“I saw an opportunity to bring medical information to the Arab world in their native language.”
- Year selected
Although the pain of a headache is the same whether you are in the US or in Jordan, the words used to describe it are certainly different. Recognizing the importance of providing the world’s Arabic-speaking population with online medical information in their native tongue, Jalil Allabadi developed Altibbi, one of the largest, most interactive online medical health portals in Arabic. Given that there are over 300 million Arabic speakers in the world—nearly 5% of the global population—yet less than 1% of online content is in the language, Jalil believes there is great potential for Altibbi to become a key resource to health-conscious consumers in the Arab world. With over 100 informative videos and 200 independent doctors available to answer user questions, Altibbi currently has over 100,000 registered users and attracts 3 million page views a month. As Altibbi further develops the site’s social networking features and expands to target diaspora populations and those seeking treatment in Europe and the US, the company’s influence—and revenues—will continue to grow.
As the son of a Jordanian doctor, Jalil was interested in healthcare from an early age. After receiving a bachelor’s of science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Bologna in 2006, Jalil decided to pursue a career in pharmaceuticals. He joined Hikma Pharmaceuticals—a Jordan-founded, London Stock Exchange-listed multinational pharmaceutical company— as a production engineer and later became a Packaging and Warehouse Manager. With the goal of kick starting a career in pharmaceuticals business development, Jalil moved to the US in 2007 to pursue an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. While at school, Jalil used a class project to put together a business model to help his father sell the “Arabic Medical Dictionary”: the first Arabic-Arabic and Arabic-English medical dictionary in the world, written by his dad over the course of 15 years and published in 2005. As Jalil and three classmates worked on a plan to improve hard copy sales, they realized there was potential for the book to be used online.
Encouraged by his professor and classmates, Jalil returned to Jordan after graduation to place his father’s content online on what would become Altibbi.com. With his father’s permission and modest funding from family and friends, Jalil began converting the terms in his father’s medical dictionary to an online format and worked with freelancers to create content for the site. Jalil soon realized that there was a significant knowledge gap between medical experts and the average Arabic-speaker and there was potential for something greater than a basic medical dictionary—there was demand for a more comprehensive online medical and health-related portal. Jalil processed requests from doctors (who asked Altibbi if it would publish their articles on the site) and users (who asked the company if it had a medical directory listing doctors and medical entities located near them or specializing in certain treatments), and worked to create invaluable tools and new features to address these demands.
Today, Altibbi’s website provides users with easy and free access to information from health professionals in a convenient, user-friendly, confidential, and timely manner. The site hosts an Arabic-English medical dictionary, a medical directory listing approved medical entities in the MENA region and abroad, a symptom checker in Arabic, hundreds of health-related videos and articles, and an innovative doctor-patient social networking platform that allows users to have their health questions answered online by approved doctors. The social functions on the site allow users to “follow” doctors’ activities and view recent answers and responses in a news feed upon sign-in, click a “thank” button to thank doctors, comment on or report doctors’ answers, or contact them directly for follow-up. In order to monetize the site, Altibbi offers a premium membership subscription service, online advertising opportunities for medical professionals, medical entities, and healthcare companies, and content licensing opportunities for international medical portals.
Carlos Mastretta Guzmán
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