A new website that allows Qatar residents to find and rate doctors and healthcare providers here has been launched this month by four Education City students and alum.
The portal, Meddy, is the brainchild of recent Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMUQ) graduate, 21-year-old Haris Aghadi.
Along with 22-year-old teammate Maahd Shahzad, another recent graduate, and 21-year-old seniors Ali Naqi and Abdulla Al Khenji, the team said the website aims to help residents with their medical needs.
The site officially launched Aug. 3 after beta testing over the past few months. So far, some 200 doctors are currently listed on Meddy, and can be searched for by name, speciality, gender or clinic.
It comes as Qatar’s healthcare industry, while growing at a rapid clip, has been straining to accommodate the nation’s growing population, frustrating many.
Meddy measures healthcare in Qatar through metrics like clinic locations, doctor profiles, doctor reviews and waiting times.
The latter two are user-generated, relying on consumers to rank and review doctors they’ve visited, and estimate waiting times for various clinics that do not schedule appointments.
Additionally, clinic locations are synced with Google Maps for easier access.
“We’re constantly testing out new features and removing those that people aren’t using. Our goal now is to start an aggressive user acquisition, and gain traction and traffic,” Aghadi told Doha News.
Production and development
Explaining the inspiration behind the project, Aghadi said Meddy started out as an idea in a class he took called Tech Startup Launch Pad.
“We wanted to do something about the healthcare system here. People were struggling to find good doctors. They generally relied on help from friends and other families who have lived in Qatar, but expats, who were new to Qatar, didn’t have the established system to rely on for recommendations. That’s where Meddy comes in. It is essentially a community review site that helps you make informed decisions.”
After the class, Aghadi, Shahzad, and Naqi teamed up during a product development course over the summer, developing a beta version of the site, before officially launching this month.
The team said they drew heavily on the help and guidance of CMUQ faculty and staff, including a professor who previously worked at Silicon Valley.
But despite the assistance, consolidating information for the site posed some challenges.
“As this is something entirely new, people didn’t really take us seriously at first,” said Aghadi, adding, “It’s hard for people to talk to you about health care (as) it’s a sensitive topic. Information is also not readily available in the region in general, and access to relevant healthcare is hard.”
Additionally, they also faced technical challenges related to the production of the site itself. Because students at CMUQ focus more on development, as opposed to implementation, the team had to learn more about managing bandwidth, computing power and servers, Shahzad said.
In terms of establishing a business model, the team is mulling generating profit by charging doctors for ads and other services.
They are also seeking investors to help further develop the website over the coming months.