How Relief Telemed Responded to Client Needs During COVID-19

This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.

Agility may have been 2019’s buzzword, but it’s 2020’s reality. In a volatile and uncertain environment, startups have to be agile to survive. And that’s precisely what Vishal Vasanji, co-founder and CEO of Relief Telemed, did.

Vasanji and his business partner had previously pivoted Relief Telemed, and they again listened to what people wanted, focused on core strengths and took quick action. “Instead of getting caught up in trying to maintain multiple service lines, let’s just have one service line and do it really, really well,” Vasanji recalls thinking, “because that’s overwhelmingly what people are asking for.”

When COVID-19 struck, Relief Telemed filled a dire need — and now they’re fulfilling major contracts. Here’s how.

Finding the Right Business Model

An effective business model must solve pain points for both clients and community partners. Relief Telemed started out as a telemedicine service but found that patients wanted to talk to their doctor, not a randomly available clinician. So they pivoted to becoming a platform where local patients could access doctors within the community. While this satisfied patient needs, clinicians weren’t making the same revenue from telemedicine as they did in person.

“We looked at models like Waitr or Uber where things are getting delivered at home, and somewhere along the line, a light bulb went off,” Vasanji says. “We realized that we can almost replicate the entire doctor’s visit experience — except doing it in somebody’s home or office.”

Embracing agility, Relief Telemed tested several business models before landing on the right one to solve pain points from both clients and community partners. And that positioned them for success during the pandemic shutdown.

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