To a certain extent, it’s safe to say that everything created today is ephemeral. And this is especially true in the fast-paced connected era. To know that 60 seconds is all it takes to create an impact online, one can only imagine what a year can do to a business solely based on the digital platform.
One company that has managed to reap a positive outcome from this dynamic business environment is BookDoc, a mobile application founded to help connect customers with healthcare providers by optimising time for all involved parties. “When we first started in 2015, we were just a team of four people and it was difficult for us to cater to all of our customers’ needs,” says Dato’ Chevy Beh, admitting that during that period, the pressure took its toll on the team members’ physical and mental health. “It had a detrimental effect on our personal lives, and I knew I had to grow the team fast. Thankfully, we managed to pull through and now BookDoc is one of the pioneering startups for healthcare in the Asian region.”
Despite being quite an influential player in the healthcare industry during his term as managing director of the BP Healthcare Group, a company founded by his father Dato’ Beh Chun Chuan, Chevy isn’t shy to share some of the challenges he has faced when approaching potential clients. “People tend to disregard BookDoc’s success because of my family background. They don’t know how much rejection I have received behind the scenes,” he says, adding that Singapore was one of the toughest markets to penetrate.
“As compared to other countries, I would say Malaysia was easy as the people of the industry know who I am. However, when we decided to expand into regional countries, you wouldn’t believe how many companies rejected us. Not once, not twice but thrice!” Chevy recalls. Although BookDoc addresses inefficiencies and informational asymmetries in healthcare, not many were quick to come on board. “Venturing out on my own is like a double-edge sword as it also poses as a handicap. More often than not, people don’t take me seriously and it takes an extra effort to really convince them.”
People tend to disregard BookDoc’s success because of my family background. They don’t know how much rejection I have received behind the scenes
Thankfully, Chevy was persistent and this key attribute has served BookDoc well in terms of the company’s growth. Today, the digital platform is backed by a diverse group of investors, ranging from entrepreneurs and seasoned healthcare and insurance professionals to government institutions, bankers, regulators and ICT professionals. “Things are moving so quickly, but seeing the support and endorsements received, we’re positive that BookDoc has a bright future.”
Apart from expanding the business locally and internationally, Chevy believes that BookDoc has also transformed a fair bit in terms of the services it offers in the last two years. “From being a business-to-consumer platform, we are currently tapping into regional medical tourism and turning it into a business-to-business platform. To put it simply, we’ve gone beyond linking healthcare professionals with patients by allowing you to find all the online services that you may need for your consultation all in one application,” he notes, listing Agoda, Airbnb, Grab, Uber, AirAsia and TripAdvisor as some of the partners BookDoc is presently working with.
However, one thing that distinguishes Chevy from the rest is his perception of health itself. “Health is not for the sick,” he highlights, “which is why when we talk about health, it isn’t limited to those who are sick. To me, healthcare is about prevention and to further increase this awareness, Activ was added to the existing modules of BookDoc Search and BookDoc Marketplace,” he says. Introduced to encourage people to achieve or maintain a level of physical fitness, Activ is user-friendly and dummy-proof. By syncing their fitness trackers with the application, users are rewarded for staying active. “Thus far, there is a list of rewards by over 50 reward partners from 12 different countries, such as Uniqlo, OldTown White Coffee and New Balance. Ultimately, we want to raise the interests of the individuals to take greater responsibility for their own health.”
Yet, for someone who is constantly flying in and out of the country, it is amazing how Chevy has the time to take care of his own health. “Honestly, I do my best to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes daily to exercise. I know it’s not a lot but it still takes discipline to do it,” he says with a smile.
Dato’ Chevy Beh is the Cover Personality for Prestige Malaysia January 2017