Photo: Diana Campian / Startups&TheCity

Cluj-based Telios’ CEO and co-founder Philip Choban was recently recognized as one of the Top 20 Innovators in Telemedicine in 2020 by Technology Innovators for bringing digital healthcare to Eastern Europe without boundaries or borders. The Top 20 Innovators in Telemedicine’s objective is to provide information on the current developments in the telemedicine market, giving an insight on the experiences of leaders and experts in the telemedicine industry.

Philip Choban’s grandparents were born in Romania and immigrated to America in 1898. Philip returned to Romania after the fall of the communist regime. His Romanian born wife Carmen, fell gravely ill and it necessitated a permanent move. Philip was in need of constant medical help and guidance. With a condition making his wife difficult to leave the home, Philip found himself in a situation where he couldn’t find a doctor to answer his questions.

“Luckily, our medical director is one of my closest and oldest friends here. He’s a doctor and he helped me out. I could call him up and he would get things done for me so I started to think: what does the common person do when they don’t have these types of connections and that’s when we began.”, remembers Philip on how his journey to develop much-needed telemedicine services in Romania started.

After Carmen’s death in 2015 and since he was already involved in telemedicine in the United States, Philip decided to start a telemedicine company in Cluj, along with his co-founders, Lucian Cosoi, Matt Henry (in the USA) and Dr. Adrian Danciu. During this time, he sought to develop a market, because a market for professional telemedicine didn’t exist in Romania.

In a very short time their service attracted some of the biggest insurance companies as strategic partners, gained big corporate customers, and significantly increased their call volume. Telios is currently developing special applications that will be used specifically for their ‘Telemedicine First’ campaign.

Telios services are covering a large and very diverse number of patients, from white-collar managers to blue-collar workers, who all need protection from COVID-19 and healthcare services delivered remotely in order to keep the economy going during the current crisis.

“Fortunately and unfortunately the COVID-19 period has been a boom for telehealth and telemedicine.”, declared Philip in an interview for Technology Innovators. The awareness of telemedicine has moved forward ten years in the last six months because of the pandemic. Medicare and Medicaid are now covering telehealth appointments. This would not have happened as quickly were it not for COVID-19. Ten years from now, telemedicine will be in the mainstream and as common as going to Urgent Care or ER but with a fraction of the costs involved”, envisions Philip. You can read the full interview on Technology Innovators, here.

At the beginning of 2020, Telios closed an investment round of $ 200,000. The funding received is currently being used for expanding awareness of telemedicine in Romania, strengthening the market position, increasing the medical staff and enhancing the abilities of the platform. A new investment round is planned before an offering of an IPO.

In partnership with VISION2020, an NGO providing support to the disadvantaged communities in Romania, Telios has started to provide primary health and wellness services. Together, they are providing telemedicine services at the push of a button, or the sound of the voice. Their first official CSR project is with Casa Ioana, a home for displaced women and their families.

Telios is now looking to expand its services to more countries in Eastern Europe, all the while keeping up with its commitments to make telemedicine available to more people in disadvantaged communities.

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