Doctorpreneurs: Dr Naomi Zeraati

This week's Doctorpreneur of Doctology is Dr Naomi Zeraati.

Naomi is a GP in Goodna, Queensland. She received my MBChB from Manchester University (UK) in 2007 and completed GP training (also in Manchester) in 2012.

In 2014 she moved to Brisbane and loves life in the subtropics, so much so she founded her own healthcare startup.

What organisation/startup are you founder of?

Zeferral, a platform for specialists and allied health professionals to make themselves known to patients and GPs in their area, which is mutually beneficial to all involved in the referral process.

What is its noble purpose?

To enable patients some control and autonomy in selecting the right specialist for their needs. We understand that patient’s priorities are all different. Some want to be seen quickly at the expense of distance or cost, especially if they have a worrying diagnosis and want their anxieties alleviated. Others are happy to wait longer but be seen closer to home or at less expense. By providing this one-stop platform, we hope to improve the patient journey. Also, GPs will benefit by being able to find the most suitable specialist quickly and refer more efficiently. You can even search by the specific condition of the patient and will be matched to the specialist most qualified for that condition, to remove any uncertainties and stress associated with the referral process. And in turn specialists will be given a handy platform to increase their exposure and improve their intake of referrals.

Tell me about the first 10 years of your life?

I was born in Sheffield, UK. My parents are both medical. My Mum was a nurse and my Dad is an Iranian-born orthopaedic surgeon who met my mum when he was a medical student at her hospital in Sheffield back in the seventies. He would make excuses to go to her ward and my mum fell for her "Dr Zhivago" (he does look a lot like Omar Sharif!). I am the second of five children and the only one  to follow in my Dad’s medical footsteps! As a family we followed my Dad’s orthopaedic career around the UK and I moved to North Devon from Yorkshire when I was 10.

What age were you when you had your first paying job? What was it?

I was 15 and took orders at my local Chinese take-away in North Devon. I loved that job, I got to eat a lot of Chinese food. What made you want to be a Doctor and what speciality did you choose? Why?

I always admired my Dad and was in awe of the respect he seemed to get from his colleagues when I’d visit him at work as a youngster. Then watching medical programmes (including "Flying Doctors") made me more proud of him and I wanted to emulate that. I decided to specialise in general practice which I love.

What made you want to be an Entrepreneur or follow an alternative route? When exactly did you decide?

I didn’t decide to be an entrepreneur. It wasn’t a conscious process. I was just frustrated at the inefficiency of the current referral process and wanted to make a difference.

Are you still practicing as a Doctor now? If yes, do you intend to stop if Zeferral takes off?

Yes still practicing. I’m not expecting to make huge profits from Zeferral, although if I did, I’d still want to practice as a GP (although probably not at the intensity I normally work!).

Why do you think traditionally many Doctors struggle with entrepreneurship? Or at least they are perceived to?

We are all too busy. Being a doctor is tough. There’s not a lot of energy left at the end of the day to work on other projects unfortunately.

What would you do in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse?

I’d be terrible! I’m so tired. Although the tiredness might actually work in my favour, they’d probably mistake me for a zombie and I’d get away scot-free.

Check out Zeferral at