Dolk and Jansen, who are not doctors themselves, opened the practice at the beginning of June. Jansen is the practice manager (and currently a doctor’s assistant, so chances are you will get him on the line when you call the practice). Dolk is a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ and is in charge of IT systems, among other things. There are three doctors working in their practice, all of whom speak English fluently. One of them even speaks seven languages, including Italian. They also have a nurse practitioner on staff for mental health issues. “The registrations are going well. Within two weeks we had 350 people. Doctors from the neighbourhood who are full are also referring people to us,” says Jansen.
One important condition is that the students must live within fifteen minutes of their doctor’s practice. “In the event of an emergency, by law, a doctor must be able to be there within that time,” Dolk explains. With their location in Kralingen, they think they can in any case reach a large group of students. “And if all goes well, we hope to expand to other locations in the city”, Dolk adds.
Complicated healthcare system
International students in particular were missing out on healthcare is what Erasmus Magazine concluded after an investigation last year. They had difficulty finding a general practitioner. This was partly due to a shortage of general practitioners in Rotterdam and the associated housing problems that general practitioners face, a complicated Dutch healthcare system and the red tape involved in students registering with a general practitioner.
The university then launched its own investigation to look into what role the university could play in solving the problem. Could they bring in a general practitioner? Or a company that holds online consultations? What is helpful? What is allowed? What is advisable?
While the university was mulling this over, Jansen and Dolk did their own market research, saw the potential, and made a start. After that, they notified the university. Carolien Hennekam, who did the investigation on behalf of the university, was pleasantly surprised when she heard about their plans. “We didn’t know anything about it, but it is the answer to all the questions we were contemplating,” she laughs. ” So, we are really happy that they have opened a practice.”
Despite not being a GP, Jansen does have a wealth of experience in healthcare. He studied health economics at the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management and worked as a healthcare purchaser for a health insurer, as a healthcare vendor for a treatment centre, and for Pfizer. Jansen spotted opportunities and asked Dolk to help. Dolk has plenty of experience in the business world. In the past, he has helped start-ups in the IT sector to grow.
Why are they the ones to actually start a practice? “Not all doctors really want to run a practice themselves,” says Jansen. “That’s partly because doctors are being given more and more healthcare responsibilities and therefore have to employ people like a nurse practitioner. Consequently, the management side is getting bigger and bigger and the healthcare side is becoming smaller.” Now Dolk and Jansen, who are themselves especially interested in the entrepreneurial aspect, are able to take on these tasks.
Dolk and Jansen’s practice is specifically focused on patients having the option to receive an e-consult. “That way, it’s easy to send a picture or have digital contact with your doctor from home. We work with a user-friendly system.”
Available all day long
With regard to international students, they are currently in consultation with the private health insurance company Aon, which focuses on international students and expats. “We hope to make it just as easy for internationals to get healthcare as it is for Dutch people. For example, by sending our bills directly to Aon so the student does not have to pay at the counter.”
Great coffee, beautiful plants, e-consults and competent doctors. All very important. But both men note that the main reason why new clients choose them, is the ability to call all day. “We tell all kinds of people about our plans and what people latch on to is: You can call us not just between 9 and 11 in the morning, but all day long.” Jansen laughs: “Pretty significant, right?”