcare transparency and patient control, both of which improve trust, loyalty and patient satisfaction. As more health systems jump on the digital self-scheduling bandwagon, adopting improved scheduling options in the context of new models of care delivery, the sophistication of these tools will continue to increase. Digital self-scheduling tools will also allow patients to assess eligibility and financial liability. Armed with the patient’s complete medical records, health systems will have the ability to provide a truly seamless patient experience on an endto-end basis, from appointment through treatment to follow-up and payment and beyond. By expanding the patient relationship online, providers can establish closer ties with patients that can ultimately improve their ongoing health and wellbeing. Today, health systems are being financially squeezed, patient volume is decreasing and hospitals compete to attract and maintain patients in local markets and across the country. Health systems trailing in adoption of patient self-scheduling tools could experience market share erosion over the next five years, as competitors that offer convenient self-scheduling create a digital buzz among patients. While the penetration of self-scheduling tools will quickly reach market maturity, the impact of this digital disruption could last much longer. Consequently, the need to remain competitive in the health marketplace virtually mandates that health systems adopt self-scheduling as rapidly as possible.

Want Your Kids to Have Healthy Vision? Make Sure They Have an Annual Eye Exam

In the last half of the 20th century, the United States made impressive strides in ensuring the health of our children. Breakthrough medical research resulted in vaccines for many childhood diseases. Public health programs educated parents about the importance of these vaccines and state and city laws went into effect requiring immunizations for children to enter school. The good news is that our kids now are much healthier, and diseases such as polio and diphtheria, which once plagued children, have essentially been eradicated.

However, we still have strides to make in improving one of our children’s most basic needs — eye health.

Children approaching school age should begin having an annual eye exam by a licensed eye care professional just as they have regular physical and dental check-ups. Parents can’t rely on the vision screenings given in schools or even in pediatricians’ offices to really know what eye problems their children may have. After all, kids don’t know if their vision is off, because it’s all they’ve ever seen.

While childhood diseases of the body — measles, mumps, etc. — are well known, impairments affecting the eyes are less so. Case in point is amblyopia. Are you aware of it? Or how it could affect your child?

Amblyopia is a vision impairment that results from abnormal visual development in infancy or early childhood and can result in partial or complete loss of sight in the affected eye. What medical research has shown is that the brain favors one eye while not stimulating, or even ignoring, the other — which is why the condition is often incorrectly referred to as lazy eye. Amblyopia is the leading cause of monocular blindness in children.

The sad statistic is that amblyopia affects up to 5 percent of the population. If not detected and treated within a specific period of childhood, usually by age 7, it can lead to permanent vision loss. Common treatments are surgical correction of the eye muscle imbalance, eyeglasses or contact lenses, LASIK surgery and the throw-back approach of an eye patch over the dominant eye to force the weaker one to improve.

A research study for the Vision Council of America featured on the Vision Impact Institute website delved into the question of the better method for screening children in the years when they are most vulnerable to amblyopia — right before starting their first year of school.

It compared two methods:

— Comprehensive eye exams conducted by optometrists or ophthalmologists and used to diagnose vision problems

— Vision screenings performed by nurses, pediatricians or non-medical volunteers and used to identify children at-risk for vision issues.

The study found that the comprehensive eye exams would result in 51 percent more children receiving successful treatment for amblyopia by age 10, ultimately resulting in successfully treating 33,000 more children.

Yes, it’s more costly to provide universal access to eye exams for all American school children. Vision screenings are less expensive but not as effective, according to the Vision Council of America study.

Kentucky set the standard for child vision care when it became the first state to enact a law requiring all entering public school or preschool to have a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Two additional states, Missouri and Illinois also adopted these high standards. And this month, the Every Student Succeeds Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. This provides block grants to states, which will help non-profit vision organizations work directly with school districts to benefit students in need.

Regardless of where we live, it remains the responsibility of parents to take care of their children’s eyes. The comprehensive eye exam by a licensed eye care professional remains the best option for doing all that we can to ensure the vision health of our children. Parents should make sure their kids see the eye doctor annually, just as they do for the pediatrician and dentist.

By Maureen Cavanagh