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Infermedica and knok—a refreshing approach to health care accessibility via telemedicine

Now, more than ever, there is a need to provide safe and effective remote healthcare services. However, patients with chronic, non-urgent conditions that could be treated at home or via telemedicine often struggle to get help due to the health systems' overload. The COVID-19 pandemic was, in a way, an opportunity to look at this problem from a new perspective and search for alternative ways to access health care. This is exactly what Infermedica and knok did by entering into a joint partnership.

Novel partnerships are the winds of change that shape the healthcare of tomorrow.
Novel partnerships are the winds of change that shape the healthcare of tomorrow. Illustration by Zuza Szostak.

Currently, healthcare systems around the world are led by big companies with massive, inflexible systems. This poses a potential risk of problems with accessibility and affordability. As the global health situation continues to change dynamically, we need modern, flexible solutions that can act faster and be easy to implement. What if there was another way to approach healthcare?

Novel partnerships are the winds of change that shape the healthcare of tomorrow. Access to health care is not guaranteed for many, so companies should join forces to make it more affordable and accessible everywhere. The alternative to heavy and fixed solutions are smaller ones that, when connected, create powerful tools, easily adjusted to our quickly changing reality. By focusing on synergies rather than competition, we can support the whole patient journey and bring innovation to established systems much faster.

Building healthcare solutions from smaller components means that each of them can be changed or improved at any time. Recently, we have observed a flood of small healthcare companies specializing in a specific area, delivering products that can supplement broader healthcare solutions. Those ecosystems can then become powerful forces, able to reshape and disrupt industries. They have the potential to deliver a personalized and integrated experience to consumers, enhance provider’s productivity, engage formal and informal caregivers, and improve outcomes and affordability.

Introducing our new partner—knok

knok is the telemedicine market leader in Portugal, founded by José Bastos and João Magalhães in December 2015. Its software supports more than 1.2 million patients, and powers companies in Europe, Brazil, South Africa, and soon—India. It also cooperates with international healthcare and insurance leaders, such as EuropAssistance and UnitedHealth Group, and is one of the fastest-growing companies in this space.

The company's mission is to facilitate the democratization of access to healthcare through easy-to-use technology—video consultations. This complements us perfectly because at Infermedica, we aim to make primary care accessible, accurate, and convenient for millions of patients worldwide. Healthcare available to anyone, anywhere is the common goal that brought knok and Infermedica together and remains the ultimate goal in our joint venture.

“We first met knok’s representatives during the Health Hub Vienna acceleration program and quickly saw the potential of combining our technologies. There we were, talking about the possible synergy between our Symptom Checker and their video consultations and seeking new opportunities,” says Tomasz Domino, COO at Infermedica. “What was a simple idea soon became something more. We’ve quickly moved from the concept to work on an integration aiming to improve patient access to appropriate medical services,” he adds.

Joining modern healthcare technologies

knok|Panacea is a fully integrated, Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for video consultations for doctors and patients, who only need an internet-connected device with a browser installed to use it. The solution ensures the security and confidentiality of devices and patients' data, as it is compliant with HIPAA and GDPR. Designed by healthcare providers for healthcare providers, it meets doctors' demands for efficiency, transparency, and personalized service.

At Infermedica, we offer a white-label form of our platform, and knok operates in the same way. Both solutions are easy to implement via API and have a wide language coverage. Together with knok’s representatives, we agreed that our AI-based Symptom Checker could be used as the first point of patient contact to perform a quick and simple triage, and then, using knok’s technology, it would automatically redirect those needing teleconsultation to a virtual call with an appropriate doctor.

See how it works:

“We believe that healthcare is becoming digital first, and data will play a critical role in delivering more value and better service. Together with Infermedica’s Symptom Checker, we are on the path of gathering 28 sets of data at every video consultation, enabling a personalized approach to every patient, facilitating diagnosis, and providing early detection of crucial disease risk factors,” says José Bastos, CEO and Co-founder of knok.

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A digital patient journey is now complete

knok decided to implement Infermedica’s AI technology to optimize its solutions and increase value to both healthcare providers and insurers. Bastos said, “There were 3 fundamental reasons for which we decided to integrate knok with Infermedica: our clinical tests proved its technology is the most accurate, it gives flexibility while building in the holistic patient journey, and we can always count on its technical support.”

As a result of the integration, a physician can receive a set of information about the patient gathered during the Symptom Checker interview before the actual visit. This practice can support doctors during patient intake and significantly save time otherwise spent on onsite medical interviews. In addition, the patient’s data can be easily augmented during the visit.

Integration between Infermedica and knok—patient journey.
Integration between Infermedica and knok—patient journey.

The integration between both platforms allows for effective patient navigation and immediate remote treatment of those patients who qualified for teleconsultation during the Symptom Checker interview. This combination of technologies also ensures more time for the issue at hand, benefiting both patient and doctor.

“It’s one truly integrated product, so one single solution will address the complete end-to-end digital patient journey, from the symptom checker and consultation scheduling to the medical care delivery, electronic health record, e-prescriptions, and follow-up interventions (e.g. applicable Patient Reported Outcomes),” says Bastos. “This level of integration generates very high-quality data which is truly actionable. Our joint solution is better than competitors in delivering value to our stakeholders (i.e. end-users/patients, providers, and payers): improved data insights, better quality of medical diagnosis and follow-up, and higher patient satisfaction. For our clients, they get excellent value for money,” he adds.

“Now we can offer an end-to-end experience for patients and combine the power of the AI triage system, navigating patients to the right level of care, with instant access to online doctors, prescriptions, and after-visit follow-ups. What is extremely important in our integration with knok is that the whole platform is white-labeled, easy to customize, and adapted to the needs of our partners,” comments Domino.

Microsoft partners up with Infermedica
Infermedica provides technology to the Microsoft Healthcare Bot Service, empowering others to use AI-based virtual assistants at scale.

Next steps of the cooperation

The platforms are currently fully integrated and ready to use as a complete solution for insurance companies and healthcare systems. Both Infermedica and knok are fast-growing companies with investors’ contributions and have massive potential for further development. We at Infermedica are devoted to fostering this partnership by supporting and motivating each other to achieve more. Together, we strive for better healthcare for all.

“By joining forces and exploring potential synergies with other innovative partners, such as knok, we all can offer an increased value to our end customers and patients. That's why we invite organizations from all aspects of healthcare to collaborate with us and access our AI technology by joining our Partner Program,” says Domino.

“We’re living the most exciting times in healthcare: digital-first and value-based care go hand in hand in changing how healthcare is delivered. Both our companies are strong believers in the power of data to improve clinical decisions, clinical outcomes, cost effectiveness, and patient satisfaction, so the possibilities are endless,” comments Bastos. “With the next set of features we’ll be releasing in Q3, our promise is to have patients enter a video consultation for acute care (such as tonsillitis or urinary infection), and be offered a much broader and more personalized digital approach, including cardiovascular and diabetes risk assessment, the opportunity to enroll in a disease prevention and management program, and quick access to highly qualified doctors for those conditions. All the data will improve clinical decisions, medical insights, and allow for earlier diagnosis—better quality of life for patients and more efficiency for the system as a whole,” he adds.

knok is a member of Infermedica's Partner Program. The program is open for any company that wishes to cooperate with Infermedica. Check out the details and application process at Infermedica’s Partner Program webpage.

Want to know more about our solutions or Partner Program? Get in touch.

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