By Tan Yan Ni
Feeling under the weather and barely have the strength to get to the doctor? Technology can make diagnosis easier and let you skip long queues at clinics and virtually meet healthcare providers for check-ups.
One such app is MyDoc, currently being used by more than 200 companies in Singapore. This service is available only to employees and policyholders whose employers or insurers are subscribed to MyDoc.
Besides consultation, MyDoc also allows patients to receive authorised prescription slips; send medical certificates (MCs) to employers; and file insurance claims – all from within the app.
This is made possible through MyDoc’s two core services – MyDoc@Work and MyDoc for Insurers. The former digitises the administrative load of tracking MCs and medical leave for employers, while making it easier for patients to seek medical care and follow-ups. The latter simplifies insurance claims process by sending automatic notifications to the insurer when patients consult their doctors.
Dr Snehal Patel, co-founder of MyDoc. (Photo: MyDoc)
Data transfer is often problematic in healthcare management, as patients have to send the same set of information to multiple parties, including doctors, pharmacies and insurers. Not only does this complicate the overall patient experience, it also increases the risk of errors and deters patients from following up on health conditions.
MyDoc’s founders, Dr Snehal Patel and Dr Vas Metupalle, set out to change this when they started MyDoc in 2012. Their goal was simple – to coordinate healthcare information management so that patients could seek medical advice more conveniently.
“To truly disrupt an industry, you need to work with the industry instead of against it,” said Dr Patel, who attributes MyDoc’s success to its ability to automate existing processes instead of replacing them completely.
For instance, the MyDoc team observed that corporate healthcare screenings were often rendered ineffective as employees found it inconvenient to follow up with the relevant doctors after receiving their screening results.
To address this, MyDoc changed the way employees do follow-ups after screenings. They can now access their reports immediately after a lab analysis and book virtual consultations on the same online platform. User feedback has shown that this process saves employees an average of 2.3 hours, which improves productivity at work.
It has been a success, with the Singapore-based health tech start-up conducting thousands of health screenings in collaboration with health providers. As the official health screening partner for the Health Promotion Board’s Workplace Health Programme for SMEs, MyDoc leverages its streamlined healthcare services to deliver faster and more convenient screenings for SME employees.
Changing perceptions of digital health
According to Dr Patel, consumers are now looking for digital health solutions as their perception of the market has improved over the last few years.
A global study on mobile and digital health technology showed that up to 60% of the patients and healthcare professionals surveyed believe that the adoption of digital health will be inevitable in the near future, and they expect it to improve the quality and convenience of their healthcare.
Despite the study’s findings, MyDoc still faced resistance from healthcare professionals, who found the idea and technology difficult to accept.
“We had to convince them of our credibility and make them feel more comfortable with us,” Dr Patel told The Straits Times in an interview. As a physician himself, Dr Patel said he was able to connect with healthcare professionals and help them realise that MyDoc’s platform was created with both physician and patient needs in mind.
Since its launch, the number of active users on the MyDoc app has grown to more than 30,000 people across Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. Till today, the company continues to experience double-digit growth in user numbers.
The company has also seen 10% month-on-month growth and has partnerships with more than 100 corporates. For instance, MyDoc has built strong partnerships with leading insurers like AIA, Aetna and AXA, and is working towards increasing coverage of policyholders and getting new insurers onboard.
In 2017, MyDoc also collaborated with Guardian Pharmacy to implement a community digital health programme in 2017 to educate a wider audience about digital health. The programme gave members of the public free medical advice and access to MyDoc’s online prescription services, with thousands of requests fulfilled so far.
The MyDoc app in action. (Photo: MyDoc)
Strategy for the future
The market for digital health has been growing in recent years, with well-established traditional healthcare players such as the National Healthcare Group and SingHealth entering the scene.
However, MyDoc is not resting on its laurels.
The company is looking into product innovation and integrating more services into its existing ecosystem to keep up with the competition.
For instance, MyDoc has incorporated artificial intelligence into its platform to build a more intuitive user experience and help more patients navigate their journey towards better healthcare.
Looking ahead, Dr Patel envisions the establishment of a more comprehensive healthcare network for patients. “The real impact of MyDoc will be felt when we connect an entire, high quality network of services for our patients,” Dr Patel said.