By Pirah Aijaz
The 25-year-old, Nimra Qureshi, is leading Health Tech innovation in Pakistan, with her initiative SeeVitals - which is a remote patient monitoring system solution, with integrated hardware and software. Simply put, it is a system that can detect just how critical a patient is, so timely intervention can prevent, unnecessary deaths.
A qualified dentist, Nimra has unmatched passion for Healthcare. The lack of infrastructure as well as human resources, in the Healthcare sector motivated her to start ‘SeeVitals Solutions’, a company that provides healthcare services without discrimination, prioritizing patients according to their ‘need’ for medical assistance.
The company is the product of the constant efforts of three friends Dr. Aimon Malik (Chief Operating Officer), Muhammad Dayan (Chief Technology Officer), and Nimra Qureshi as the Chief Executive Officer.
Nimra and her team’s continuous efforts have won them many accolades, to date. Let’s hear more about her journey, challenges and the milestones she managed to achieve.
Tell us about yourself, your academic background?
I am a dentist by profession, graduated from CMH Lahore Medical & Dental College. Soon into the clinical practice I realized the narrowness of the field with a limited impact; I joined LUMS for master’s in healthcare management & Innovation. Being a very driven and optimistic individual – both the programs propelled me to do something greater for the healthcare industry.
What made you choose this unique field of business?
Healthcare is very close to my heart. From my profession as well as on a personal level growing up in developed countries and coming back to Pakistan made me realize that there was a stark difference in the healthcare delivery and quality at home. I was always passionate, but this field made me compassionate. More than passion, the compassion drove me to do, better things in our local health industry, for our community – even if it meant one person doing it, I was ready to take it up.
Personal experiences where I was involved in rushing trauma patients to the ER, where I’ve seen and been part of several ribs fracturing because of last minute CPRs, losing people close to me in my hometown Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir because of lack of quality healthcare put me at unease. We were losing lives, not because they could not be saved – but because there were too many to save and not enough on the other end to save them.
What problem are you solving with your initiative, Seevitals Solutions?
Being on the spectrum as a healthcare provider, as well as a patient – there is no hidden truth that we severely lack infrastructure as well as human health resources. With SeeVitals we are targeting the lack of resources such as beds and the doctors. Our palm-sized device continuously measures vitals without any contact to the patient, updating and alerting the doctors! This gives a prioritization of patients with their level of criticality that helps in early warning system leading to an early diagnosis and early treatments lowering the number of preventable deaths. The problem where you heard “koi time se dekh leta, toh bach jatay”, “bed nahi mila”, “samjh nahi ayee kya hua”, “raat ko theekh thy, phir pata nahi kya hua?” – are the problems we are resolving.
What are some of your accomplishments so far?
My biggest accomplishment to date is finding and keeping the right people around. SeeVitals is not defined by who I am, rather by the combined accomplishments of my team. We have achieved all the little milestones that have given shape and life to SeeVitals. We have been awarded the President’s National Idea Bank Award in Health, qualified for the regionals of HULT Prize, and got into National Health Incubator (Aga Khan University) and the Stanford Seed Spark!
At the end of the day, it has been the support of my family, who pushed me every single minute, to reach where I have. Still, I’m trying to make a difference one step at a time for a cause close to my heart.
What challenges did you face at the beginning of your venture?
Convincing doctors! Since we are a technology-based platform and doctors locally run away from anything IT-related, it was a task to get them on-board. COVID came in as a blessing in disguise, sped up the adoption rate of technology amongst the doctors and healthcare workers and raised awareness of this huge shift the world was seeing in the IT-sector.
Managing work, Masters and the venture together came as a tough road to take. I’ve spent countless nights arguing if there was any point in putting in efforts, time, money and resources into something that is of such high risk? How could I not take any step for the ones who’re waiting in lines, risking their lives traveling across cities just to get a diagnosis? Watching passively from the sidelines didn’t feel right.
How did you overcome roadblocks?
I just kept going. Reminding myself one small step at a time. Without the thought of how it’s going to turn out, I kept going and I still keep taking any challenge thrown with a big smile. Smiling helps a lot! In convincing the healthcare staff, we reached out to let them know technology will not replace doctors, but doctors with technology will!
Nimra what is your ultimate vision, what impact do you eventually wish to create through SeeVitals?
I plan to see an equitable healthcare for all. Accessible, and of quality. I see SeeVitals penetrating all kinds of hospitals, home care services and ambulances by making healthcare available to every individual. Health is a blessing, consequently healthcare should be too – and we are here to make it one.
On the other hand, people consider failure as a lack of accomplishing goals. In fact, the problem is that failure can be read in a number of different ways. Failure is defined as a lack of success or an inability to meet expectations. But for me, failure means ‘Give Another Try’ and don’t give up, no matter what the situation is. That’s what I believe.
What do you think about the rise of women entrepreneurs in healthcare technology?
I can still identify so many gaps that need to be filled in. Health Tech, undoubtedly has a lot of potential. We are doing better than before, but we need more entrepreneurs especially women in health-tech. Women not only bring ideas and implementation plans to the table, but they also bring in a different perspective on saving lives.
Do you think e-health affects the efficiency of the health system in Pakistan?
Definitely. The leading cause why the developed countries are doing better in healthcare is because they are utilizing their health systems very efficiently through technology.
Tell us about the best advice you received during your business venture that you wish you had known earlier.
You might not get the desired results for the longest time, do it anyway. You might not get any results initially, keep pushing anyway.