In Brazil, 135 million people belong to the base of the socio-economic pyramid and have limited access to health care. The state of public health care units is often overcrowded, varies in quality, and often results in reduced access.
Compounding to this problem, dr.consulta aims to provide a solution through low costs and affordable clinics with a patient-centric focus. The company’s target group is people that need to take care of their health with quality but at affordable prices. They have their settings places in the lower-income neighborhoods for easy accessibility for their target group.
Under the astonishing leadership of Renato Velloso, CEO, the company has scaled heights and implemented the concept of Value-based Health Care along with automation, creation of care models, and alignment of economic and fiscal interests.
In an interview with Insights Care, Renato talks about how dr.consulta, with its technological expertise, is impacting the healthcare niche in Brazil.
Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how it is are currently positioned as a reliable firm in the healthcare sector.
In Brazil, dr.consulta is an insurgent health tech company offering direct to consumer, virtual or in-clinic, vertical primary care, and secondary care for low-income uninsured individuals through technology and algorithms. Our mission is to provide excellent and affordable care for everyone, anywhere, anytime, and reduce Brazil’s massive healthcare access gap experienced by 165M people.
We are a complete health ecosystem, 100% customer-centric, physicians centric, and data-driven. All our decisions are made with the use of data.
We are also technology-driven, and we develop all the technology we use inside dr.consulta. We have a medical chart that was developed with the doctors so we can have the proper guideline to assist our patients.
Shed some light on your offerings and how they impact the industry and your clients?
80% of all Brazilians do not have access to a health plan and depend only on public health, but we are a continental country, so it is exceedingly difficult to take care of everyone we need to. Nowadays, we have around 165 million people without a health plan.
We created a disruptive and innovative health model, with high standards, NPS of 84 and medical satisfaction of 90 and at the same time affordable, people can pay for it.
We wanted to do it through a multimodal with in-office, virtual (telemedicine), and in-home care for convenience and lower costs, combined with a multi-specialty and multi-service health offering, to enable us to become self-sufficient to generate all clinical data needed to foresee individuals’ future health risk and proactively act today to neutralize such risks.
And more recently, we created a health plan in partnership with another health tech cuidar to give more access and keep on serving everybody.
We started the first clinic in the largest favela of South America, Heliopolis in São Paulo, the hardest place possible to experiment with a new model, knowing that if it worked there, we would have a truly replicable, scalable, and profitable model that people loved.
We served almost three million people, in the Metropolitan region of São Paulo, and nowadays, we have 31 clinics, telemedicine, and home care. We have 1.200 doctors working with us in 60 specialties and more than three thousand services available for our patients, including blood and image exams, vaccines, dentistry, psychology, psychiatry, ophthalmology, among others.
Patients can use our services in three diverse ways: paying out of pocket, having a signature, or buying a health plan. We guarantee we have the best health offer to address multiple needs with these options.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies has impacted the industry and how is your company riding the technology wave?
dr.consulta was born digital. We are a health tech, so technology is the core of the company. We use technology and data in every decision we made, and this is key for us, so we can offer the type of health care we want: with affordable prices, an integrated medical chart with medical guidelines that allow us to have a diagnosis within seven days and open slots for the same day. This system will enable us to have an NPS from our patients higher than eighty and an evaluation from our doctors higher than 90.
Considering the example of the COVID-19, how do you plan to navigate through similar situations in the future?
COVID-19 was not easy, and we still have some impact on the overall health and the economics as well, but it also showed that we are on the right path as a company. Our technology foundation gave us the flexibility and speed we needed to reorganize the business, launched new services, and achieve a level of efficiency that had not been possible until now.
If you have a similar pandemic as COVID-19, there is no doubt that we will be prepared.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the healthcare space?
The health sector has hundreds of opportunities and is an expensive sector and most of the inefficient all around the world, especially in third world countries with a weak economy.
First, I would say to identify the health problem the person would like to address and have a good purpose that follows the problem.
Use the most technology in the quality of the solution to make it accessible, or to make other businesses more efficient.
Besides that, after the idea is formed, build a business plan, and bring the best people to work with you, people that have the same culture you like this company to have so they can help the entrepreneur solve the problem.
With all these settings in place, comes the challenge to bring the best investors, the ones that also think like you, to keep the business growing.
How do you envision scaling your organization’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
The world and Brazil are living in an economic crisis motivated by COVID-19, so we expect to continue with this problem that is affecting and will continue to affect the income of the middle class for the next couple of years.
But we are a disruptive business, and we are seeing the challenges as opportunities. Our technology allows us to keep bringing value to the business.
One of our focuses for 2022 will be implementing and growing our recent partnership with cuidar. me, a health tech specialized in health plans, to increase the number of people that have access to a health plan in Brazil.
An Inspiring Leadership
Renato Velloso Dias Cardoso started his career in the health segment more than 30 years ago. After graduating in Dentistry, he decided to undertake his big dream of creating a disruptive company that would generate access to world-class dentistry. In 1987, he invited colleagues to jointly create Odontoprev, which became the largest dental plan in Brazil and later in Latin America. Back then, the population has problems accessing dental care in Brazil.
He worked as an executive for 27 years at Odontoprev, which went through all stages of maturity. During his journey, after dozens of acquisitions, it reached the IPO in 2006. In 2009, Bradesco Seguros became a partner of Odontoprev and acquired its control in 2013. After this period, Renato worked at Qualicorp, where he served as Executive Director and invested in several companies in the healthcare sector.
In 2015, invited by Thomaz Srougi, founder of dr.consulta and chairman of the board, he started his relationship with dr.consulta as an investor and member of the Board of Directors. Gradually he became more present in the day-to-day of the company’s strategy, and in October 2019, he took over as CEO, a position he continues to hold. At the same time, Renato is a member of the Board of Directors of the YALO health benefits platform.
Under Renato’s management, dr.consulta achieved break-even and is experiencing double-digit growth in the last couple of years, even with the pandemic. The company also launched new services and, more recently, in December, invested in a startup called cuidar.me that is focused on health plans.