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Dr. Zachary together with his son Oscar founded UniMed, LLC at the beginning of 2002; its headquarters are in Washington, DC. The company adopted a functional structure that aimed at optimizing skills and talents that individual advisers and consultants held. Initially, the company sought to establish satellite offices in Egypt and UAE as wholly-owned subsidiaries. In addition, it would open more satellite offices after the company realized growth with UniMed operating as the parent firm. UniMed emphasized informed decision-making among the patients on healthcare issues. The company assumed the responsibility for assisting patients to acquire information on health problems and access healthcare through a network of the participating institutions. Besides, the organization provided information about the associated costs. In addition, the company emphasized positive experiences of the patients, who sought assistance through the established healthcare networks. UniMed aimed at providing services such as second opinions, e-consultations and referral management services.
UniMed experienced various challenges considering the fact that the company was at start-up stage. The business emphasized that building relationships was its success factor although this strategy resulted into many barriers. Therefore, the company had to overcome the mounting challenges in order to realize the required level of business success with its model. UniMed faced problems in the process of building relationships, considering that it was a start-up company exploring the opportunities in a new industry. The company experienced many obstacles raising capital. As a result, it impaired the opportunity to grow because the company did not acquire substantial financial assistance. UniMed lacked reliable access to information and resources to build networks and structure commence operations. The industry, in which UniMed aimed to venture, did not have existing networks and tested structures for modeling the firm. The innovative nature of this industry implied that no formalized protocols or standards existed. Software and equipment providers exhibited little familiarity with the telemedicine model, which required immense systems customization and creativity. UniMed experienced corruption and bureaucratic obstacles, which limited the company’s ability to venture into the Middle East. Lastly, the enterprise lacked its own solution and established business with a potential client base.
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For UniMed to obtain financial and technical support, as well as build solid networks, the management has to start building the networks, because the UniMed was the pioneering firm in the entire industry. The founders had to ensure that all connections are strong and included into the corporate objectives because they are the vital success factors for UniMed. This way, the financial institutions and investors realize the potential of this business model and provide funds to advance the project. Therefore, the company would have addressed the barriers relating to funding or raising capital. The organization has to aim at developing global networks that involve providers and customers in order to establish mutual relationships. The strategic alliances and principal relationships between customers and suppliers would allow access to information and resources that would promote UniMed’s ideas and business model to healthcare institutions and related businesses worldwide. This strategy would result to stronger global networks and the potential to venture into the unexplored areas of telemedicine.
The success of UniMed also lays in the establishment of credible services through the creation of links with renowned healthcare institutions for instance Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins. This cooperation would guarantee access to healthcare resources, information, and thus success of the model in a new industry. The company requires building essential alliances with software and equipment providers to create customized applications and install them into medical equipment. Therefore, the creation of the ideal application service provider or ASP solution for customization purposes in crucial for the success. UniMed has to work closely with medical institutions in order to establish protocols and standards for carrying out telemedicine operations, considering the fact that the company emerged as the pioneer in the field. Thus, securing the position in the market requires information and expertise from institutional partners such as Cleveland Clinic. As a result, UniMed would create a set of operating protocols and standards for the entire industry. The company has to adopt untested structures because no firms with the same business model existed at the start-up. UniMed had to build a legitimate business before establishing connections in order to avoid corruption and bureaucratic obstacles, because prospective investors wanted assurance about the viability of this new business.