The Myfootshop.com Story
Every good story begins with a few failures. As a young doctor, Jeffrey Oster couldn’t shake the Internet entrepreneurial bug. His first business was a consumer driven survey of doctor’s offices called MedSurv. Doctors would sign up for the web based service and distribute surveys to their patients. MedSurv would collate the results into an overall satisfaction rating for the doctor. “I liked to think of it as the Seal of Good House Keeping for docs. What I didn’t anticipate was the push back on the surveys.”
His second business was an attempt to match uninsured patients with doctors who were willing to see uninsured patients on a cash basis. HowMuchDoc.com met its’ demise due to the web of insurance and health care regulations and changes making the health care market an uncertain place in which to do business.
With the advent of the Internet in the mid 1990’s, Dr. Oster had a sense that the Internet was a game changer for medicine. He felt that sharing knowledge was going to take the place of the traditional proprietary nature of health care. “How more inconvenient and threatening could we make it? There’s so many hurdles to access care. The drive to the office, the time spent and the money. And the white coats. In light of the Internet, the traditional delivery of medicine just didn’t seem like a sustainable business model.” So Dr. Oster began a new venture. He began to write. He wrote of the things he knew and practiced each day. He would capture stories and images by day and transform them at night into a consumer oriented description of some of the most common foot and ankle problems.
Dr. Oster was fortunate to meet a number of friends who helped him navigate the early challenges of Internet medicine. “I’ve worked with the same web developer for the past 10 years. He’s brilliant. And he’s a good man.” Myfootshop.com has grown consistently each year since its inception. Myfootshop.com is used by over 50,000 people a month from countries all around the globe.
Thalia Oster joined Jeff at Myfootshop.com several years after its’ inception. Thalia’s background as a lawyer and manager brought a new skill set to the business. Thalia quickly assumed the role of operations manager. “Part of me just has to be in there, packing boxes and seeing how things work” says Thalia. As the business grew, Thalia assumed new roles to include CFO. “I’ve always had a head for numbers. It just fit.”
In January, 2014, Thalia and Jeff launched a newly designed Myfootshop.com that includes new products and a completely new web platform. “We’re really proud” said Thalia. “It’s just fantastic. We feel that our new site and our new business model has the ability to change the way people access health care. Our new business model is called Medically Guided Shopping™. Our job is to enable people to self-direct their care. We help them find the right diagnosis and the right product, the right way™.”
What’s next for Thalia and Jeff? Thalia and Jeff plan to integrate a telemedicine component into the site this year for consumer-provider video teleconferencing. Mobile provider apps are also in the offing. “We plan to spend 2014 building the provider side of the site. You ain’t seen nothing yet.”