Covid-19 has forced us to stay at home more, which sparked the rise of telemedicine, which brings vital medical services right to our doorsteps.
Since the late 2010s, the medical industry has adopted fast-paced consumer technologies with the advent of integrated ICT platforms that offer consumers affordable on-demand and remote medical care options.
In the event that another COVID-19 outbreak hits Singapore, it will be more important than ever to ensure people continue to have access to essential services, from medicines for common diseases to diagnosing chronic conditions like diabetes.
The Ministry of Health recognized the growing need to improve consumer medical access points and has since introduced a sandbox called LEAP to regulate emerging telemedicine startups.
Here are seven telemedicine startups driving the next generation of medical care in Singapore:
Photo credit: Doctor World
The Doctor World app was founded in 2017 and is being developed at LEAP in collaboration with Raffles Medical.
Doctor World recently announced a merger with Raffles Connect on a new integrated platform. All of Doctor World's doctors are licensed by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC).
- 24/7 teleconsultations with island-wide drug delivery in less than three hours
- For general terms and conditions, travel and sexual health advice, chronic medication replenishments, and health exam results
- Book home care, specialist appointments, 24/7 home visits and ambulances
- E-Queue-In-App for family doctor visits in partner clinics all over the island
- Check symptoms and medical records, buy products and health insurance, and stay up to date with the latest health news
Teleconsultations start from S $ 18. Download here on Android or iOS.
Photo credit: Praram 9
Doctor Anywhere (DA) offers an extensive range of in-app services for telemedicine.
DA was first founded in 2017 and is an brainchild of Wai Mun, a former Temasek Holdings employee who has been in the investment and start-up space for over 10 years.
In March, the startup announced a Series B financing round worth S $ 27 million to drive international expansion and consolidate its presence in Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
DA also said it will double its workforce from 200 over the next few years. The app is currently being developed with LEAP and is hiring doctors registered with SMC.
- 24/7 teleconsultations with less than five minutes of waiting time and free drug delivery in less than three hours
- For common illnesses and chronic illnesses
- Schedule an appointment for a pre-departure Covid-19 PCR swab test, 6ME screening for maids, mental wellness services, and home care services (including health screening, vaccinations, and physical therapy).
- Shop on the in-app marketplace and get reward points
Teleconsultations start from S $ 20. Download here for Android or Apple.
Bryan Koh / Photo credit: Vulcan Post
With WhiteCoat, you can get basic teleconsultation services quickly and easily.
The app was founded in 2017 by former corporate attorney Bryan Koh and is managed by Dr. Yii Hee Seng and Prof. Goh Lee Gan, who have over 80 years of healthcare experience.
Since its inception, WhiteCoat has cared for over 50,000 patients and managed 1.2 million corporate lives under AIA. The app has also optimized its medication delivery service through a partnership with GrabExpress.
In 2020, after the first Covid-19 case was announced in Singapore, WhiteCoat's traffic reportedly increased at least 25 percent every week.
WhiteCoat is under development at LEAP and the General Practitioner Clinic is licensed under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act. All WhiteCoat doctors are registered with SMC.
- Teleconsultations are available daily from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. with a waiting time of 10 minutes
- For general illnesses, chronic illnesses, laboratory results, and travel and sexual health advice
- The island-wide delivery of medicines takes place within 90 minutes and is possible daily until 3 a.m.
Teleconsultations start at S $ 25. Download here for Android or Apple.
Image credit: HiDoc
HiDoc is an app that offers premium telemedicine services for patients with special medical needs.
HiDoc was launched in January 2019 by SMG Managing Director Christina Low and IT Director Carolyn Goh with an 80 percent stake in the Singapore Medical Group (SMG).
HiDoc currently has approximately 3,000 patients and 40 doctors on the platform.
Earlier this year, the SMG subsidiary also announced that it will be partnering with luxury condominium OLA to provide medical assistance to residents on their doorstep.
The app is currently working with DBS, Watsons and LEAP. All HiDoc doctors and specialists are registered in Singapore and licensed by the SMC.
