Veronica Urbiola for IE Focus
2 March 2017
IE alum Lorena Bassas is one of the co-founders of Top Doctors®, a website that places patients in contact with leading health specialists. Top Doctors® uses a successful US business model that appeared over 20 years ago in response to a clear need, namely that of being able to find the best specialist when a person has a health problem. Top Doctors® is now a benchmark for private medicine on an international level. It works with some of the most renowned specialists in Europe, Latin America, and the US. Over a million users around the world visit the Top Doctors® site each month, and more than 10 million patients have used Top Doctors® to select a doctor in Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Mexico, Colombia, and the US.
When and why did Top Doctors come about? What business model is it based on?
Top Doctors came into being in 2012 when we detected that there was an immature market on internet in which the only thing that existed were directories with lists of doctors from insurance companies and low-cost medicine websites. These brought no real added value for patients and were of no use to specialists, which is why we decided to create a platform designed to find the best doctors, aimed at helping patients find the best specialist for their particular case and help doctors to manage their online reputation in a credible and professional manner.
What differentiates you from other digital platforms?
Our selection process. We only work with the top doctors worldwide in each specialized area. Thanks to our exhaustive selection process we offer patients total reliability in terms of the quality of the doctors that work with us.
What criteria do you use to select specialists?
In order to identify the best medical consultants we apply a highly demanding selection process that only one out of ten doctors get through. It was developed by our American partners, America's Top Doctors, over a period of 25 years, and comprises the following:
1. A recommendation made by fellow doctors.
2. An audit of his or her trajectory and curriculum carried out by experts.
3. A review by our scientific committee.
4. An interview with the specialist to validate the choice.
Why do people use Top Doctors? What advantages does it have for a patient apart from enabling them to arrange an appointment online? And for the specialist?
Because we certify medical excellence and we help patients to find the very best specialist for their specific case. Our app enables the patient to describe their condition in their own words, and our symptoms evaluator offers a prediagnosis. The technology has been developed by doctors and tested in hospitals with a 90% success rate. The patient can chat in real time with the doctor or ask for an appointment to know more about their condition, because we have over 3,500 medical articles and a Youtube channel with over 1,000 videos.
Talk us through your international expansion.
The service began to expand on an international scale in 2014 with Top Doctors Mexico, with a local management team who now serve as our base in Latin America. In 2015 we entered the Italian market, and in 2016 we opened Top Doctors Colombia and UK. Within a few weeks we will also start working in Chile. We currently work with the most prestigious doctors in the United States, Latin America, and Europe.
What challenges lie ahead?
We need to consolidate the markets we have entered and to continue growing in Europe. The aim is to consolidate our position as offering the best choice of doctor in the western world by 2020.
How did the IMBA program you did at IE Business School help you to develop your entrepreneurial side?
IE Business School equipped me with the base I needed to become an entrepreneur, giving me the kind of global education in every business field that a person needs to make their way in the business world.