Each one, reach one!
A Memphis woman created a MedTech company to help low-income and elderly patients, Essence reports.
Erica Plybeah is the founder of MedHaul, a Memphis-based med tech company that provides personalized non-emergency transportation to and from medical appointments. Plybeah first got the idea after watching her grandmother’s challenges. A Type 2 Diabetic and double-leg amputee, Plybeah’s grandmother often struggled to find effective transportation back and forth to her doctor’s appointments. Now she's created a service for for low-income patients, the elderly, and those with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.
The entrepreneur started ideating her business when she saw a billboard advertisement for taxi services for new mothers. Then, two weeks later, she heard about a competition for aspiring entrepreneurs who could create solutions for operational issues in the medical field. According to Plybeah, “transportation management was one of their top pain points.”
“I saw the competition and I was like, that seems cool. It’s such a coincidence, but nope, I’m not applying. Then two weeks later, I got an email that the deadline for the competition had been extended...That just kind of fueled the fire,” Plybeah said.
She submitted her business plan for the Memphis Medical District Collaborative Operation Opportunity Challenge and won, being awarded $20,000. She went on to participate in the Epicenter Logistics Accelerator where she received another $50,000 for startup capital before entering into Google’s Startup Accelerator for Black founders.
Plybeah used her background in healthcare IT to make a demo design of the technology, eventually hiring software engineers to fully design MedHaul. Once the application was up and running she was able to connect with healthcare providers and offer them the cloud-based process as a way to assist with booking transportation. Before MedHaul, clinical personnel were spending an average of 2.5 hours per appointment booking transportation for patients, making about 11 phone calls for each patient. The company has also partnered with small transportation companies who were severely underused, vehicles only going out 50%-30% of the time during the week.
“I wanted to find a way to positively impact patients and the healthcare providers who are [now] my customers...We partner with small transportation companies that have specialized vans that can accommodate wheelchairs and stretchers,” Plybeah said.
The 33-year-old has now certified MedHaul as a B Corporation, focusing on purpose and profit. Her goal is to continue to expand in the southeastern states where she feels the need is the greatest and patients would benefit the most.
“I’ve seen over the years that innovation typically skips over the communities that need it. The southeast has some of the lowest income and sickest people. This is where we need innovation. Everything doesn’t always have to go to San Francisco or New York,” she said.
To learn more about MedHaul, visit www.gomedhaul.com.
Thank you for your service Erica. Because of you, they can!
Photo Courtesy of Starboard and Port Commercial Photography