Hi, I’m George. I’m a junior doctor who plans to become a GP. I’m also the creator and founder of Therago, the new app that connects patients with allied health professionals.
Here’s why I created Therago and why I hope you’ll join the movement for easier access to allied healthcare.
I was acutely aware of barriers to accessing healthcare during my rotations through regional hospitals in Orange, Bathurst and Batemans Bay and my time at the Katungal Aboriginal Medical Service in Narooma.
But I was surprised to discover that accessing timely care was difficult even for working people in metropolitan areas.
While studying medicine at Western Sydney University, I worked at McDonald’s, at Foxtel and as a manager at Event Cinemas. I remember countless times when either myself or my workmates needed some form of healthcare but had to delay it because we were working late or couldn’t get to a clinic.
We’re fortunate in Australia because we can always go to a hospital emergency department or call an after hours doctor if we’re really sick.
But what do you do if you need urgent or after hours access to an allied health professional like a physiotherapist, podiatrist or psychologist? You’re stuck because allied health remains largely restricted to business hours.
Back in 2018, a member of my extended family hurt his back while working as a plumber. He’d had similar issues before and really needed to see a physiotherapist immediately – but it was 6.30pm and all the local clinics had closed. He was in a lot of pain and clearly needed skilled help there and then. I called a physio friend of mine and they agreed to help out, visiting my relative at home that night to treat his back and ease his pain.
The whole thing made me think.
I realised that access to such services shouldn’t depend on whether you personally know professionals in the field. There should be a way for everyone to find an allied health professional who provides flexible services.
I was still mulling this over as I went to sleep. I woke up in the morning with the idea for Therago.
The idea was for an app that would connect patients with allied health professionals offering after hours, in-home or telehealth services. It would overcome the mismatch between modern lifestyles and an outdated model of care centred on 9-5 appointments in the clinic.
Therago helps people get care they could not have accessed otherwise. Someone in my relative’s position who’d put their back out after the clinics had closed could simply use the app to find a physiotherapist in their area who would visit them at home. People like my workmates at the cinema could book the allied healthcare they needed after hours when their shift had finished. Or could use telehealth during their lunch break.
I realised Therago could be great for allied health professionals too. It takes allied healthcare out of the clinic and into the community. It gives allied health professionals much more flexibility and control over their work practices and career progression.
Building Therago took over two years. It was certainly a challenge to develop the app while working as a cinema manager and being a full-time medical student. There were a lot of late nights!
I really wanted to get it right so I paid attention to the small details as well as the big picture, all through the research, design, development and testing phases.
I really wanted Therago to make a difference to patients and professionals. So I spent a lot of time discussing how it might work, talking to allied healthcare professionals themselves, web-based healthcare developers, health law firms, allied health insurance companies, and many other groups.
Ultimately, Therago is built around the needs of allied health professionals.
With each decision, I asked myself, ‘What would be best for my physiotherapist brother and my allied health friends? What would suit their style of practice? What would increase their fulfilment in their work?’
Every aspect of Therago was designed to provide the maximum amount of flexibility for practitioners, giving them choice over the:
The money side of things always surprises people. Therago doesn’t receive any percentage of the consultation fee. We don’t skim off the top of people’s earnings. We simply charge a monthly membership fee that usually pays for itself quite quickly once people start seeing patients.
We could probably make more money with a different fee model but we’ve chosen not to. It’s the allied health professionals who are delivering the service, not us. We want them to reap the financial rewards of their work, just as we want patients to benefit from more accessible services.
Therago is meant to make life easier for people. It helps patients access healthcare that they otherwise could not have accessed. It helps practitioners achieve a greater degree of flexibility and control over how they practice and progress their careers.
Therago has a big purpose. And that’s why it wasn’t rushed onto the market. A lot of careful thought and painstaking research went into it over a two-year period.
I’m excited by Therago. It’s been so rewarding to see my vision come to life through the Therago website and app. I’m really proud of the final product and so encouraged by the feedback I’ve received so far.
So, if you’re an allied health professional dreaming of a more flexible clinical career, then join Therago . You have valuable skills that are in high demand – put them to work in a way that works for you too.
And if you’re a patient who wants more convenient and accessible allied healthcare, then have a look on Therago . You’ll hopefully find someone with the right clinical skills who can care for you in a way that fits your lifestyle.