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Leveraging Digital Transformation to Deliver Value-Based Healthcare: Amr El-Tayeb, CEO of Smart Medical Services

As the world continues to grapple with the effects of the global pandemic, the gaps that exist within healthcare systems—and the need for change and innovation within these systems—are more apparent than ever. One example of an entrepreneur at the forefront of the evolution and transformation of healthcare is Endeavor Entrepreneur Amr El-Tayeb. With more than a decade of experience in the healthcare industry up his sleeve, Amr founded Smart Medical Services in 2009 to tackle a problem of massive scale, affecting between 50-60 million Egyptians: lack of access to healthcare services. Fast forward to today, Smart Medical Services is one of Egypt’s most promising, high-impact healthcare companies, offering customized and discounted healthcare plans to thousands of corporate clients, individuals, and families across Egypt.

The Building Blocks 

Having worked extensively across the private and public healthcare sectors in Egypt prior to founding Smart Medical Services, practicing neurosurgeon turned scale-up entrepreneur Amr witnessed first-hand the inequality and setbacks in Egyptian healthcare delivery, and the gaps that needed to be filled.

“We’re 100 million people, and just like most of the developing world, there’s a disequilibrium between the kind of services different people receive and how much value they’re getting from what they’re paying. At the end of the day, it’s not so much about how much money you pay, but how much value you’re getting back. And that became the foundation of Smart Medical Services: providing value-based care by creating different, personalized options,” reflected Amr.

Embedding this drive and passion into the company’s own DNA, Amr was able to scale Smart Medical Services from a company of seven employees focused on operations to a fully fledged, tech-driven healthcare management company and digital Third Party Administration (TPA) on its way to becoming an e-insurance platform, boasting a network of 5000+ healthcare providers and a web-based system of more than 80,000 subscribers in Egypt and beyond.

Scaling Towards Success

Over the past decade, Amr has proactively rolled out innovative solutions, capturing new opportunities and pivots for his business in order to advance his aspiration of providing more sophisticated, transparent and personalized services to his clients.

“We started only doing enterprise offering, and then we started providing our services to insurance companies and corporates. After that, we started moving into building our own tech solutions. And then we tapped into the consumer space with the Sehaty program, which is picking up majorly. The key is providing different options – there’s no one-size-fits-all in healthcare, or in developing countries in general,” shared Amr.

Smart Medical Services provides businesses with flexible solutions compatible with the unique requirements of each company through tailored programs including self-funded schemes, Managed Care Programs and Third Party Administration. For individuals and families, through Sehaty, it offers price visibility, price comparisons, access to a medical directory, and cost-savings of up to 70% across its thousands of providers directly to Egyptians who are unlikely to afford health insurance otherwise.

While the company was able to expand its network and reach, Amr realized a specific process needed to be leveraged in order to shape the future of the business and scale it to a whole new level: digital transformation.

“The idea behind us pivoting to e-insurance is simple. If you want to reach the masses in health insurance and healthcare in general, and adapt to the different market needs and segments, you have to digitize every single kind of service, provider, and price to match it. Through technology, our approach is becoming complete.”

While technology was always an essential part of the business, it wasn’t until 2018 with the launch of Smart Medical Integrated Solution (SMIS), an all-in-one integrated insurance technology platform that automates all of the business’s operations, that technology became at the heart of Smart Medical Services’ solution, and at the core of its success.

Empowering the Business Through Tech

In light of healthcare companies globally doubling down to implement technological solutions that transform the quality of patient care as well as the delivery of services, Amr jumped on the bandwagon to satisfy his company’s mission of providing optimal patient care to as many people as possible.

“The evolution that took place in the industry, we’re ahead of it as a company. By enabling digital onboarding and digital operations, our platform is auto creating rules and cutting out all the points of friction of health insurance. We serve a diverse group of people – payers, providers, and out of pocket insurance companies, and ultimately, it allows us to optimize our services, lower costs, accelerate processes, and make better decisions,” reflected Amr.

The integration of data and AI into the core of Smart Medical Services has also widened the regional opportunities present to the business, catalyzing its regional presence.

“Regional opportunities are growing because as the digital space is growing and borders are being blurred, the need for cost-saving is also growing. And our pitch is very simple: we’re cheaper.”

Finding Opportunities Amidst the Pandemic

In the face of the global pandemic and the profound impact it’s having on the healthcare industry and patients worldwide, Amr is directing his focus to tackling more pressing challenges through his business, and through accelerating the company’s digitized solutions.

“While a lot of people think that healthcare is booming right now, reality is, the global crisis has massively impacted our business. Fundamentally, the problem is that our clients have been affected and so their payment has been affected, and so naturally, we’re affected. Patients are also scared to visit hospitals and clinics, which is new,” reflected Amr.

Being a solutions-driven entrepreneur committed to a forward-thinking approach to his business, Amr rolled his sleeves to explore new avenues for innovation and digital transformation in order to stimulate business growth moving forward.

“We recently launched a Corona program for enterprises where we’re offering all the packages offered by providers but at ¼ of the original price. We’re not marking it up very high financially because you can’t ask people to make unnecessary spending right now. A lot of people have lost their jobs, and a lot of people’s salaries have been cut. This is a time where everyone’s ethics are tested.”

In addition to the recent initiatives led by the company, the pandemic has also powered its pivot to technology as digital health has become a necessity, not a choice.

“Our goal has always been straightforward: to provide value-based care. And at the rapid pace the digital world is going at right now, the only way to do that is through automation, real-time data collection, and real-time data intelligence, which we’ve spearheaded two years ago, and continue to accelerate.”

While things are already in motion, Amr is continuing to set bigger goals and aspirations for the future of the business in hopes of inspiring a push in healthcare systems around the world to the better.

“We have all the parts in place but within the next two years we want to become an e-insurance, digital TPA, locally and regionally. Things are already underway. We’ve started and haven’t stopped.”

In five years’ time, Amr is pushing this vision to a global scale.

“In five years, the aim is going global. This is the ultimate goal – having local, regional and global products, with a focus on Africa, because essentially, the principles of healthcare are the same everywhere. It’s not about being the biggest company, but about moving forward and understanding which option is better for who, everywhere,” Amr added.

While Smart Medical Services has achieved substantial success over the past decade and played a game-changing role in the healthcare industry both locally and regionally, its future opportunities for growth are endless. Amr is continuing to invest in new directions and ambitions as the business moves closer to fulfilling its underlying purpose: providing value-based, data-driven healthcare to the masses.

Written by: Laila Mekawi, Marketing and Communications Associate, Endeavor Egypt

Endeavor is leading the global high-impact entrepreneurship movement to drive long-term economic growth and build strong entrepreneurship ecosystems in growth markets by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs.

This blog post originally appeared on the Endeavor Egypt Blog.

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