Photo: Fairdoc

Fairdoc: Temporary work for doctors

Fairdoc has found an answer to the shortage of specialists in medicine. With its placement app, the Munich-based startup brings together understaffed clinics and doctors in search of a suitable assignment. The result: flexible and cost-effective personnel planning. CEO and co-founder Sylvia Edmands explains how the concept works, the challenges posed by bureaucracy and why the founding team prefers to do things themselves.

Munich Startup: What does Fairdoc do? What problem do you solve?

Sylvia Edmands: There is an acute shortage of doctors in clinics and hospitals. Vacancies remain unfilled for months, sometimes even years. Wards, even entire hospitals, are being closed. This leads to bottlenecks in medical care – and the trend is rising.

Fairdoc is a digital agency for temporary staffing in the medical sector and helps to close these gaps. Hospitals and facilities can use the Fairdoc app to recruit temporary replacements at short notice. This enables clinics to plan staff independently, flexibly and cost-effectively. Doctors can easily find temporary assignments throughout Germany via the app. With a simple click, registered doctors can apply for a replacement position that is tailored to their own life situation in terms of location, time and duration of the assignment.

Munich Startup: But that already exists!

Sylvia Edmands: We are the first digital temporary employment agency for doctors on the market that passes on all the savings generated by digitalization to its customers. We have designed our placement app as a one-stop store. Hospitals and doctors can handle temporary work assignments completely digitally via Fairdoc: from initial contact to assignment management and payroll accounting. The app’s various functions ensure smooth processes and transparency for both sides.

Fairdoc is the further development of Talentee

Munich Startup: What is your founding story?

Sylvia Edmands: Fairdoc is the further development of the networking and career platform Talentee. For Talentee, we used algorithm-based matchmaking, as known from online dating portals. In this way, we brought students and doctoral candidates together with the specialist departments of companies looking for suitable talent.

In the course of a pivot, we strategically realigned this recruiting idea exclusively to the medical sector and adapted it to the needs prevailing there: As our work brings people together for an employment relationship that is very demanding, the matching of doctors and clinics at Fairdoc is carried out by our HR expert and co-founder, Mathias Tünnerhoff. He and his team screen the AI-based pre-selection and ensure that the registered doctor exactly matches the requirements and needs of the facility – and vice versa.

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Sylvia Edmands: Regulation and bureaucracy – Fairdoc operates as a personnel service provider in the field of temporary employment. The German Temporary Employment Act (AÜG) applies to the hiring out of workers in all sectors, including healthcare. The AÜG protects employees and provides clear guidelines for the employment relationship. We require a corresponding license, for which we initially had to wait several months. We are also regularly inspected by the Federal Employment Agency for compliance with the AÜG.

The doctors we place are employed directly by Fairdoc as full-time or part-time staff. A contract concluded with us forms the basis of the agency relationship. The AÜG stipulates that these contracts must be in writing, for example, so we send most of our contracts in paper form by post. Due to this contractual regulation, we are the employers of the substitute doctors. Therefore, another challenge is cash flow: our income is offset by relatively high expenses.

Improving medical care in Germany

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, where would you like to be in five years?

Sylvia Edmands: In a year’s time, our brand should be well-known in our (relatively small) target market. Doctors who want to work flexibly, as well as decision-makers in clinics and facilities, are specifically looking for replacement assignments using our app and handle them via Fairdoc. Because we live up to the “fair” in our name, it is the positive experiences with us that recommend us to others.

In five years’ time, we want to work digitally and automatically as far as possible. This will allow us to concentrate on the few human touches that characterize our service. This, together with speed and user experience, sets us apart from our competitors. At this point in time, Fairdoc offers the doctors registered with us everything they need to be successful in their profession with the desired work-life balance. Overall, we at Fairdoc are doing our part to improve medical care in Germany (and perhaps in other markets too).

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far?

Sylvia Edmands: Munich is the place of choice! For me personally, because I feel so connected to this city in my private life that I couldn’t imagine starting up anywhere else. But more importantly, two of my co-founders, Marcus Otto and Michael Wenglein, are “old hands” in the Munich startup scene. Their first-class network benefits us in many ways. We are open to remote working for our employees.

Save time and money by doing it yourself

Munich Startup: Outsource or do it yourself?

Sylvia Edmands: Do it yourself! This already started with the programming of the app. We decided to use low-code software for the Fairdoc app. Our co-founder, Marcus Otto, acted as developer. Without any experience in software development, he was able to acquire all the relevant skills via available tutorials. We succeeded in launching the entire Fairdoc app with all its features within four months.

We had the app and the user interface developed traditionally for our Talentee platform. Despite using up to six developers, this took twice as long. The coordination processes were often frustrating and the platform cost around ten times as much as the current low-code solution. Our experience shows that we achieved a much faster time-to-market by doing it ourselves, with significantly lower costs and much greater flexibility.

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