An app a day brings the doctor your way: Apps in Singapore provide home healthcare services

Speedoc chief executive officer Shravan Verma visiting a patient’s home.

Over the past few years, Singapore’s healthcare landscape has evolved beyond the traditional face-to-face doctor-patient consultation.

There has been growth in two digital healthcare services – house call and telemedicine. House call services bring doctors to wherever patients are, while telemedicine is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients through telecommunications, such as having consults through video calls.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said that house call services provide “greater accessibility for patients who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to attend a hospital or a clinic, by bringing medical practitioners to their bedside.”

Earlier this year, the Ministry launched a regulatory initiative for telemedicine and house call service providers – the Licensing Experimentation and Adaptation Programme (LEAP).

Currently, five companies are part of LEAP – WhiteCoatMyDocDoctor AnywhereMaNaDr and Speedoc.

Speedoc, a mobile application that allows users to request a house call from a doctor, officially launched on Oct 18. It also released survey findings on house calls in Singapore, based on its current database of 524 patients.

It found that the most common form of illnesses among users are respiratory infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia, comprising 21 per cent of its patient load.

The second-most common type of illnesses are gastroenteritis cases, including food poisoning and stomach flu, at 19 per cent of patient load. Other ailments included vertigo and lower back pain.

Speedoc’s house call patients range in age from 9 months to 107 years.

Of its 524 patients, 54.5 per cent are adults, 36.7 per cent are elderly (aged 65 and above) and 8 per cent are below 18.

While adult patients and those below 18 tend to require more acute and episodic care, patients above 60 tend to require more chronic care and management, including assessments on pneumonia, bed sores, and even falls.

Speedoc’s consultation fees range from S$150 (US$108) to $280, excluding the cost of medicine and depending on the location and time of day.

According to the Ministry of Health, the LEAP initiative will continue until telemedicine and house call services are officially licensed under the Healthcare Services Act.