Making Healthcare Accessible at Porton Health

Making Healthcare Accessible at Porton Health

By: Anosha Ashfaq
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I was busy cashiering away at my part-time job when my phone began buzzing in my pocket. During my coffee break, I pulled it out and found a voice message from SFU’s co-op office with details of a job offer. I frantically scanned my emails, and at the end of a streak of emails that read “Congratulations! You have been shortlisted for an interview”, one of them began with “Congratulations! You have been offered a job at Porton Health”.

Thus, I started my journey as a Marketing and Social Media Intern for an adventurous start-up with a revolutionary mission. Porton Health, I learnt, endeavours to knock down global geographical barriers between patients living in remote areas by connecting them to doctors virtually. This has been accomplished through the development of Porton Health’s Webapp, a Virtual Medical Consulting platform that offers a plethora of valuable services to professionals and patients alike, including online consulting, medical second opinions and family medicine. In other words, anyone with an internet connection and a smart device can speak to a doctor using this app. To add to the innovative spin of it all, Porton is beginning to expand beyond just B.C. to the USA, United Kingdom, South Africa and Nigeria.

Contrary to what I imagined, my marketing role did not entail unleashing an endless number of social media posts every day. Instead, my supervisor took the time to explain the idea and rationale behind the organisation to me, so that I knew what and who exactly I was going to be marketing for. From here on, I worked on developing a Digital Marketing campaign for Porton Health, writing blogs posts, updating commercial website content, in addition to testing the Webapp.

Every day at Porton was challenging and required me to have a set of steel nerves thus, teaching me the importance of possessing leadership qualities, adapting to a new work environment and collaborating with others. One of the challenges I faced was having to be discrete with my marketing tactics, whilst still improving Search Engine Results for the Webapp as the Webapp was still in its development phase. I overcame this challenge by regularly creating new content for Porton Health via blogs, which search engines reward by moving your website higher up in search results. I also felt a greater need to produce and deliver results, given the fact that I was playing a big part in building a foundational marketing strategy for the company.

Here are the top three lessons I took away from my time at Porton Health:

1. Marketing for a start-up can be more rewarding than marketing for a large firm

While working for a larger firm has its perks, it may hinder your potential to conduct original research and find raw data to work with. Here, I had to scavenge for information and do my own research rather than having it served to me on a silver platter. I found myself working from scratch to find our consumer base, assess demand, identify and attract partners and investors, and learn how to market to a global audience. Creating an effective marketing plan came with trial and error, not a template, which immensely added to the whole learning experience.

2. Multiple roles reward your skill set

At Porton, I had my hands full. I wore different hats every day, juggling human resource management, Quality Assurance Testing, partaking in scrums and of course, marketing! Nothing is fixed at a company contemplating its leap into the business world. Every employee is expected to do everything which is where the challenge and its consequent rewards lie.

3. One needs to be proactive, always!

Every single day counts in a start-up. Whether it is improving your Search Engine results, connecting with an interested partner, creating a client base or hiring a new worker, each step is a defining factor for how the company will perform. Because Porton Health was getting off the ground, I had to ensure that the quality of my work was consistent each day, and I needed a result-oriented mindset every morning.

However, while some days are slow, other days will have your adrenaline pumping. That’s how I felt when I witnessed the launch of Porton’s alpha release (Hint: Here’s your cue to log onto and witness revolution in the making). Our team’s combined efforts of coding and testing paid off when our development site went live for the first time, and we invited doctors to test the platform. We received valuable feedback from them, which we then incorporated into our Beta release. The bottom line is - don’t be afraid to give your ideas to your team and deal openly with challenges.  

I am grateful for the opportunity to work at Porton, where the Business, Technology and Medical sectors intertwine to spark a possible transformation in the way the world provides Healthcare.

Beyond the Article 

  • Connect with Anosha Ashfaq on LinkedIn. 
  • To learn more about opportunities like Anosha's, visit the Beedie Business Co-op homepage. 
  • Fellow Beedie student, Lui Siyu shares her experience of career exploration as an international student. Read her story, here.
Posted on April 18, 2018