doctor anywhere lim wai mun
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When Lim Wai Mun first founded Doctor Anywhere, healthcare was a completely new arena for him.

The 41-year-old has a background in engineering, but started out in the finance industry with Standard Chartered doing private equity. He then spent close to a decade in Temasek Holdings, where he helped conceptualise and establish Singapore-based LNG company Pavilion Energy.

In 2016, Wai Mun was on a service outreach project when he noticed a significant gap in healthcare access for older seniors who could not leave their homes due to immobility.

This experience planted the seed for Doctor Anywhere, a telehealth startup that aimed to provide basic healthcare services to those in need, regardless of their location.

What began as a non-profit side project in 2017 eventually evolved into a viable business that aimed to solve the many pain points that hinder access to quality, affordable healthcare.

The company initially focused on providing telehealth services, allowing patients to consult with doctors through video calls or chats. As the business grew, Doctor Anywhere has expanded its services to include medication delivery, health screening and home nursing services, just to name a few.

Over the years, Doctor Anywhere has grown from its humble beginnings to become a regional healthcare provider with presence across six Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand and Vietnam.

Holistic healthcare from online to offline

doctor anywhere telehealth app
You can easily book a virtual consultation via the Doctor Anywhere app / Image Credit: Doctor Anywhere

Doctor Anywhere offers a range of services that cater to various healthcare needs. Its primary focus is on telehealth and primary care services, including virtual consultations, as well as physical clinics and pharmacies.

However, the company has expanded its offerings to other complementary verticals.

For example, users can do health screenings and vaccinations at home or in the office, access primary care offerings through the company’s telehealth service and network of physical GP clinics, as well as receive second opinions and post-surgery consultations with medical specialist doctors via telehealth. Even post-surgery recovery can be monitored at home, away from hospitals.

Users can also access other ancillary healthcare verticals such as mental wellness and chiropractic services, alongside its online DA Marketplace for supplements and health products, providing users with a one-stop shop for their healthcare needs.

Doctor Anywhere continues to innovate and has introduced new services such as their monthly contraception subscription service and wellness concierge for overseas medical treatment in Bangkok. 

We aim to deliver a holistic healthcare offering enabled by technology, where our users would have access to decentralised healthcare across their care continuum (ie. primary, secondary, tertiary, step down care, and wellness).

In a sense, we would be one of the largest hospitals without a hospital building in Southeast Asia, offering personalised, borderless and inclusive healthcare to our users.

– Lim Wai Mun, founder and CEO of Doctor Anywhere

However, the early days of Doctor Anywhere were filled with challenges. The company was started by a small team of four, which required everyone to wear multiple hats and work long hours to get the business off the ground.

One of the primary hurdles was building trust with consumers. Telehealth was still new at the time, and people were hesitant to entrust their healthcare needs to a virtual provider.

Wai Mun and his team also faced questions about the legitimacy of their doctors’ licenses, the recognition of their medical certificate (MCs), and whether they could deliver timely medication to people’s doorsteps.

Fortunately, by word-of-mouth and good experiences with the service, more people began to trust Doctor Anywhere. The company also adopted an omnichannel approach, which helped to build its brand by launching physical clinics a year after its inception.

Doctor Anywhere's physical clinic at Potong Pasir
Doctor Anywhere’s physical clinic at Potong Pasir / Image Credit: Doctor Anywhere

“While telehealth provided a means for quicker, more accessible means for consultations, we saw the need to also provide in-clinic services to deliver a more integrated offering for patients. This meant providing more options for patients based on their needs and preferences. Establishing a physical presence also helped build greater visibility and trust, where people could see and grow to know the brand,” explained Wai Mun.

Besides gaining consumer trust, one of the most significant hurdles it faced was navigating the shift in culture and business needs that came with growth.

However, as Wai Mun puts it, “we are only as good as the people we have,” and he made sure that there was room for experimentation, autonomy, and trust in the skilled team members to ensure that the company grew alongside its employees.

COVID-19 accelerated the demand for telehealth services

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Doctor Anywhere had already gained traction, as patients and doctors were willing to experiment with the platform and the population was already well-versed with digital services.

However, COVID-19 certainly helped to accelerate the demand for telehealth services, especially when individuals were confined to their homes.

COVID-19 was an unexpected moment in time that helped drive greater need for telehealth and digital-enabled services, but also one that highlighted the importance of being agile and adaptable to a patient’s needs.

