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Opportunity rises in telemedicine business amid the Covid-19 crisis

The Covid-19 crisis seemingly provides a sudden change into a future world, one in which digital has become central to every interaction, forcing both individuals and businesses further up the adoption of technologies over times.  A world in which flexible and agile ways of working are a prerequisite to meeting seemingly daily changes to customer behavior.  The ways everyone learn from and adjust to today’s crisis will deeply influence their performance in tomorrow’s changed world.

Now is the turning point for digital and contact-free economy as evidenced by the rising 3 areas in particular – digital commerce, telemedicine, and automation, with the upcoming 5G technology will definitely drive the exponential growth in the next generation.   What the coronavirus has done is to speed up consumer behavior and shopping habits moving towards digital platforms and mobile apps.   Online e-commerce and delivery service transactions have tremendously risen in the last months.

The figures for telemedicine and virtual health are also striking particularly in the US and China. Healthcare providers are facing an increased demand for services during this Covid-19 at the same time that traditional channels are restricted due to strict privacy laws.    There could be  lasting change to consumer attitudes toward physical distance, health, and privacy.   For example, increased health awareness could bring them to new ways of daily lives’ consumption or their attitudes towards the sharing and use of personal data if they can be proven that the use of such data during the crisis helped safeguarding lives.

Doctorraksa.com, a Thai leading telemedicine service provider with 95% market share, is a user-friendly mobile-based application with 8am till midnight everyday doctor services in various specialities and in collaborations with 700+ total registered doctors, 20+ hospitals and insurance companies, e-pharmacy, and secured healthcare data services in accordance with HIPAA.   Active doctors available for consultations are 70-90 doctors per day with doctor fees of Baht 200-500 per 15 minutes session.   Jaren Siew, CEO and co-founder, a Singaporean medical educator, commented that the Covid-19 urges consumers to adopt telemedicine services, instead of going to the hospitals with long queues and unsafety reasons.    Evidenced by growing numbers of patients and consultations in last months with over 400,000 patients who downloaded the apps (200% yoy growth), over 100,000 consultations (200% yoy growth).   Scope of services provided by Doctorraksa app include searching for online experienced doctors with common conditions and symptoms frequently consulted, doctor appointment, diagnosis (through phone call, VDO call, chat), doctor’s recommendation, medical records system on reliable & secured cloud-based platform provided by AWS to create scalability and efficiency, prescription with the patient’s direct purchase option or via e-pharmacy for drugs and medical supplies, payment channels via money transfer and e-wallet.

Piyada Donchalermpak, COO and co-founder, said Doctorraksa app is becoming popular in Thai markets with more than 10,000 new patients in March 2020.  Based on its patient database is 60:40 female to male, aged 20-40, and top 3 symptom consultation are skincare, pediatrician, gastroesophageal reflux disease.   Aiming to deliver seamless interaction, the company is also working with well-known partners for blood lab test, X-ray check points at patients’ nearby clinics & hospitals, insurance companies, social security office, public health units to widen their accessibility and promote customer awareness in both online and offline healthcare services.  Differentiated values from Doctorraksa are trust and reliability from users experiences, acceptance by medical doctors and pharmacies both private and public, user-friendly and one-stop service app.

In Thailand, we have heard the opportunities and challenges in telemedicine for many years.  Key benefits of telemedicine used in hospitals and other healthcare services are to initially help people living in remote areas where there are inadequate doctors and facilities, to save patients’ times and lower cost of doctor visit, to consult anywhere and anytime.     There are still some unresolved legal and ethical issues concerning telemedicine which are pending for approvals from the Medical Council of Thailand, the Public Health Ministry, and relevant parties.

 

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