As the corona virus epidemic is spreading across the world, telehealth services are achieving their goals by providing online doctor consultation and medicine delivery services. As a result, various health technology startups have been witnessing high demand driven by Covid-19. Among them is Singapore-based Whitecoat.
“I believe that all health facilities are facing high demand now. Whitecoat’s traffic has increased by at least 25 percent every week since the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Singapore, said Brian Koh, Whitecoat’s founder and CEO. CASIA In an interview. “Our remote testing model helps reduce the risk of transmission. We are also able to provide reliable doctors to patients with symptoms of Covid-19 to get quick help,” he added.
A former corporate attorney, Brian founded Whitecoat in 2017 to provide reliable healthcare at an affordable and affordable price, anytime, anywhere. The idea came from his personal experience in 2016, when he fell ill a few hours before a long flight. “One day I was stuck at work six hours before my flight to South Africa, and I got sick. Fortunately, my sister is a doctor, so she checked me and gave me medicine without much trouble.
From this, Brian and his sister, Natalie Koh, believe that everyone should be able to consult a medical professional and receive care without waiting hours in a medical facility. The siblings decided to build a telehealth app, with Brian running the business as CEO and Natalie serving as a medical consultant.
Although Singapore’s healthcare is relatively advanced, with one of the highest doctor-to-patient ratios in Southeast Asia, Brian believes there is still room for improvement. “When we look at healthcare in general, every country has different needs. In recent years, food and grocery delivery businesses have really taken off, so Singapore is very burnt out by the on-demand culture today, so we want to bring the same convenience to healthcare,” he said.
WhiteCoat facilitates online video consultation with doctors about general medical problems. The platform provides guidance on chronic disease management, sexual health and contraception, travel medications and lab results. Moreover, Whitecoat doctors can give their patients a medical referral letter to see a specialist when necessary. With these services, Whitecoat wants users to feel like they have trusted family doctors at their fingertips.
We believe that video consultation is the safest way to conduct remote consultation that meets the needs of patients and doctors alike. By taking the patient’s perspective, doctors can decide if they need more physical examination, and patients will have more confidence in the results because they can see the right doctors on the platform,” said Bryan.
Telehealth as an efficient tool in health crisis
According to Bryan, Whitecoat is the first startup in Singapore to be accepted into the regulatory sandbox with the Ministry of Health to offer telemedicine services. This means that White Coat’s product and services comply with the security requirements specified by the administrator.
In the year In 2019, the company reached a milestone when it partnered with IIA Singapore to become the insurance company’s exclusive telehealth provider. This partnership is important as we share the same values as AIA. As one of the largest insurers in the country, AIA is always looking to beat trends and be an early adopter of digitally-driven solutions. “Most recently, AIA has offered free Covid-19 coverage to its customers, something no other insurance provider has done,” said Bryan.
Through this partnership, Whitecoat will have access to AIA’s two million users. The two companies are currently developing a digitally integrated platform that will streamline claims processing for telemedicine services. “This is a game changer that brings unprecedented convenience to corporate consumers, because while traditionally corporate consumers can claim their insurance, many find it very difficult to seek reimbursement,” explained Bryan.
Whitecoat has partnered with Grab to streamline its drug delivery service through GrabExpress. After consulting a doctor through the White Coat app, users can get their prescribed medication within 90 minutes, which is less than the current average wait time of three hours.
One of the biggest challenges Brian faced when starting Whitecoat was getting the telehealth model legally recognized by regulators and the general public. With the approval of the Ministry of Health, it is now easier to gain people’s trust, especially in times of crisis.
To address the most common questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak, Whitecoat has compiled a list of frequently asked questions and released documents to educate users on the latest situation. “We also adhere to current industry guidelines and recommendations on the management of Covid-19,” Brian said. Telehealth services help guide patients in the right direction and make them more accessible to those looking for physical care.
The company earns revenues from consultants, prescriptions and delivery fees. In the future, Whitecoat will add more features beyond doctor consultations and introduce new technologies such as wearable tech devices to improve user experience and engagement. Whitecoat is currently in the process of raising funds, which will be completed soon, Bryan said. In addition, the CEO did not reveal more details, but the company is looking at market expansion this year. “Several insurers from other markets have expressed interest in taking us there. But we are not in a hurry; Because we have to prepare by designing services that suit the needs of other markets and comply with local regulations.
This article is part of KrASIA’s “Startup Stories” series, where KrASIA writers talk to founders of tech companies in South and Southeast Asia.