PSIPROF E-CLINIC. FIGHTING STIGMATIZATION OF PSYCHOLOGY PATIENTS WITH HELP OF IT
Mental well-being is one of the most important assets an individual has. However, people who struggle with these kind of issues are often victims of stigmatisation.Within most societies there are circles - either social, workplace and even family - that consider psychopathologies and mental well-being as uncomfortable issues, that translates a lack of “spirit” or “strength” from the individuals who are suffering, fostering stigma and discrimination against the ones that are more vulnerable.
This unfortunate reality is even more underlined in smaller communities in which the majority of people know each other.
Fortunately, the reality and mentalities are reaching a turning point on this matter and technology can happily play an important role. When one feels mentally ill, the normal process of this condition is translating itself rapidly into a physical condition while still impacting in a very negative way his support network (family, friends and co-workers).
Psiprof is an established psychologist network that provides consulting in several mental well-being topics, from grieve to marriage and even addictions. However, since the beginning, Psiprof and its professionals felt that there should be a better, quicker and more comfortable way for their patients to reach out for help and feel “safe” to freely talk and expose their problems to professional psychologists.
The company asked our view on the take and shared some ideas on how they were thinking in revolutionising this approach, testing the solution in a controlled small market before taking the leap as a global mental well-being provider.
Following our business processes, we drafted a short plan of action: research, ideation, validation by the client, implementation, deployment, testing, final launch and pos-launch consultancy and maintenance.
• We started by researching how several national and international psychology clinics positioned themselves, what kind of services offered, if they had virtual clinics or made use of technology that could directly cope with this stigmatisation problem. We also did a personas study to better understand the market, the potential users and their needs.
Surprisingly, there weren’t many innovative solutions out there. The majority relied on the technology mostly on the professional side, with typical CRMs or solutions for psychologists to control their agenda and business.
From the patient’s perspective, there were just some solutions offering the ability to view processes and agendas in local hospitals/clinics. There weren’t any real online clinics that allowed the booking, payment and realisation of online consultations although some allowed booking and consultations by telephone.
• Given the ambition and impact that Psiprof wanted to make, we advised the company to implement a full-stack online clinic in which patients could directly choose the professional of their liking, book and pay online easily and, most importantly, have the consultation online in total privacy and in an anonymous way.
This was achieved by our software engineering team implementing an online platform that allowed all this to happen within four months. Users can book consultations and have chat, email, voice or video consultations. Payment is also available online in several convenient methods. No personal data is even shared with the professionals - unless the client wants - and the only data asked is the one required in order to issue a legal automatic invoice.
The platform was initially tested in Madeira Island, Portugal - where Psiprof is established. With a 250.000 population that is small enough to “suffer” from the stigma issues but also developed and modern enough for the majority of the population to handle computers and internet.
The feedback was tremendous with clients approving the platform and booking subsequent additional consultations. The comfort and the pragmatic aspect of the system were highlighted by the customers who also noted that these led them to book and have more consultations than they would normally have, thus contributing for a better and more stable mental well-being.
This system allowed Psiprof to grow their professionals network, expanding to mainland Portugal and Brazil, reaching new markets and generating more revenue.
In fact, the system was designed with a commercial goal in mind: the ability for Psiprof to partner with insurance companies in order to offer services at discounted insurance rates obtaining direct access to a vast slice of the market.
IT CAN PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN FIGHTING STIGMATISATION IN THE MENTAL WELL-BEING MARKET, ESPECIALLY, IF DONE WITH LOVE AND CARE. ALSO IT CAN BOOST BUSINESSES IN MANY WAYS.
1.179 consultations within 3 months
5.651 recurring clients in Portugal
47% of the company’s revenue comes from the online
74.676 hours estimated to be “saved” to the NHS due related mental issues