Health has always been at the forefront of what Ethel Tan does for work and in her personal time.
The Singapore Management University graduate turned her passion as an indoor cycling instructor into a career and later went one step further when she founded Noah – a discreet digital clinic for men – with co-founder Sean Low in June last year.
Nine months later, in March 2021, the duo launched Zoey, a new telemedical platform that covers all aspects of women's health.
"We knew we wanted to change the way people experienced quality health care, and especially at a time of pandemic, the telemedicine game needed to be in the spotlight," Ethel said.
Birth control delivered in four hours
Image Credit: Healthline
Ethel told Vulcan Post that when the breaker was rolled out in Singapore, she realized the inconvenience of getting a simple refill for her birth control pill prescription.
It didn't make sense to take the risk of catching Covid-19 and take strict precautions to get birth control from a clinic.
While there were already providers of birth control pills in the telemedicine field, the downside was that customers had to wait a day or two before receiving their prescriptions. In addition, their prices are quite high.
Because of this, she felt that Zoey needed to be more convenient and use the same four-hour free delivery model as Noah to provide a cheaper solution for women.
|Female health care providers in Singapore||delivery time||costs|
|Zoey (birth control pill)||4 hours (no shipping costs)||From S $ 16 / month|
|Ease Healthcare (birth control pills)||2-3 working days (eco-friendly option)
4 hours (no shipping costs)
|From S $ 23 / month|
|Ferne Health (emergency contraceptives only)||Within 3 hours after consulting the doctor||75 S $|
Comparison with other female healthcare providers in Singapore
The team knew the importance of data protection, speed and cost to the patient experience, so they designed the entire Zoey company to do this – from online consultations to free and discreet four-hour delivery service.
A gap in the health provision for women
Photo credit: Zoey
Zoey isn't just focused on providing access to sexual health care, however. Instead, new expectations of what women expect from telemedicine are to be awakened.
At the product level, the platform differs through its vision of offering women solutions for all aspects of health.
When looking at the Singapore Women's Clinic's online scene, we found a void in their service offerings, which were primarily focused on sexual health. We wanted to develop a more holistic approach to women's health care that is not just about the physical aspect.
Ethel Tan, co-founder of Zoey
While getting mental health help is still largely taboo today, Ethel told Vulcan Post that her therapy sessions at the university have proven very effective in helping her meet the challenges they faced at the time faced.
After graduating and joining the workforce, however, she admitted that continuing therapy was “far too costly” for someone on a starting salary.
This is how she came up with the idea of going beyond sexual health and adding affordable mental health and other treatments to Zoey's range of services.
According to Ethel, the team has seen great latent interest in Zoey's mental health offerings, in part due to the current climate of insecurity and having to isolate itself from others for long periods of time.
Women are knowledgeable about health solutions, so don't be ashamed to seek treatment for them. However, when it comes to more sensitive conditions involving sexual or even mental health, women tend to be judged by others. For this reason it is important to Zoey to keep everything confidential and to value the privacy of all members.
Some of the other treatments currently available on Zoey include smoking cessation, acne, and even hair loss.
Zoey is also on the Health Department's (MOH) direct telemedicine providers list and has also managed to bring in a group of medical experts.
One-stop platform for everything women's health
Telemedicine isn't new, but its popularity has skyrocketed over the past year.
Before Covid-19, the industry focused on convincing users to trust the platform and the doctors who couldn't see it. However, telemedicine is now offering accessible healthcare to consumers who are already conditioned to trust online services.
Although Zoey is still a new player in the market at around two months old, it already has several thousand women among its customers in Singapore.
We're still trying to better understand our customers and find out what they need, but we're also seeing more signups every day.
When it comes to scaling healthcare solutions, we've learned a lot from Noah, and we're putting that knowledge to use here. Anecdotally, Zoey is growing twice as fast as Noah, helping to define new expectations in the category.
Ethel Tan, co-founder of Zoey
"Zoey's goal is to do everything from a single source for women's health. We are continuously working with doctors and medical advisors to improve our members and offer more services to meet all of their health needs," said Ethel.
Selected image source: Zoey