Ultraspecialisti was founded in 2015 in Milan, by the desire of the two founders to create a project aimed at offering a simple, fast and at the same time extremely effective solution for all those people affected by serious diseases who seek to contact a specialist doctor and expert in a specific disease area, to obtain a consultation or an indication, which may affect their long term treatment.
Daily, real life difficulties of people affected by serious diseases (such as cancer) kickstarted the project. The patients were looking for the best care and the doctor with the most experience and they had difficulty obtaining this information. We had noticed that even the doctors themselves have great difficulty in responding to all the requests that often come from people living in other municipalities or other regions of Italy. Dr. Vanesa Gregorc, Co-Founder of Ultraspecialisti, deals every day with the issue of health migration. A lot of patients turn to her and her colleagues facing long and tiring journeys. Hence the idea of creating a tool that could allow doctors and patients to dialogue at a distance on the basis of specific documents and examinations.
This awareness made the idea come true. In the summer of 2015, the two founders won their first call: “Ready to Impact", a call launched by the Make a Cube (Avanzi) certified incubator in Milan and dedicated to innovative projects with a strong social impact. The incubation smoothed out the first rough edges and allowed them to build a precise plan of action, always following the lean start up method, which provides for a continuous and constant validation of each stage of progess. The first incubation phase ended with two focus groups (one in Bari and the other in Milan) where doctors and patients were interviewed to collect valuable feedback and comments on the project. Thanks to this path, the first draft of the technological platform for remote consultations was drawn up. This is how the first version of www.ultraspecialisti.com come to life.
At the beginning of 2016 the company was established, recognised as an Innovative Start Up with a Social Impact – an important first result, which recognises and certifies the value of the project. Shortly afterwards (after a long and careful research and analysis) the technological partner entrusted with the implementation of the platform was identified. This is Exprivia Healthcare, which specialises in development and programming in the medical and health field.
At the same time, the legal side of things was entrusted to lawyers in order to be aligned with the current legislation in the field of privacy and web (sensitive data processing) and the ministerial guidelines in the field of telemedicine and teleconsultation.
In September 2016 the first version dedicated entirely to oncology was released, an advanced version B that was tested first internally and then externally thanks to the contribution of the first ultra-specialist doctors, who became available for this initial testing.
While the developers were working on the platform, the start-up dedicated itself to meet the most experienced doctors and introducing them to the project, gathering evidence of esteem and great enthusiasm. So, thanks to the contribution of the first 20 ultra-specialists, it was possible to validate the service by offering it free of charge to anyone who needed it.
In December 2016 Ultraspecialisti won the selections of the acceleration path organized by Innovits, a training path that proved to be extremely useful and effective that the two founders followed with passion and dedication acquiring valuable input to further refine the project and the development phases of the startup. The course ended in April 2017 with a final presentation in front of a jury of experts and potential investors and ultra-specialists won the award for best start-up.
From January to April 2017 the platform was online in a free version to test and validate it. The validation was successfully completed and in May the start-up initiated the ‘go to market’ phase, activating the paid service and starting the difficult road that leads to confront market challenges.
In the meantime, after a year-long journey, Ultraspecialisti reached the final of the eHealth4All award and the MoneyGram Award, but above all it obtained its first international recognition, selected by SANOFI together with two other Italian start-ups to participate in the international technology fair in Paris ViVaTecnology.
In addition, Ultraspecialisti was ranked among the top 5 projects, selected from 308 candidates from 31 European countries, of the Social Innovation Tournament of the European Investment Bank, award for innovative projects in the social field.
In 2018, the platform became fully operational and the software was constantly updated with the aim of providing patients and doctors with the best possible experience in finding specialists. The area dedicated to Internal Medicine was been inaugurated.
Important milestones were reached in 2018, collaborations that have recognized the potential of the Ultraspecialisti platform in the articulated projects of the world of pharmaceutical company clinical trials.
The platform was used to view and solve clinical cases during “What’s ALK", a course organized by Dr. Gregorc, which dealt with the topic of activation of ALK inhibitor therapy in pulmonary neoplasms.
The “Orchestra Project" was also carried out together with AstraZeneca, with the aim of creating a network between the various centres on the national territory adhering to the guidelines for the treatment of patients with locally advanced NSCLC and optimising the direct doctor to doctor communication through the platform.
In 2018 an intense and fruitful collaboration with the Department of Management Engineering of the Politecnico di Milano was started. Ultraspecialisti was selected to participate in the International Business program X-Culture coordinated by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and developed as part of the course “Invest in foreign markets Lab".
The Ultraspecialisti project was chosen by almost 1,000 students from among the 5,000 participants from 140 universities in 50 different countries, who then carried out 349 projects to develop the international dimension.
In 2019 the development of projects related to the pharmaceutical world continues.
Ultraspecialisti has been chosen as partner of FMI, startup of Roche in diagnostics, for the project “Ask the Expert", focused on the theme of precision medicine.
In 2019 several new health areas were inaugurated for which it is possible to request an online consultation: Allergology, Abdominal Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Dentistry and Orthopaedics.