Armenia is not only attractive for tourists because of its history and nature, but also because of the quality medical services which are relatively affordable. The Armenian start-up “Get Treated” helps patients find experienced professionals and plan affordable treatment in Armenia.
The founder of the company, the Canadian-born entrepreneur, Raffi Elliott returned to Armenia six years ago in 2011. Here, he founded a company, and after some time, he underwent surgery, which according to him, was not offered in Canada.
“It was affordable in Armenia with very high-quality service. That’s when I realized that there is potential for other people to experience the high quality of medical care that Armenia has to offer, with much more affordable cost than in the United States, or in Canada, or in other parts of the world” Says the CEO. “ particularly, in terms of dental implantology, ophthalmology, plastic surgeries. I knew that up until then many people already came to Armenia for treatment, mostly dental. But usually they found doctors based on their relatives, and it was not clear whether it is clean or safe. That gave me an idea to use the team that I already had to create a Platform as a Service (PaaS) called “Get treated””.
The platform, allows patients to select clinics using various filters. They can find accurate information about the doctors, ask for an advice from other patients, get an upfront estimate about the cost and book the entire trip directly.
“The Platform also allows patients to reach out to doctors and share sensitive medical information securely. They can then book the entire trip, from flying, to hotels to booking, the medical appointments, and logistics as well. So the patients are picked up at the airport, they are brought to the hotel, clinic, etc.”.
Raffi explains that at first, he thought that mostly Armenians would use their service: “But we were surprised that maybe 40% of our patients are Armenians from the Diaspora. Most of our patients are non-Armenians, who have never heard about Armenia before coming. A lot of them come from Canada, the UAE, France, etc. For them, of course, the number one attractiveness is the price, but also the ease of organizing everything and trust.”
According to Mr. Elliott, the main challenge of creating “Get Treated” was the selection process of the professionals: “A lot of doctors were interested in the services that we offer. However, just because they are interested, doesn’t mean we have to accept them. We maintain a very high selection criteria for the clinics. For the clinics, we want to make sure that the doctors are well educated, have studied abroad, the clinic is modern and clean and the equipment is of the highest standard. Lastly, the doctor must be people-friendly and speak languages”.
He assures that that they follow their patients during their entire journey: from the first minute, they contact “Get Treated” until even when they have already left Armenia: “On the side, we try to develop Armenian tourism industry. For example, the hotels we work with are usually local boutique hotels instead of international chains. When patients come they usually stay for a minimum of 10 to15 days, so they have a lot of time to travel and visit while waiting for next appointments. So we also work with local tour companies.”
Raffi Elliott believes that Armenia is a fascinating country. He insists that the level of dental and medical care is about the same, if not higher, than most Western countries, and the prices are much more affordable: “That makes Armenia interesting”.