Lifestyle Health & Fitness The rise of telemedicine in S'pore, the future of healthcare

The rise of telemedicine in S’pore, the future of healthcare

Founded five years ago by Wai Mun Lim, the firm’s chief executive officer and chairman, Doctor Anywhere has had a head start in virtual healthcare in Singapore

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Singapore—With the Covid-19 pandemic shaking up life as we know it, even everyday occurrences such as a visit to the doctor may have changed forever. Telemedicine is part of the future of taking care of our health, and a firm called Doctor Anywhere has pioneered the practice in Singapore.

Founded five years ago by Wai Mun Lim, the firm’s chief executive officer and chairman, Doctor Anywhere has had a  head start in virtual healthcare in Singapore. According to Business Insider (BI), Mr Lim, who worked as an investment manager before launching Doctor Anywhere, was inspired by Teladoc and MDLive, two American telehealth firms.

To date, Doctor Anywhere has one million active users, composed of individuals who avail of the telehealth service to meet their needs as well as corporate clients for companies taking care of their workers’ needs.

One result of the coronavirus pandemic is that more people have realised that they don’t need to see their physician in person for doctors to give an accurate diagnosis for common primary sicknesses. Mr Lim told BI that Covid-19 has within a short time taken away this barrier to availing of telehealth services.

After the onset of the pandemic, Doctor Anywhere saw nine times more patients who required refills of medicines for their chronic conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

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And at present, due to increasing challenges from the economic fallout and restrictions due to Covid-19, more people are consulting physicians on Doctor Anywhere for stress-related conditions such as insomnia, Mr Lim said.

BI quotes him as saying, “Users can video call a licensed psychologist or counselor confidentially from the privacy of their home, and avoid the potential embarrassment of being seen at the clinic.

There are also substantial time and cost savings with virtual video consultations compared to face-to-face consultations, that can help to lower the barrier for people who need help.”

Mr Lim believes that more and more people are considering telehealth as part of their healthcare and not only a safe option because of the coronavirus, saying, “We also see a very encouraging retention rate for our users, which possibly means that they like our concept of delivering healthcare.”

But telehealth is not the replacement for in-person consultations with physicians. Doctor Anywhere, instead, aims to exist side by side with brick and mortar clinics.

He added, “Aside from telehealth services, Doctor Anywhere operates eight physical PHPCs island-wide. We also work with a panel of allied health providers, specialists, and general practitioner clinics island-wide.”

Doctor Anywhere is set for expansion into the Southeast Asian market, opening in Malaysia last August and in the Philippines in the near future. —/TISG

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