STARTUPS

HiDoc launches telehealth mobile app

Singapore

A NEW telehealth startup has emerged with the backing of Singapore Medical Group (SMG), the Catalist-listed clinic operator. HiDoc, which is 80 per cent-owned by SMG, officially launched its telehealth mobile app on Thursday.

Its founders are SMG's Singapore managing director Christina Low and IT director Carolyn Goh, who are concurrently HiDoc's CEO and chief technology officer respectively. Dr Low declined to reveal how much SMG has invested in HiDoc.

For a flat consultation fee of S$120, users of HiDoc can consult medical specialists over video conferencing or a call. Alternatively, they can specify details about their condition and receive a report from the specialist within 24 hours. Users can also schedule in-person consultations via the app.

HiDoc is now looking for angel investors and small private equity funds for pre-Series A funding, Dr Low told The Business Times. It is also in the "final stages" of its application to join the Ministry of Health's (MOH) regulatory sandbox, she added.

Dr Low and Ms Goh came up with the idea for HiDoc in mid-2018, after noticing a demand for telehealth services among patients.

"One of the advantages of working in a healthcare group like SMG is that we are able to appreciate the workings of our specialists and the patients' concerns, hence noticing a need for follow-up cases and second opinion consultation to be done remotely," Dr Low said.

This is especially the case for foreign patients seeking a second opinion after being diagnosed in their home countries. Similarly, there is demand from patients who require ongoing care to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes.

HiDoc currently has close to 15 specialists on the platform, about half of whom are from SMG. It is prospecting another 30 specialists.

The specialists' areas of expertise include obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics, colorectal surgery, general surgery, paediatrics, and plastic surgery and aesthetics.

HiDoc also comes with a Patient Health Records function that allows users to upload medical records, such as laboratory test results, onto the platform. To protect users' privacy, they will be prompted on which specific records they wish to share with a specialist, Dr Low said.

HiDoc offers a delivery service for prescriptions. It is now also working with a pharmacy chain to add an option for users to pick up their prescription at outlets islandwide. Dr Low declined to disclose the identity of the pharmacy chain.

Separately, the startup has entered a strategic partnership with DBS for users to make payments via the DBS PayLah! e-wallet.

Moving forward, HiDoc expects to soon be accredited into the MOH sandbox. The startup hopes to gain "visibility into the evolving regulatory environment around telemedicine" by joining the initiative, Ms Goh explained.

"Being in the sandbox means that we will be able to comply with changes in the regulatory framework with greater agility to ensure patient safety and care," she said.