– Lim Wai Mun, founder and CEO of Doctor Anywhere

Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, Doctor Anywhere was able to make significant strides in innovation and service delivery.

doctor anywhere supervised telehealth art
Supervised ART test via telehealth / Image Credit: Doctor Anywhere

One notable project was the online supervised teleART service, where users could get a confirmed ART result from the comfort of their homes instead of heading down to overcrowded quick-test centers. This service was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), in which Doctor Anywhere managed to conceptualise and launch it within a month.

In addition to the teleART service, Doctor Anywhere’s medical teams provided medical care for thousands of foreign workers at their dormitories, administered more than 200,000 PCR and ART swab tests across the community, and also aided MOH’s Home Recovery Programme for COVID-19 positive patients, which included over 20,000 adult and child patients.

For these efforts, Doctor Anywhere was recognised by the Ministry of Manpower’s ACE Group. Several staff members received The Public Service Medal (COVID-19), and Doctor Anywhere was also awarded the President’s Certificate of Commendation (COVID-19).

Funding and acquisitions to fuel growth

To kickstart Doctor Anywhere, Wai Mun shared that he invested around S$150,000 in seed funding.

In December 2022, Doctor Anywhere raised US$38.8 million, bringing its total funding to almost US$140 million. According to Wai Mun, these funds are used to fuel the company’s long-term growth ambitions, which include building a regional healthcare ecosystem for customers and patients.

As Wai Mun explained earlier, Doctor Anywhere aims to provide holistic healthcare services that span from primary to secondary care, wellness, and prevention. This strategy aligns with the fast-rising healthcare challenges in the region, including aging populations and the rise in chronic diseases.

To enable the company’s long-term growth, Doctor Anywhere has also been acquiring companies that offer synergistic opportunities.

Doctor Anywhere acquires Asian Healthcare Specialists
Doctor Anywhere acquires Asian Healthcare Specialists / Image Credit: Doctor Anywhere

Its most recent acquisition was Asian Healthcare Specialists, a Singapore-based medical group that provides specialist care in areas such as orthopaedics, ophthalmology, rehabilitation, among others. This acquisition enables Doctor Anywhere to expand its secondary/specialist care offering, which is a critical component of its growth strategy.

Our priority for now is on deepening our business and healthcare offerings within the countries we operate in across Southeast Asia, and we remain focused on achieving profitability in the near term.

– Lim Wai Mun, founder and CEO of Doctor Anywhere

This focus has been reflected in Doctor Anywhere’s recent ranking as the third fastest-growing company in Singapore by Straits Times and Statista. According to Wai Mun, the company’s growth can be attributed to its user-centricity and focus on delivering high-quality healthcare.

Patients have always been their number one priority, and this has helped prove to users that they are “not just a tech company, but also a healthcare company,” said Wai Mun.

The company’s success is evident in its milestones and achievements. It has experienced three times year-on-year growth in the past year, and has over 600 employees today. It also has around 2.5 million users served by its 3,000 general practitioners and specialists across the region.

In 2022, Doctor Anywhere was included in the Financial Times x Statista High-Growth Asia-Pacific companies, and it has also been recognised as one of LinkedIn’s Top Startups in Singapore for the past two years.

Telehealth is here to stay

In recent years, the healthcare industry in Singapore has seen a significant shift towards telehealth. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic acts as a catalyst for this transformation, and Doctor Anywhere has been at the forefront of this trend.

telehealth virtual consultation
The demand for telehealth has increased due to COVID-19 / Image Credit: Doctor Anywhere

According to Wai Mun, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of telehealth in Singapore by at least five years. This has led to tens of thousands of users starting their journey with Doctor Anywhere through the company’s virtual ART solution.

He added that more than half of these users have returned to use Doctor Anywhere for other services, highlighting the growing acceptance and popularity of telehealth among consumers.

With consumers embracing and realising the benefits of digital health technologies, individuals are taking greater action and ownership of their health, signalling a shift towards preventive, proactive, and self-managed healthcare.

Wai Mun believes that telemedicine will continue to evolve to keep up with consumers’ needs and demands, providing a greater range of holistic services and offerings to support patients across every stage of health.

As Doctor Anywhere continues to expand its services and offerings, one thing is clear — the company is leading the charge in revolutionising the healthcare landscape in Southeast Asia.

With its user-centric, borderless, and inclusive approach to healthcare, Doctor Anywhere is well on its way to achieving its ultimate goal of providing personalised, accessible, and affordable healthcare to millions of people across the region.

Featured Image Credit: Doctor Anywhere

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)