Rolodoc before Shark Tank
Prior to the appearance on Shark Tank, Rolodoc was relatively unknown. In fact, I do not even think that the two brothers had a prototype created, as there was only rough images shown and an idea pitched during this Shark Tank appearance.
It is worthy of note that Rolodoc caused Mark Cuban to say that “it (Rolodoc) was the worst pitch” he’s ever seen. Why might that be? Read on, and find out for yourself…
Rolodoc on Shark Tank
Albert and Richard Amini are two brothers and are actually a physician duo, and their company is Rolodoc. They are on Shark Tank, looking for $50,000 in exchange for 20% of their company.
Over the years of their experience, they have realized that communication in medicine is not actually like 21st century technology. They’re still using pagers to communicate with each other. Rolodoc allows for secure email between patient, physicians, and other medical professionals, allowing a sort of mobile instant messaging between healthcare and patients. The brothers pull up a sample, using a profile of one mister “Kevin O’Leary” (yes, the “host” of Shark Tank) as an example. For the purpose of the demonstration, they have given Kevin a heart issue – acardia, which means when a person is literally born without a heart. Using the profile, healthcare professionals and health insurance can see the profile of Kevin’s problems.
For matching with doctors, the user can browse profiles of any healthcare professionals, including surgeons and general doctors or even pediatric doctors. They can then communicate through a message-like system resembling something from every social media site, but looking quite similar to LinkedIn. The healthcare professional receives a message, and can communicate at their convenience.
Lori asks if the point of the application is to serve as a way to email the doctor, and points out that the doctor could possibly be flooded with emails and personal messages. Albert says that they are trying to bring social media into healthcare, to which Kevin asks where the social side of the application is. Albert gives the example that if Kevin were to move, the option is there right now for him to find a physician or healthcare professional, but using a search engine could result in inaccurate information. Mark asks if Rolodoc is working yet, but Albert says that they only have 50 users testing it.
Kevin gives the example that he is in Boston, is having some aches and pains, messages his doctor, and then
goes to see a specialist when he gets home. Most hospitals, at least in the United States (which is where Shark Tank is based out of) have the technology to share information about patients anyways. Kevin wants to know what is being added to the already simple equation, to which Albert says that they are adding social media – Mark looks visibly annoyed at this point. Albert says that firms would want to advertise, but potentially existing social networks are not safe.
Mark wants to know how the physician would be convinced to put up information about their individual firm on Rolodoc. Albert is unable to give an answer, seeking to give circumventing answers such as having connections and having access to multiple databases and that they are in preparation for a beta launch in Arizona, Texas and California. Lori mentions that the idea is potentially very dangerous, since there is no way to assure legitimacy, and Kevin agrees; who is going to verify the doctors? Mark says there would be an extreme danger to Rolodoc if no doctors showed up, and says that no doctor would even consider checking the email.
Kevin wants to know how he, the investor, would make money, and says his doctor is already fairly savvy in technology and wants to know how he can profit off of his doctor. Albert gives the answer that the doctor would want to attract new patients, and provide social media – Mark visibly gets frustrated and begins to yell, saying “Okay, okay, okay… you guys are driving me nuts here… He keeps on saying ‘social media, social media’ – this all about one-to-one communication,” and when Kevin interjects and wants to know how money can be made, Mark shoots him down immediately saying there isn’t a cent to be made. On a personal note, I think this is one of Mark’s best outbursts as I agree with him 110% – I email my doctor at least twice a year and this just seems like reinventing the wheel.
Albert says that targeted advertising would be what sets apart Rolodoc, and Mark says that there is no possibility for a secure environment since the Amini brothers do not have an answer for security. Albert says that there are already physician-to-physician networks in place, but these have a whole different level of security standards than communicating from physician-to-patient.
Lori says that she sees Rolodoc as a liability nightmare, and there is a lot of risk in the communication, and is the first Shark to fold out of the deal. Albert says that he is trying to bring social media to medicine, which elicits another reaction from Mark, and Robert steps in to say that there is no need to bring doctors into social media when they are already there. Mark gets up and walks over to the doctors, saying that he wants to do this eye-to-eye, face-to-face because they are doctors; he shakes each man’s hand, and says that it was the worst presentation ever. He criticizes their intelligence, and once again I can’t help but enjoy it because I agree with Mark 100% – there is NO answer about security, and the last thing I would want is anyone else other than my doctor knowing about my medical history. That’s how Superman dies. Mark also criticizes the presentation, saying that there was no social media shown, only profiles – despite Albert’s answer being an instance of “social media.” However, Barbara agrees with Mark, and also says that she was completely unsold on the unclear business plan of Rolodoc, and folds as well.
Robert fails to see how monetization is possible, and quickly exits as well. Kevin says that he liked the idea but finds it depressing, but at the end of the day, he cannot figure out how he is going to make money, and exits the deal as well.
None of the sharks are going to invest, and Robert and Albert Amini leave Shark Tank without an investment in Rolodoc.
Rolodoc After Shark Tank – 2018 Update
Since appearing on Shark Tank, Rolodoc has fallen off the radar. Visiting the website reveals an extremely broken HTML code that the webpage is under construction; I was able to find the last date that this was updated was March 22, 2014. Unfortunately, it appears that Rolodoc fell victim to the unsure nature of their appearance on Shark Tank, and has folded over completely and will no longer be an existing business entity.
For that, I am glad. I would be worried if the Amini brothers were able to successfully create a social media application where doctors conversed with patients and there was no absolutely sure way to be insured that you were talking to a legal, allowed-to-practice doctor.