The Latin American middle-class’ healthcare journey is characterized by mistrust and misinformation. Today, only 7% of LATAM’s population has access to private insurance. This means that 93% of the population is looking for accessible, affordable, and reliable solutions to take care of their health. Tani Salud, a Polymath Ventures company, is Latin America’s leading medical procedures platform, providing quality care and transparent prices for the middle-class.
In this new blog post, we talked to Natalie Copuroglu - founder and CEO of Tani Salud - about their design process, the relevance of Tani in Latin America, and her vision to transform the healthcare industry in the region. Nat, as everyone calls her, is an accomplished service designer with 12+ years of experience designing businesses and services, who led the design of Tani’s business model and is in charge of steering the future of the company.
THE OPPORTUNITY IN LATIN AMERICA
The Latin American middle-class has been historically neglected by formal institutions. The lack of effective solutions in basic industries such as banking, education, and healthcare explains the delay in the overall social and economic development and most importantly the greatest impact on the wellbeing of the middle-class in the region.
Healthcare, in particular, is a subject that requires special attention. The middle-class’ journey is characterized by mistrust and misinformation; medical procedures are rarely accessible, affordable, and reliable. Out of the 93% of the population that does not have access to private insurance, 140M people do not have access to formal health services at all. This means that one out of three persons in the region has no permanent access to health care services.
OUT OF POCKET MARKET
Not having formal access to health care services means patients across Latin America must be creative when they need medical procedures. During the research phase, the team learned that most Latin American patients spend a considerable amount of time and energy “shopping around” for medical procedures, which means contacting multiple surgeons and clinics to get the best price-quality procedure.
At the same time, there are thousands of independent surgeons that are managing their practices through manual and non-standardized administrative processes. These professionals are looking to establish their private practices and serve the out-of-pocket market, however, the existing solutions are inefficient, informal, and limited.
LatAm out-of-pocket medical procedure market is worth $20.8B US and will grow driven by spending in categories middle-class consumers deeply care about. Latin Americans are most interested in dental, aesthetics, and diagnostic procedures. Which will drive faster spending in the out-of-pocket market than the overall spend in health.
This behavior along with the skyrocketing adoption of digital services in Latin America presents a massive opportunity. The focus will be to create value by digitizing and streamlining inefficient offline behaviors.
WHAT IS TANI SALUD?
Tani is a managed marketplace for medical procedures in Latin America, that aims to connect patients with trusted surgeons while supporting both throughout the entire journey. Their story started in 2020, during one of the most critical crises of this generation when the Polymath Ventures business design team started thinking about the healthcare system in Latin America.
In order to better understand the context and depth of the industry, the design team partnered with Auna, an experienced healthcare company in Peru and Colombia, that provided valuable insights about the ecosystem and access to their medical staff to better understand their needs and expectations.
The design process
At the time, the team identified nine core insights that determined the path of concepting and prototyping. The common pattern between these nine insights was around access. Patients were concerned about their limitations in the current healthcare system; lack of coverage, massive delays to secure appointments, and payment limitations.
“The healthcare situation is such a massive and complex problem and that is why it is so important to build a business anchored in insights. Being able to listen to all of our stakeholders and build upon has been the greatest satisfaction, because we know we are not adapting existing foreign business models, we are truly building something new, intentional and well-designed”. Natalie Copuroglu, CEO and Founder of Tani Salud.
As the prototyping phase evolved with three different concepts, the team validated the relevance of the “shopping behavior” in the segment. Fifty interviews were made throughout 12 iterations to test the desirability of patients and surgeons and determine the potential of the business model.
By the end of the ideation and validation phases, which took around 6 months, the team launched Tani Salud. In the beginning, they focused on surgical procedures with great demand in the market, but low attention on the healthcare system - The inguinal hernia repair is a good example of this situation, which in some cases is not prioritized by the medical institutions, but it can cause great discomfort and pain to the patient -. This proved to be a relevant strategy to rapidly accelerate the positioning and growth of the business.
Accessible and transparent procedures for the middle-class
In an underserved market, the lack of transparency and the hassle of assessing the quality of medical professionals and facilities are the main challenges for patients when they need to take care of their health. As stated previously, the shopping around behavior is frequent and the current offering is not efficient or transparent.
Tani Salud offers patients an empowering experience by enabling access to safe and high-quality surgeons and facilities. One of the key differentiators is their commitment to building trust. The team knows they are not “selling” any other product or service, they are taking care of people's health. That is why they have designed an assessment process to identify and validate the medical profiles that join the platform. They also provide full visibility on pricing and requirements, so the patient does not have to “negotiate” their procedure. As Natalie stated, “we want to build a trusted end-to-end experience”.
Tani Salud helps Doctors build their businesses
From established surgeons to emerging practitioners, there is a massive segment of medical professionals looking to establish their independent businesses. According to the team analysis, there are 105K emerging surgeons, with less than 10 years of experience, who could embrace Tani Salud to expand their practices and accelerate their career trajectory.
Tani’s value proposition is to help surgeons in Latin America grow their private practice, reduce the operational hassle and help them build their reputation. To do so they have built an impressive and efficient digital suite that allows them to focus on what is important, performing the procedures and taking care of their patients. This means that lead generation, appointment and payment management, and follow-up are enabled by Tani’s technology.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR TANI SALUD?
The pandemic reinforced the need for robust healthcare solutions and it also created new areas of exploration for the team. The pandemic taught them that the overall system is weak, especially in times of crisis. As the medical institutions prepared to fight COVID-19, millions of patients with other conditions were neglected due to the lack of personnel, rooms, and resources.
It should be noted that surgeons around the world were impacted by the continuous delay of procedures, affecting their income sources and quality of life. According to a recent survey conducted in Colombia, 82% of the interviewed surgeons confirmed their income was impacted by COVID-19.
Amidst the chaos and the constant frustration of patients across Latin America, Tani’s vision is to provide the region's middle-class with a hassle-free, affordable, and end-to-end healthcare experience, by leveraging the power of human care and tech solutions. Its team of over a dozen cross-functional experts in ops, tech, growth, and customer service, and with the leadership of Natalie, is focused on identifying key procedures that their segment requires. Challenging the norm of traditional institutions, their mandate is to secure the procedures when they are needed, not when it’s possible.
The company is raising a pre-Seed round, led by Polymath Ventures, to achieve Product-Market Fit and accelerate the growth of the company. Which in terms of results means extending their network of surgeons and increasing the number of completed procedures; ultimately increasing their impact to hundreds of patients looking for high-quality, affordable, and transparent care.
2022 will be a promising year for the company and its team. The goal is not only related to their target numbers but about building a strong and trusted community of patients and doctors that share Tani’s vision to transform the healthcare industry in Latin America.
Learn more about the company and its design process here.