DocNoc: locating your nearest doctor with GCP and Google Maps

About DocNoc

DocNoc is an online marketplace offering patients on-demand consultations with healthcare specialists via video, home and in-clinic appointments.

Industries: Healthcare, Technology
Location: United Kingdom

About MediaAgility

A Google Cloud Premier Partner, MediaAgility is a global digital consulting company focused on analytics, innovation and machine learning.

UK-based online doctor-on-demand platform DocNoc powers its app with Google App Engine, Cloud Datastore and Maps APIs to securely store its data and provide flexible and rapid autoscaling.

Google Cloud Results

  • Powers innovative mapping functionality with Google Maps APIs to map distances to nearest doctors
  • Stores doctor and patient details using Cloud Datastore, keeping data secure
  • Provides flexibility with automatic auto-scaling, meaning future growth is unlimited

By building the UK’s only online marketplace that offers users on-demand access to specialist healthcare anywhere at any time, DocNoc has created an innovative solution to the problem of scarce public healthcare provision in Britain. Users can easily locate and access a doctor whose profile fits their illness or symptoms, and doctors can earn an additional source of income that fits around their schedule. Founded in 2016, DocNoc has registered over 120 doctors so far and will begin marketing to service users in summer 2018.

One of the app’s key features is its mapping function, as it shows doctors who are available near to the user. “When you’re sick, the priority is to see a doctor quickly,” says Dr Ali Jomaa, Surgeon and CEO and Founder of DocNoc. “We have created a geo-mapping platform for bookings that enables patients find a doctor near-by, and equally lets doctors set the distance they are willing to travel to see patients. Doctors can also offer video consultations nationally.”

“It’s a new market, but the potential is huge. So the main goal has been to identify a way to launch small and rapidly scale up, in a cost-effective manner.”

Dr Ali Jomaa, Surgeon and CEO and Founder, DocNoc

As the app serves different functions for doctors and patients, DocNoc needed a platform that offered the flexibility to build both of those journeys, and deliver excellent performance and security. It also needed to include mapping functionality and the potential to scale rapidly once more doctors register. With support from MediaAgility, Google Cloud Platform was the perfect fit.

“It’s a new market, but the potential is huge,” says Dr Ali. “So the main goal was to identify a way to launch small and rapidly scale up, in a cost-effective manner.”

Building the DocNoc app

The health-tech market is evolving very quickly, despite the many complex logistical, legal and ethical considerations any digital healthcare technology provider has to address. To stay ahead of the market, DocNoc wanted to launch its MVP as quickly as possible, but its app needed to answer a number of key criteria including security, functionality and scalability. “We needed it to be highly secure and compliant with GDPR and to have a separate doctor and patient interface giving each user their own distinct journey,” says Dr Ali. “We also had to embed the mapping element.”

“Datastore and App Engine allow you to launch quickly and scale rapidly. At the moment, there are about 120 doctors on there, but it could soon be all the doctors in the UK. This will never be an issue for DocNoc as Google Cloud Platform scales seamlessly on demand.”

Nilesh Chavda, Director of Digital Innovation, UK, MediaAgility.

To do that, DocNoc collaborated with MediaAgility to build the app on Google Cloud Platform using Google App Engine. Available for iOS, Android and as a web app, the app exposes different functionality to a doctor, a patient or an administrator through various secure interfaces.”The patient needs to be able to trust DocNoc in order to feel that the doctors have credibility,” explains Nilesh Chavda, Director of Digital Innovation, UK at MediaAgility. “We built in doctor profiles so that the patients can see the doctors, and read about their expertise and which clinics they have worked in.”

All the relevant doctor information needed for the app is stored on Google Cloud Datastore along with basic client information. “Technically, Google Cloud Platform is highly secure and is highly stable,” says Nilesh. “It has various certifications for health technology, so it answers DocNoc’s current needs.”

As for potential future expansion, now that the infrastructure is in place, thanks to the auto-scaling functionality Google Cloud Datastore and App Engine provide, there are no limits on how many doctors and patients can be added to the platform or how many incoming requests can be processed.

“Datastore and App Engine allow you to launch quickly and scale rapidly,” says Nilesh. “At the moment, there are about 120 doctors on there, but it could soon be all the doctors in the UK. This will never be an issue for DocNoc as Google Cloud Platform scales seamlessly on demand.”

MediaAgility: Maps experts

For calculating the distance from patient to doctor, MediaAgility used their experience of working with Google Maps to integrate the mapping functionality into the app using a combination of Google Cloud Platform’s Mapping Visualisation and Data APIs: JavaScript Maps API, Geocoding API, Places API and Distance Matrix API. “We’re huge fans of Google Maps, and bringing mapping technology to businesses,” says Nilesh.

From their side, DocNoc benefit from an implementation partner who can solve any technical issue, meaning DocNoc can focus on business strategy with no need for any in-house operations. “We outsource everything to MediaAgility, from development to maintenance,” says Dr Ali. “It’s very efficient for a start-up.

‘Using Google Cloud Platform, we can potentially integrate all aspects of digital technology, machine learning and clinical support decision systems into one platform. So as a doctor, I can have access to powerful tools that ensure I provide an excellent, up-to-date, 21st century service to my patients.”

Dr Ali Jomaa, Surgeon and CEO and Founder, DocNoc

Providing 21st century healthcare

Thanks to Google App Engine, Google Cloud Datastore and Google Cloud Storage through rapid development MediaAgility were able to take DocNoc from idea to impact in 10 weeks. The app answers the needs of both patients and doctors, and is designed to scale up and accommodate a limitless amount of data.

For the future, MediaAgility is looking into how DocNoc can use Artificial Intelligence in the form of Machine Learning to provide an improved service, with better patient triage, for example. “For DocNoc to remain competitive in the doctor-on-demand market, I believe the next phase will be using Machine Learning and Machine Vision,” says Nilesh.

‘We want to empower doctors with digital technology without confusing them,” says Dr Ali. “Using Google Cloud Platform, we can potentially integrate all aspects of digital technology, machine learning and clinical support decision systems into one platform. So as a doctor, I can have access to powerful tools that ensure I provide an excellent, up-to-date, 21st century service to my patients.”

About DocNoc

DocNoc is an online marketplace offering patients on-demand consultations with healthcare specialists via video, home and in-clinic appointments.

Industries: Healthcare, Technology
Location: United Kingdom

About MediaAgility

A Google Cloud Premier Partner, MediaAgility is a global digital consulting company focused on analytics, innovation and machine learning.