New app allows patients to tele-consult doctors

Mr Kaw Cong Kai (far left), 30, likes the app, saying: "It's really convenient." With him is Dr David Cheong.
Mr Kaw Cong Kai (left), 30, likes the app, saying: "It's really convenient." With him is Dr David Cheong. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

A new app that allows patients to book appointments with doctors, and have round-the-clock tele-consults with them, was launched yesterday.

Patients here and in Australia can access over 500 clinics and 600 general practitioners (GPs), specialists and dentists from the two countries through the MaNaDr app.

Booking appointments is mostly free, and patients are charged slightly lower fees for tele-consults with doctors compared with face-to-face consultations at the clinic. Patients can text doctors and send pictures of their medical condition through the app for the tele-consults, which are mostly used as follow-up consultations. If their preferred doctor is unavailable, they will be referred to another doctor through the app.

The app is part of a larger healthcare platform, also called MaNaDr. It is owned by healthcare firm Mobile Health, which was set up by a group of doctors here. Dr Siaw Tung Yeng, Mobile Health's founder and chief executive officer, said he and his team of doctors were motivated by the vision of a mobile platform that empowers patients to take charge of their healthcare, from cradle to grave.

Dr David Cheong, one of Mobile Health's co-founders and its chief medical officer, charges $3 for the first few messages for the tele-consult, and $0.50 for subsequent messages - a steep discount from his usual consultation fees of $30.

Dr Siaw said the app provides an extra stream of revenue for doctors through the paid tele-consults, though they do not have to pay a fee to put their services on the app.

The launch event for the platform was held at the Singapore Press Holdings' News Centre Auditorium in Toa Payoh North. Since the app was soft launched in January, close to 100,000 appointments have been booked. It can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. Similar apps are currently available in the market, such as MyDoc, which lets users tele-consult doctors and pharmacists on simple illnesses.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2017, with the headline New app allows patients to tele-consult doctors. Subscribe