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Duxxie: ease, transparency and efficiency

Category:
Innovation & Sustainability

Date:
5 March 2020

In the spring of 2017, Medux launched a new platform that makes it possible for district nurses to buy medical devices from a range of suppliers over the Internet. Almost three years later, Duxxie is now a fully-fledged market player offering both care professionals and consumers straightforward access to almost every conceivable home care product. As Duxxie’s director, Paskal van Lomm, puts it, “We do everything we can to make things as simple as possible.”

A lot has been written about care at home. Most of that writing focuses on what’s not going well: a shortage of care professionals, overworked family carers, too little time and attention paid to clients, inefficiencies in the system... “All true,” says Paskal van Lomm, “but there are a lot of good things too. With Duxxie, we believe we’ve developed something that can really benefit the sector. This kind of overarching marketplace that prioritises ease, transparency and efficiency could really make a difference in the future.”

The way Van Lomm describes it, Duxxie is the result of a desire to create a ‘logical place on the Internet’ for everything to do with home care. “The same way Funda.nl is the place to go if you’re looking for a new home, and you go to Booking.com to book a hotel room,” he says, “we aim to provide a very wide range of products. Not just medical devices such as walking frames or height-adjustable beds, but also products to help with sores and incontinence, oxygen, equipment for infusions, medical nutrition and even e-learning modules for care professionals. We also supply solutions for all types of funding constructions: not only for care that’s covered by health insurance, but also for municipal social support schemes and even individual purchases.”

Van Lomm sees Duxxie’s strength in the fact that the platform directs buyers quickly and efficiently to the right supplier. “The Dutch care system is amazingly complex, and the amount of legislation is growing and growing,” he says. “It’s not always clear in advance to a care professional or informal carer which health insurance provider will reimburse them for which items, which official medical opinion applies in their situation and which supplier(s) should be involved. Duxxie has all that intelligence built in: you fill in your details just once, and all the available options appear right in front of you. It is precisely that intelligence that makes this concept so hard to copy.”

Digital pioneer
At first, when Duxxie was launched in 2017, only three suppliers of medical devices signed up: Medux’s own company Medipoint, Livit and FocusCura. Today, 34 providers actively use the platform and Duxxie serves more than 300 home care organisations both large and small, as well as around 7,300 care professionals such as district nurses and occupational therapists. “We also provide about 30% of all orders for maternity-related devices in the Netherlands,” says Van Lomm, “and we’re still growing fast.”

He believes that the biggest obstacles in the way of further growth are ignorance of digital possibilities and people getting cold feet. “We’ve had to accept that not every care professional wants to use a smartphone app,” he admits. “People tend to prefer a quick phone call, even though you spend an average of 5 to 8 minutes on the phone to each supplier, whereas you can place your order with Duxxie in under a minute – even as little as ten seconds. That frees up a lot more time that you can spend helping the client. That problem is comparable to the challenge the banks faced a few years ago, when people had to be convinced to switch from using paper bank transfer slips to online banking.”

The cold feet issue mainly comes up with some suppliers, who are concerned that Duxxie, as an overarching platform, will become too powerful and will eventually change the market to suit its own interests. “We try to allay that fear by being very clear that Duxxie will never offer its own range of the supplier’s products,” says Van Lomm. “Amazon might have moved in that direction, but for us that would mean the end of the platform.”

Easily scalable
A platform like Duxxie has the additional advantage of being able to create much greater transparency about the service suppliers offer. “Because a lot of the products are covered by insurance, there’s no competition on price; instead, suppliers can compete on service. With Duxxie, customers can see straight away that if you place an order with Supplier A today, you’ll receive the products tomorrow. Supplier B might take a day longer, or they might not make Saturday deliveries, or maybe they don’t offer track & trace. Basically, Supplier B has a natural incentive to improve its system, and that improves quality throughout the whole chain.”

Duxxie’s development process follows a principle Van Lomm calls ‘agile by the book’, with short, fortnightly sprints followed by a new release. “We’re completely cloud-based, so our IT costs are very low and the platform is easily scalable,” says Van Lomm. “What’s more, we do everything we can to make things as simple as possible. For example, we recently got rid of our own search engine and replaced it with an off-the-shelf tool that makes it even easier to search the site.”

Van Lomm is keen to stress that Duxxie is a completely separate entity from Medux: the two companies don’t share any systems, tooling or staff. That said, Duxxie does still need a certain amount of support from its parent company Medux (an NPM Capital portfolio company): external funding is still necessary in the current development phase. However, Van Lomm expects the platform to achieve a positive balance in 2020, or at the latest in 2021. “There’s still huge room for growth, especially in certain categories, as well as in the total number of users. The government is really focusing on small-scale district care, and we make things easier for the district nurses and the teams.”

Working with pharmacists
When asked about his wish list for the future, Van Lomm responds, “I’d like to take a look at the logistics when multiple orders are placed with multiple suppliers for a single address. At the moment, each supplier has their own delivery service – your height-adjustable bed might be delivered in the morning by Medipoint and then PostNL could deliver your urinal in the afternoon. We could possibly combine those deliveries through Duxxie. We’re also looking into partnering with pharmacists to see if we could give care professionals the option to order pain medication through Duxxie. And finally, I think we’re going to develop more and more themed web shops for consumers – something like ‘all you need to adapt your bathroom’. We’ve got more than enough new ideas to be getting on with!”