Covid-19 have forced us to stay home more, sparking the rise of telehealth that brings key medical services straight to our doorsteps.
Since the late 2010s, the medical industry has caught on to rapid consumer technologies with the launch of integrated ICT platforms that offer consumers affordable, on-demand and remote medical care options.
In the event that another COVID-19 outbreak occurs in Singapore, it will be more critical than ever to ensure that people continue to have access to key services, from medication for common illnesses to the diagnosis of chronic conditions like diabetes.
The Ministry of Health has recognised the growing need to enhance consumer-medical access points and has since launched a regulatory sandbox termed LEAP to regulate emerging telehealth startups.
Here are seven telehealth startups that are fronting the next generation of medical care in Singapore:
First founded in 2017, the Doctor World app is developed at LEAP in partnership with Raffles Medical.
Doctor World recently announced a merger with Raffles Connect on a new integrated platform. All Doctor World practitioners are licensed with the Singapore Medical Council (SMC).
- 24/7 teleconsultations with islandwide medicine delivery in under three hours
- For general conditions, travel and sexual health advice, chronic medication top-ups and health screening result reviews
- Book home nursing care, specialist appointments, 24/7 house calls and ambulance services
- E-queue in-app for GP visits at partner clinics islandwide
- Check symptoms and health records, shop for products and health insurance and stay informed with the latest health news
Doctor Anywhere (DA) offers an extensive range of telehealth services in-app.
First launched in 2017, DA is the brainchild of Wai Mun, an ex-employee of Temasek Holdings with over 10 years working in the investment and start-up space.
In March, the startup announced a S$27 million Series B funding round that aims to drive international expansion, cementing its presence in Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
DA also said that it will be doubling its workforce of 200 employees over the next few years. The app is currently under development with LEAP, and hires doctors registered with SMC.
- 24/7 teleconsultations with a wait time of fewer than five minutes and free delivery of medication in under three hours
- For common illnesses and chronic conditions
- Book an appointment for a pre-departure Covid-19 PCR swab test, maid 6ME screening, mental wellness services, and home care services (including health screening, vaccinations and physiotherapy)
- Shop at its in-app marketplace and claim rewards points
WhiteCoat allows you to engage basic teleconsultation services quickly and conveniently.
First founded in 2017 by former corporate lawyer Bryan Koh, the app is headed by Dr. Yii Hee Seng and Prof. Goh Lee Gan, who have over 80 years of combined experience in healthcare.
Since its inception, WhiteCoat has served over 50,000 patients and manages 1.2 million corporate lives under AIA. The app has also streamlined its medication delivery service via a partnership with GrabExpress.
In 2020, after the first Covid-19 case was announced in Singapore, WhiteCoat’s traffic reportedly increased by at least 25 per cent every week.
WhiteCoat is under development at LEAP and the physical GP clinic is licensed under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act. All WhiteCoat doctors are registered with SMC.
- Teleconsultations available from 8am to 12am every day with a 10-minute wait time
- For general conditions, chronic diseases, lab result reviews, and travel and sexual health advice
- Islandwide delivery of medication arrives within 90 minutes., available until 3am daily
HiDoc is an app offering premium telehealth services targeted at patients with specialised medical needs.
Backed by an 80 per cent stake from the Singapore Medical Group (SMG), HiDoc was launched in January 2019 by SMG’s managing director Christina Low and IT director Carolyn Goh.
HiDoc currently has approximately 3,000 patients and 40 doctors on the platform.
Earlier this year, the SMG subsidiary also announced that it would be engaged in a partnership with luxury condominium OLA to provide residents with medical assistance at their doorsteps.
The app is currently partnering with DBS, Watsons and LEAP. All doctors and specialists on HiDoc are Singapore-registered and licensed with the SMC.
- Teleconsultation for specialist services, prescription fulfilment and a second opinion on a specific medical condition. For general conditions, patients with chronic or mental health conditions are advised against using HiDoc
- Medical concierge that arranges referrals and appointments, assists with medical travel, worldwide medical evacuation, medical claims, medication and reports
- E-shop offering products and services, including Watsons products
Speedoc offers on-demand house calls for patients who require GP or A&R visits anywhere, anytime.
Launched in January 2018, Speedoc was created by Dr. Shravan Verma to be the “Grab for doctors“, bringing hospital-level care to the home via a “medical superapp”.
Since then, Speedoc has been awarded the Best Business Model at HDB Cool Ideas in 2018 and named first runner‐up at the 2018 Unicon. It now has a network of 50 doctors across Singapore and Malaysia, with plans to expand to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India.
By December 2019, the app had reportedly been downloaded over 20,000 times and the Speedoc team makes an average of 20 to 30 transactions a day.
The startup is currently partnering with organisations like LEAP, UOB, Mastercard, CaregiverAsia, PwC Singapore’s startup venture program, JustCo and GuavaPass.
All Speedoc doctors are fully licensed under local Medical Council bodies.
- 24/7 house call with licensed doctors and nurses anywhere. For common, urgent, or chronic conditions, health screenings, women’s health, foreign domestic workers 6ME, wound management, vaccinations, and caregiving
- Daily teleconsultations available from 8am to 8pm. Free delivery of medication within an hour for urgent cases; and within two to three days for non-urgent cases
- For common conditions, chronic condition follow-ups, fast-track specialist referrals, and women’s health
- 24/7 private ambulance within 30 minutes for non-life threatening conditions
BetterHealth offers a holistic range of telehealth services that include 24/7 on-demand teleconsultations.
Built by parent company MHC Healthcare, the brand was co-founded by Dr Raymond Ong. BetterHealth is currently in development under the LEAP program.
- 24/7 teleconsultations with medicine delivered to your doorstep or available via self pick-up. For common illnesses, skin matters, travel advice, sexual health medical advisory and second medical opinions
- E-marketplace selling health products
- App ecosystem tracking health records, vital parameters, past medical diagnosis, medical certificates (e-MCs), tax invoices and doctor’s memos
Rescu is a 24/7 home visiting mobile doctor service for general conditions. Launched by a husband, wife and younger brother, the three-person venture was entirely bootstrapped, “fusing over 16 years of medical experience and MRCGP family medicine specialisation.”
BetterHealth is run under the LEAP program and headed by Dr Bobby Stryker, who was awarded the NGHP Excellence in Action Award in 2014.
Only doctors registered with the SMC and on the SMC’s Family Physicians Register are contracted.
- 24/7 house call with licensed doctors islandwide. For patients of all ages with common conditions, infectious diseases, chronic conditions, driving license and domestic helper examinations, injections, contraception, and health screenings
- Teleconsultations via a secured Whatsapp video call available from 12pm to 2am daily with paid medicine delivery. For common and chronic conditions and women’s health
Teleconsultations start from S$20 and house calls start from S$68. Call at +65 87799441
Remember To Stay Safe
As with every emerging industry, using telehealth services should be done cautiously.
Remember to check whether the doctors practicing with your desired healthcare provider is licensed by local authorities.
In addition, it is also important to note that not every condition can be treated via remote video consultations, so do check which conditions are eligible on-site.
Despite the convenience telehealth services could potentially bring to the table, the industry still faces barriers to adoption, including limited coverage under insurance programs and low user adoption rates among a key population segment: the elderly.
However, the telehealth industry could potentially democratise healthcare by providing the average consumer with immediate access to key services.
And in a Covid-19 economy, that need is greater than ever.
Featured Image Credit: Cigna Insurance