By Capt. Meghan Smith, 439th Airlift Wing
/ Published November 06, 2016
Senior Airman Jean Marc Tchazou, member of the 439th Force Support Squadron at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., shows members how to use e911md, a mobile application he created to help people connect with a doctor, but remain anonymous. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Capt. Meghan Smith)
Jean Marc Tchazou left Cameroon in 2007. He said the government of his homeland was oppressive, and he knew that his only chance at success meant moving to the United States.
Now a Senior Airman in the Air Force Reserve, Tchazou’s journey to citizenship was highlighted in a 2013 Patriot Magazine article. He said by acquiring his U.S. citizenship, he left behind in Cameroon a system strafed by corruption.
“Opportunity is the main reason I came to the United States,” Tchazou said. “In the U.S., if you work you will see the results of it.”
Tchazou said he came to the U.S. ready to work hard at becoming an entrepreneur. But first he had to overcome the fact that he spoke no English. He learned the language through community college courses and language software programs, trading in his childhood dream of becoming a doctor, like his father, for new dreams: an advanced degree, U.S. Citizenship, becoming an Airman, and finding his way as an entrepreneur.
After arriving in the U.S. with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Cameroon’s University of Douala, Tchazou completed his Master’s Degree in Accounting at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. Tchazou also frequently takes individual college courses to learn new skills, recently adding computer science and coding courses to his ever-increasing roster. It was during one of his computer courses that Tchazou got the idea for his latest endeavor: marrying technology with healthcare.
“My goal is to bring healthcare to people through their phone.” Tchazou had a military friend who was battling depression after multiple deployments but refused to seek treatment because of the stigma associated with a PTSD diagnosis. After many months, Tchazou was finally able to convince his friend to seek treatment. “I am developing the app e911md.com with a medical clinic in Washington, D.C., to help people connect with a doctor, but remain anonymous.”
Having enough doctors participate in the program will be key to its success. Tchazou is initiating a marketing campaign to attract additional healthcare professionals who will be available to app users. Another option to expand services is to license the app to individual clinics. “Fundraising and marketing is key while we’re in beta testing. We also encourage individuals to download the app so we can show prospective doctors that there is a market for this service,” he said.
While the app can help any prospective patient, Tchazou said, “Mental health and drug addiction is our main focus.” The app is in beta testing now, but when it is fully functional Tchazou said it will connect patients with doctors for remote consultation, counseling, to receive medical records for review by medical staff, or to refer a patient to a local provider if necessary.
The app is free to download for both iPhone and Android, but there will be a fee for doctor consultations that can be paid using insurance, credit card or PayPal. Exact pricing is not established because each doctor will set his or her own fee. However, Tchazou said, “It will certainly cost less and be more convenient than a visit to the Emergency Room.” He is also excited about a new feature on the app called, “Virtual 911” which will allow users instant online access to all of their medical records.
Tchazou said the inspiration for e911md.com came from a paternal source as well as a practical one.
“My father used to travel in Africa and Asia practicing medicine, and one of the ways my father consulted with his patients was by telephone,” said Tchazou, whose father was a generalist physician and died in 2014. “I knew I wanted to do something that mixed medicine with technology, and after visiting the hospital with a sick friend and waiting for hours just to spend a few minutes with a doctor, the idea came to me.”
Tchazou joined the Westover community over four years ago, and he said he has no plans of leaving anytime soon — even if his business takes off.
“Westover is like family to me,” he said. “I’d like to continue to grow here as an Airman, and as an entrepreneur.”