Q&A with Paula Muto, Founder and CEO of UBERDOC Inc.

| September 6, 2021

Paula Muto, M.D., F.A.C.S., Founder and CEO of UBERDOC, is also the Director of the Vein Center at Mutosurgical. A graduate of Amherst College and New York Medical College, Dr. Muto is a fellowship-trained vascular surgeon by specialty who also practices general surgery. Paula is an advocate of disruption in healthcare and speaks passionately on many issues regarding transparency in healthcare, patient rights, and ensuring patient access to the care they need and deserve.

There are many physicians with good training and skills who are leaving medicine because it’s impossible to navigate the current system and they are burning out trying.



MEDIA 7: You have had an extensive professional career of over 30 years, could you please share a glimpse of your wonderful journey?
PAULA MUTO:
I am a surgeon. My father was a great surgeon, my brother, two uncles, and my husband as well. You might call it the family business. I have been in private/solo practice as a vascular and general surgeon for close to 25 years. Five years ago, frustrated by where US healthcare was headed, I created a platform to connect patients in need to the right doctor, specialist, quickly, and for a transparent price. Now I am the founder of a disruptive digital healthcare startup with thousands of doctors. Being a CEO/Founder is what I do, a doctor is who I am and will always be.


M7: The patient to specialist (P2S) direct access web app, UBERDOC sounds intriguing, could you please shed some light on this?
PM:
The US healthcare system is a disaster. It’s complicated, for both patients and doctors, it is overpriced, and after Covid-19, in a state of chaos. There are many physicians with good training and skills who are leaving medicine because it’s impossible to navigate the current system and they are burning out trying. UBERDOC started as a simple way for a patient to make an appointment with a specialist, without a phone call or insurance approval. Now we make appointments for every specialty and even for government agencies. Because we are not dependent on insurance, we have a lot of latitude and because we are about that first step, we don’t preclude the use of insurance for subsequent care.


Hospitals will never recover as so much elective care has moved to better, more efficient locations, and for a lot less money. And as consumers recognize better, more convenient, and less expensive options, they will drive the next generation of care.



M7: What changes has COVID-19 brought in the working of the whole healthcare system?
PM:
Where to start? First, it revealed the flaws in the system. Hospitals spend too much on administration, not equipment or human resources, hence the scramble for ventilators and nurses to run them. Second, technology like telemedicine had rapid adoption. Within one year, brick-and-mortar doctors saw the advantage of a virtual office, and we were right there to provide and support doctors. We consider the doctors the end users and we listen to what they need. Third, hospitals will never recover as so much elective care has moved to better, more efficient locations, and for a lot less money. And as consumers recognize better, more convenient, and less expensive options, they will drive the next generation of care. UBERDOC is the first and only platform currently that provides that access.


M7: What do you see as the most noticeable change right now happening around the world with the rise of digitalization with regards to medical services?
PM:
Telehealth will continue to evolve. Not just a monetized phone call, but a way for us to connect with patients more efficiently. The ‘stay-at-home doctor’ is a reality and well-trained doctors can remain in practice offering vital second opinions or managing chronic diseases.  The system will push back, because much of the revenue stream was based on ancillary services that required in-person visits, like routine imaging or blood tests, which often did not alter the outcome.


Telehealth will continue to evolve. Not just a monetized phone call, but a way for us to connect with patients more efficiently. The ‘stay-at-home doctor’ is a reality and well-trained doctors can remain in practice offering vital second opinions or managing chronic diseases.



M7: What channels do you think are most relevant to your business? How do you use each channel differently?
PM:
We are a two-pronged marketplace. We market the doctors through emails and word of mouth. Social media is not that helpful, as doctors are not that social. We market patients through partnerships with employers, tourist organizations, and government agencies. We are also direct to consumers. We use Google Adwords, SEO, social channels. But healthcare is personal and private, social media is not always effective or appropriate.


M7: What advice would you like to give our readers starting their careers in this sector?
PM:
Medicine is a vocation. If you love it, you love it for life. If ambivalent, you will never be happy. As far as entrepreneurship, you have to be driven and passionate. In order of importance, success is dependent on the following: The passion >the idea>the team>the money. If anyone is out of order the company fails.

ABOUT UBERDOC

UBERDOC is a platform that provides priority access to the best specialist, both in person and via telemedicine, for a transparent, affordable price. Patient choice is the cornerstone of their mission because it strengthens the doctor-patient relationship. When patients are free to choose their doctor, it puts the control back where it belongs, and no patient should ever have to be denied access to the care they need because of insurance restrictions or cost. UBERDOC is built by those on the front lines of medicine to give patients a simpler solution.