- Teleconsultation for specialized services, fulfillment of prescriptions and a second opinion on a specific disease. In the case of general illnesses, patients with chronic or mental illnesses are not advised to use HiDoc
- Medical concierge who arranges referrals and appointments, assists with medical travel, worldwide medical evacuation, medical claims, medication and reports
- E-shop with products and services, including Watsons products
Teleconsultations start at S $ 120. Download here for Android or Apple.
Photo credit: Vulcan Post
Speedoc offers on-demand home visits for patients who need a GP or A&R visit anywhere, anytime.
Speedoc was introduced in January 2018 and was developed by Dr. Shravan Verma launched as a “Grab for Doctors” to bring home care at the hospital level via a “medical super app”.
Since then, Speedoc has been named the best business model at HDB Cool Ideas in 2018 and the first runner-up at Unicon 2018. The company now has a network of 50 doctors in Singapore and Malaysia and plans to expand into Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India.
As of December 2019, the app was reportedly downloaded over 20,000 times and the Speedoc team is making an average of 20 to 30 transactions per day.
The startup is currently working with organizations such as LEAP, UOB, Mastercard, CaregiverAsia, PwC Singapore's startup venture program, JustCo and GuavaPass.
All Speedoc doctors are fully licensed by the local medical boards.
- 24/7 home call with licensed doctors and nurses everywhere. For frequent, urgent or chronic illnesses, preventive medical check-ups, women's health, foreign domestic workers 6ME, wound management, vaccinations and care
- Daily telephone consultations from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free delivery of medicines within one hour for urgent cases; and within two to three days for non-urgent cases
- For common illnesses, chronic illnesses, quick referrals from specialist doctors and women's health
- 24/7 private ambulance within 30 minutes for non-life threatening conditions
Consultations start at S $ 150. Download here for Android or Apple or call +65 8180 8948.
Photo credit: Better Health
BetterHealth offers a comprehensive range of telehealth services, including on-demand teleconsultations around the clock.
The brand, built by the parent company MHC Healthcare, was designed by Dr. Raymond Ong co-founded. BetterHealth is currently under development under the LEAP program.
- 24/7 phone consultations with medication delivered to your door or available for pickup. For common illnesses, skin problems, travel advice, medical advice on sexual health and medical second opinions
- E-marketplace for health products
- App ecosystem tracks health records, key parameters, previous medical diagnoses, medical certificates (e-MCs), tax bills, and doctor notes
Teleconsultations start from S $ 12. Download here for Android or Apple.
Photo credit: Rescu Facebook
Rescu is a mobile medical service that is at home around the clock and meets general conditions. The three-person company founded by a husband, a wife and a younger brother was completely overwhelmed and "combined over 16 years of medical experience and specialization in MRCGP family medicine".
BetterHealth is operated as part of the LEAP program and is managed by Dr. Bobby Stryker, who received the NGHP Excellence in Action Award in 2014.
Only doctors who are registered with the SMC and the SMC's Family Physicians Register are contracted.
- 24/7 home call with licensed doctors across the island. For patients of all ages with common medical conditions, infectious diseases, chronic illnesses, driver's license and home help exams, injections, birth control, and health checks
- Teleconsultations via a secured WhatsApp video call available daily from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. with paid medication delivery. For common and chronic diseases and women's health
Teleconsultations start from S $ 20 and home calls start from S $ 68. Call +65 87799441
Remember to stay safe
As in any emerging industry, the use of telehealth services should be done with caution.
Remember to check that the doctors practicing at your desired healthcare provider are approved by local authorities.
In addition, it is important to note that not all medical conditions can be treated through remote video consultations. Therefore, check on site which diseases are possible.
Despite the convenience that telehealth services could potentially bring, the industry is still facing adoption barriers, including limited coverage from insurance programs and low user adoption rates in an important segment of the population: the elderly.
However, the telehealth industry could potentially democratize healthcare by providing the average consumer with instant access to essential services.
And in a Covid-19 economy, that need is greater than ever.
Selected image source: Cigna insurance