Health at Hand is the multi award winning disruptive digital health company that was started up by innovator and venture capitalist Charlie Barlow, voted the ‘Most Influential CEO in the Middle East and Africa 2021’, following similar accolades in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Inspired by his own experiences and able to apply the dedication and ambition that comes from that in all elements of his work, Charlie has taken the UAE into the future of healthcare with the introduction of telemedicine, being the first company ever to achieve a telehealth license after successful lobbying of government and regulators.
Selling the business in early 2021, but retained as CEO, Charlie created Health at Hand as the solution for a faster, easier way to see a doctor or healthcare professional in the United Emirates. Its goals are made plain; by providing a singular platform upon which professionals and patients can interact, share information, and make and conduct video appointments, it has become a convenient and trustworthy way to remove some of the difficulties of healthcare access. With Health at Hand, a patient can access their care whenever works for them. In addition, Health at Hand is a true trailblazer for the region and has inspired the growth of a relatively new niche in the healthcare market.
The sole-founder and CEO of this company, Charlie Barlow, is the exemplary professional mind behind this disruptive company. A venture capitalist and visionary, Charlie is an influencer in his own right. A Google for Entrepreneurs scholar, a United Nations ‘Game-Changer’ and a regular contributor to print media and radio, Charlie believes that the medical sector is a perfect crucible for further technological growth, and has made Health at Hand the flagbearer of this new paradigm, connecting patients with internationally accredited healthcare workers when they need them via a brilliantly built IOS and Android app. By eradicating waiting times, it puts autonomy in healthcare back into the patient’s hands, allowing them to access it from the comfort of their own homes, on the go, or otherwise, at an affordable flat rate with no hidden or surprise charges.
Additionally, Charlie has ensured that the rich proprietary technology stack he developed has brought the highest standard of healthcare to each one of its patients. No matter what they need or how big or small the issue, it promises that it will have the professional on hand to help, responding quickly and efficiently with empathic and sensitive advice, after listening closely to what the patient needs. This has been made possible by the drive and commitment of the CEO himself. Bringing the highest standards of healthcare to each of its clientele, Charlie brings his unique and hardworking attitude to the app, meaning that each patient can leave with a positive and lasting impression. Synonymous with digital healthcare in the region, Charlie is one of (if not ‘the’) most respected names in digital healthcare in the Middle East and Africa.
Charlie’s drive is infectious amongst his staff. Everyone he works with cannot help but see the passion for business that he employs in every interaction and every new foray into a new avenue, motivating those around him to do their best with a huge emphasis on driving a positive culture across his diverse team of employees. This has created an ambitious, supportive, communicative network of people that are willing to go above and beyond for the clients from start to finish and have an ingrained commitment to improving the industry.
Charlie own experience with healthcare has influenced this. He spent time in health clinics witnessing the healthcare delivery to his own young children, experiencing for himself time and time again the killer waiting times that make the hospital experience one of tedium and frustration that can put both staff and patient at risk. But much more than this, Charlie slept in labor camps to fully understand the needs of blue collar workers, refugees and those who until now were not afforded basic primary healthcare Charlie witnesses a disconnect between patient and doctors, highlighting operational and clinical inefficiencies when it came to visits and appointments, and resolved to create an online, remote, on-demand solution that would give the power back to those seeking healthcare as well as those providing it. Offering consultations for primary healthcare through video calls Health at Hand now operates in numerous countries including the UAE, India and Egypt, touching the lives of millions of patients through partnerships with regional corporate entities on an on-demand and subscription-based model, directly benefitting the consumer.
Health at Hand, in addition, has an exemplary technologically adept team behind it. The technology experts who helmed its creation and still manage its upkeep, were involved in the development of the region’s first unicorn company, ride-hailing app Careem, ensuring that Health at Hand is on track to continue its expansion in the coming years. Moreover, given the slow adoption of telemedicine in the UAE, this business is slowly coaxing professionals and patients who live and work therein that it is the future, and it stands to better the entire industry on the whole by taking the pressure off of brick-and-mortar hospitals and healthcare institutes.
This will also save governmental and municipal money as huge amounts of those budgets are still being spent on the building of more brick-and-mortar hospitals. All in all, Health at Hand seeks to slowly change this status quo in order to directly show its industry and its region just how much time and money and inconvenience telemedicine can save, whilst still achieving the results that will provide the patient with the help they need. Therefore, Health at Hand and Charlie have been working with UAE’s health authorities throughout the beginning of its operations and especially throughout the pandemic in order to find the best ways to help. Indeed, the pandemic was in and of itself something that showed the region – and the world at large – just how helpful telemedicine can be.
With increased pressure on the hospital system and the lockdowns making it inadvisable for people to leave their homes, remote access became an important factor of all aspects of life. Medicine has been no different. Remote access to healthcare has been a boon to the professionals and patients who need to use it, and through Health at Hand’s work with YouGov to commission the appropriate white papers, this business has been able to lead from the front by not just being one of the first of its kind, but by being one of the best of its kind.
Charlie puts a huge emphasis on the diligence and tenacity of his staff, and with humility he continually stresses that the success of the business is down to them as opposed to himself. Each of them, from its doctors to its technological team and patient admissions, are highly qualified and highly motivated. Regarding the doctors specifically, each of them meet or exceed the equivalent of US board certification standards. Operating with unmatched levels of professionalism, Health at Hand handles everything from live video, integrated sick notes, e-referral, and drug delivery. In the future this will be joined by more AI and machine learning components that will allow for speedy, accurate diagnostics and an enhanced digital twin service, addressing the needs of protective and preventative medicine for its market segment.
Charlie is indeed a pioneer and a market disruptor. Whether he remains with Health at Hand long term, now it has been acquired, remains to be seen, but we cannot wait to see what he does next. Charlie will no doubt be heavily sought after the resounding success of Health at Hand both in the region and beyond, and his skills will no doubt be transferable outside of the digital health sphere. We watch his next move with huge interest.
For further information, please contact Charlie Barlow or visit myhealthathand.com