Serenity Portugal is making strides to fill in the gaps left over by the Portuguese healthcare industry: monitoring and caring for the elderly and those who need support in their recovery or help with an existing condition that necessitates more than families and friends can routinely give them.
Michael Averbukh, MD MHA, originally from Israel, met the would-be Managing Partner of Serenity, Portuguese native Rita Matias, in Angola seven years ago. Matias was working as the Marketing Director at the Luanda Medical Center, which was under Averbukh’s management as CEO. Averbukh has spent ten years managing hospitals and saw a clear need for a system to be in place for what happens after the hospital doors close to patients and the elderly. As his brainstorming sessions with Matias continued, the duo decided to take the idea and run with it. And Portugal seemed the logical place to start.
According to Averbukh, “Knowing a little of the language, culture, and systems, we looked at Portugal and understood that community healthcare in the country was actually quite lame. The potential market of people with chronic medical conditions coupled with the elderly who all have a daily need for support was not being satisfied in Portugal.”
Together, Averbukh and Matias founded Serenity Portugal at the beginning of this year with the aim to make the everyday lives of their clients easier, and the Serenity team has already begun to find that their initial assessment of the need for their services has been correct. “We didn’t expect to grow as far and as fast as we have,” Averbukh says.
In short, Serenity gives peace of mind to their clients and the client’s extended family. He went on to say, “It’s a simple idea, but it has a complex execution. We try to encompass almost all the requests that we get with our services — they are tailor-made, but built around five major pillars.” The pillars are assigned case managers, a 24/7 support line, service solutions through technology, a professional team, and logistical support.
Taking a closer look, a membership with Serenity grants you access to a case manager who acts as a medical concierge, as they come from a paramedical background to serve the needs of the clients whatever they may be: from scheduling medical appointments to answering medical questions. The 24/7 support line allows members to call in with questions on medication recommendations, diagnostic results, and more, as the need arises. Through technology, Serenity can monitor clients with GPS technology and AI so that the elderly’s routines can be checked for variations that could mean an emergency situation has occurred. Their team of nurses, doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physiotherapists, and more offer online and in-person consultations when needed, and finally, Serenity offers help with getting patients from point A to point B, getting the shopping done, and even cleaning the house, taking on feeding and bathing duties, and more.
Averbukh explained, “I’m sure that when people look for solutions in healthcare, they look at the worst-case scenario— and for something like a liver transplant, with the healthcare in Portugal, you’re in luck. However, The person who needs a liver transplant is one in 100,00 or more. The people who need to ask a question about their prescription are like 90% of us. There’s no one you can go to to ask a simple question, or to ask for help getting to an appointment.”
In terms of COVID-19’s effect on the business, Averbukh says that it has been both bad and good. Operations had to come to a halt in some cases, so things moved more slowly to get things up and running as planned. The good side was that the company was able to pinpoint and clarify the need for their services. “It became apparent to many people that they shouldn’t go to the hospital unless they really needed it. It wasn’t a good place to be. People stayed home without any solutions, so we knew that what we were doing was needed. We knew we were on the right track,” he said.
Serenity is set to grow fast, so they are currently looking for investors to help them grow fast enough to meet the demand. We at the IPBN are proud to help Serenity grow by offering our network as a place to get the ball rolling. We recommend contacting Matias or Averbukh for more information.