Telemedicine Apps: The New Wave That Is Sweeping Singapore’s Healthcare Industry
Image courtesy The Business Times
Singapore’s government has been aggressively pushing for the integration of ICT into the healthcare industry, and it looks like the telemedicine apps might be the future of the country’s healthcare industry.
What are telemedicine apps, and what is their role in healthcare?
Telemedicine apps are also known as doctor apps. They are apps that provide a digital avenue for patients to consult with certified doctors through messages or video calls. This approach allows the doctors to conduct consultations and diagnosis digitally, thus allowing them to recommend medicines for the diagnosed condition.
Having a diagnosis made digitally sounds less than ideal, but most health conditions do not need a comprehensive visit to the doctor. Also, consultations with doctors are quite expensive in Singapore. The telemedicine apps approach will also reduce the need for patients to take unnecessary and costly trips to the doctor. They will also help reduce congestions in hospitals, as fewer people will need to have physical consultations.
Singapore’s government’s active role in ICT-based healthcare solutions
Image source- NYLON Singapore
Singapore’s government has been a strong proponent in the push for the integration of ICT in the healthcare sector. The main reason for the government’s heavy investment in the sector is to facilitate easier access to healthcare by Singapore residents. The government believes that technology offers much-needed solutions and efficiency that will help improve the sector.
The move also represents an opportunity to solve multiple problems at the same time through the push for more tech-based solutions in healthcare. Physical consultations with doctors in Singapore can be quite expensive. Additionally, the country does not have enough doctors, and thus the need to have an alternative solution that will allow people to access medical assistance faster even in the comfort of their own homes. These apps also aim to make these digital-based medical consultations more efficient and convenient.
The telemedicine apps that are currently available in Singapore
The wave of telemedicine apps that it is taking over the country means that there are more and more telemedicine apps being launched in Singapore every year. So far, there are almost a dozen such apps that are available in the country. Below are some of those apps.
- Doctor World
- Doctor Anywhere
- Sata CommonHealth
- MHC CarePlus
Let’s have a detailed look at what each of these apps has to offer and their prices.
This happens to e one of the most affordable telemedicine services in Singapore. It charges a $12.50 flat consultation fee, and it takes an unconventional route that does not actually involve the existence of its own app. Instead, customers can use Whatsapp to video call a specific number. You will then be attended to by the person that will be available to receive the call. If you need a prescription for specific medicine or a referral to see a specialist, it will be sent to you, but the delivery will cost you $7. The total cost for this service will thus set you back $19.50, but this does not include the cost of the medicine.
This one actually exists as a standalone app that provides round-the-clock access to video-call consultations with certified medical practitioners. Doctor World charges $18, for consultations and it facilitates free delivery of medicines. Doctors that are available on the Doctor World app are from Raffles Medical clinics. Some of them are also from smaller medical clinics such as Newcastle Clinic and Drs Chua & Partners. Keep in mind that each consultation is supposed to last a maximum of 18 minutes. Any additional time beyond that will be charged more. In case the doctor finds that your condition cannot be diagnosed over the video call, then they will terminate the call, and you will not be charged since no service will be delivered.
This particular telemedicine app targets corporate clients as one of the means to make sure that it secures and retains customers. It gets clients by targeting employee health benefits programs. This means that you can only download the app if it is paid for by your employer. Those that get to use the service courtesy of their employers will get to pay $12 for consultation. Note that extra charges may also apply depending on the time of use. For example, you might have to part with $32 for a consultation past midnight.
This telemedicine app is from an independent startup in Singapore, and it does not work with any of the major names in the healthcare industry. However, it works similar to some of the other apps in the industry. Patients simply get connected to any available doctor. Consultations cost $20, but there is a 2-minute window during which you will not be charged if the doctor determines that your health condition warrants an actual visit to the hospital. Doctor Anywhere also offers aesthetics consultation where patients can talk to doctors about things like facelifts, removal of acne-caused scars, and other beauty-related consultations. It also provides newborn consultations where parents to newborns can be advised on common problems that infants usually face.
This Telemedicine app is a little more advanced than other similar apps, and this is perhaps why it charges higher. A consultation through this app costs $25, but you will likely get a superior service compared to most of the other telemedicine apps. This app is ideal for things like travel medication advice, evaluating lab results, and advice related to sexual health. It is also ideal for anyone that wants to get medical guidance on the management of chronic disease. You can also get a medicine prescription through WhiteCoat, but you can also choose to have the medicine delivered to you but at a cost.
This one is more like a peer-to-peer app through which patients can interact with doctors. This app offers both video calls and chat conversations, and it also does not have any fixed fees. For example, patients can pay $10 for the initial five messages. Video consultations start at $10 for the first 3 minutes and may go higher, and to top it all off; you can select the doctor you prefer.
This is the ideal telemedicine app for anyone that is experiencing a health condition that requires a specialist. It also allows you to select the specialist that you want, but this app also charges higher at $120 for the very first consultation and $80 for subsequent consultations. You can also use this app to book an appointment physically.
Some of the other similar apps that can be used to book a physical consultation include Rescu.sg and SeeDoc.