#Asia What’s stopping online doctor-booking apps from coming to the rescue


With a plethora of online doctor-booking apps such as Practo, Guahao and Konsula, why is there still a disconnect in finding the right medical practitioner and service?

The author Woon Shung Toon served as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Cornerstone Asia Tech. He founded The Analytics Company in 2003 and served as the MD for overall activities and Business Intelligence Practice until 2007. With over 20 years of experience, he is also a technology entrepreneur and serial investor.

We have managed to incorporate IT to help streamline how we approach businesses and services. In the realm of medtech, we have made many remarkable pushes to bring better healthcare to the world around us.

To find a doctor nowadays, there are a handful of apps such as Practo, Guahao, Konsula etc. in every market that will easily make recommendations. However, there is a lapse and disconnect in the simple but often overlooked matter of finding the right medical practitioner.

A study done a few years back found that a significant number of patients, who weren’t receiving as much quality care as they should, rated the doctors they were seeing based on other factors. Factors that, alongside more pressing issues (for example, a higher mortality rate) paled in comparison to bedside manner and service. These had been the deciding factors to mitigate whether or not negligent medical procedures were met with legal action by the patients.

Also Read: Don’t start a company just to start a company: Practo’s Prashant ND

There is no one-size-fits-all approach

For treating a common cold, you can do a walk-in without making an appointment. But, what if there is a more specific medical condition that needs to be addressed and requires follow up treatments to resolve? With such extended care, there might come a time when the doctor would need more tests conducted, and referrals to another specialist would incur additional costs which might or might not be justified.

Looking at the study side by side with the logistical requirements needed, we can see that there is a discrepancy for what people would consider to be good service that lets the patient feel good about the consultation and experience, compared to what would be good for them from an objective medical standpoint.

The combination of logistics, tangibles and intangibles in a person’s medical consultation and treatment experience means there isn’t really a ‘one-size-fits-all” approach to matching a patient with the right health care provider.

How medtech helps

The relationship between a medical practitioner and patient has many intricacies that go beyond a service rendered. The level of care, expertise and experience each patient needs is varied.

As mentioned, there are plenty of medtech apps that help match the perfect doctor to your needs through your mobile. With search criteria matching location and specialisation and available time slots, getting medical care and checkups now fit into your schedule much more easily.

Also Read: China healthcare startup Guahao completes US$394M funding round

Beyond that, what users really need is to be given critical information on the level of experience the doctor has and more insight to the procedures and processes that will follow, as well as information via ratings done by other patients to find the perfect fit. Besides that, it is also important to find the insurance company that is covered by the doctor in the app.

Essentially, the goal of medtech is to bridge the lapse of not just the nearest doctor but also the best one — it should, in fact, be an industry standard. All doctor matchmaking apps should aim to bring greater ease and accessibility to the way patients get in touch with their doctors to find the best match for their needs.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, please send us an email at writers[at]e27[dot]co

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