Mikata Health: Better Experiences at the Doctor’s Office
From booking an appointment, updating it or getting a reminder, to your overall experience at the clinic, it can seem like doctors’ offices are stuck in the past, at least when it comes to technology. Taking half a day off from work for a 10-minute appointment, or waiting on the phone for 15 minutes to book one is frustrating for all of us… both patients and clinic staff.
This is the problem that co-founders Meaghan Nolan and Kyle Nishiyama are trying to solve. They want to make the patient experience less frustrating and easier for everyone involved. I sat down with Meaghan to learn more about how she got into tech, and why she and Kyle started Mikata Health.
Meaghan got into tech by accident while she was pursuing an undergraduate degree in health sciences at the University of Calgary. As Meaghan worked her way up to her master’s degree, she was drawn to how smart phones opened up the ability to get health-related data, starting with accelerometers, as it changed the game in getting accurate data from users. This was the start of Meaghan’s path post grad.
Following a move to New York City, Meaghan took a leap and joined a startup which was an amazing if somewhat short-lived experience (as sometimes happens with startups). Working at the startup took her from working with data from only a research standpoint, to being able to dig into the user experience and how it impacts product strategy. When the startup didn’t make it, Meaghan joined Moment Design and learned from the team there about user experience design. Around the same time, Kyle had been working at Columbia University as a research scientist in computer science and biomedical engineering, with a focus on machine learning to predict better treatments for clinicians.
Meaghan and Kyle were interested in launching their own startup but they needed a place to start and a problem to solve that was specific to their backgrounds in health and the clinician environment. Their initial conversations in New York led them to identify two key issues:
Frustration for both clinics and patients with outdated technology.
Clinicians spending more of their time dealing with outdated processes than with their patients (which is why they got into this in the first place).
The opportunity to change the processes and smooth out the experience stood out. In order to give themselves a real chance at launching the startup, the team moved back to Alberta and quickly put the building blocks in to place. Following more in-depth research on the issues, speaking with both patients and clinics, they identified clinics that were open to partnering with them in hopes of addressing their communication and process issues.
Mikata Health started with simple text-based messaging confirming and reminding patients of their upcoming appointments. From there, the product expanded to allow clinics to be proactive before the patient visit from providing specifics on what to expect with doctor visits during the COVID-19 pandemic to requesting more information on the reason for the visit to help prepare the doctor and staff. Working alongside their partners and getting live feedback, Meaghan and Kyle have been growing their customer base here in Alberta alongside the features offered in their system.
Mikata continues to grow with additional features in the program to improve the experience and speed up processes. They are hitting a big milestone for a startup—they are testing expanding their user base to other provinces and the U.S.
In speaking with Meaghan, it was great to hear how the Alberta tech eco-system helped her startup get off the ground. Neither she nor Kyle expected the support and excitement that they got from the community. From access to government programs to the clinics they partnered with, to funding, there was so much more available than they thought. Growing a high-growth company in Alberta is possible with government support, and a strong community. Meaghan hopes people see the future of what is possible here.
Check out our full interview: