Technology has come a long way advancing through the pandemic during the past years, specifically for Health-Technology.
Techsauce Global Content Editor “Pupae” Chawarat Yongiranon finds out how Health Tech industry has enjoyed prominence of growth in Southeast Asia with Melvin Vu, the Regional CEO of Good Doctor Technology, one of the premier telemedicine providers in the Techsauce Global Podcast.
Based in Singapore as a joint venture between Ping An Good Doctor, Grab, and SoftBank. Since 2019, Good Doctor Technology has been in the pursuit to bring affordable and accessible healthcare service to every household in Southeast Asia. Through providing AI-based healthcare solutions and building a digital health ecosystem, it is currently one of the largest telemedicine providers in SEA, expanding from Indonesia to Thailand with over 15 million members served and growing.
Though despite its spurring growth, as a regional company there’s still many gaps to fill in the puzzle, and one of that is localizing, which that’s where Melvin comes in.
Prior to joining GDT as its Regional CEO, apart being a veteran in logistic and technology provider in Singapore, Melvin has a shared run of medical trauma with his loved ones that make disrupting the healthcare rather personal. When Melvin’s mother was diagnosed with Lung cancer, he noticed that there was a gap between the instant accessibility of data for both patients and doctor that consequently make the overall healthcare overall process tedious.
“There must be a better way of doing healthcare, a better way, where patients in times of need, have someone at the tip of their fingertips at the tip that they can consult quickly have an opinion and then be referred to the correct doctor”
Melvin want is everyone to have easy access to their own data to make informed choices, not only patients but doctor was well. Most timely, his experience in Grab in understanding what customers really desire has led him to join and lead Good Doctor Technology during its expansion phase.
While the pandemic has given unprecedented rise telecommunication company like Zoom, firmly establishing the roots for digital-working culture, it’s different story for GDT as a Telemedicine company where there is intricacies to enter market in Southeast Asia.
One of the great fears of some of the medical stakeholders, instead, they fear that telemedicine will replace them totally on in future. It is really the knowledge gap that we are trying to bridge
For Melvin, there’s a knowledge gap regarding telemedicine and virtual health among the medical stakeholders. It’s one of the major areas that GDT has been addressing, trying to educate the different parties in the ecosystem that telemedicine amplifies the effectiveness of offline healthcare, not actually replacing it.
Melvin shares that one of the ways that have assisted GDT in its implementation in Southeast Asia is its primary model of being “chat-based” and its approach toward localization. As he puts it,
“There are numerous advantages of chat-based consult as well, in a lot of our societies in South and Southeast Asia, chatting, always have this form of closeness. By using a chat-based system, we felt that it will also lower the knowledge gap as well, because it becomes easier to talk to our doctors”
While most people are used to video, in terms of medical consultation, there’s an effectiveness through chat-based diagnosis as Melvin mentioned. One is that it allows for a more friendliness toward chatting with people, especially in Southeast Asia area, where text-chatting are more ingrained into the culture. More or so, using AI also allow GDT to bring it costs down and serve more people in a single time.
Localization also requires an ecosystem of relationships with external healthcare delivery providers and pharmacies in any country GDT is transferred to.
As for localization, telemedicine is a delicate industry with stringent regulations, the company must do its homework and understand the country’s infrastructure and its law prior to entering. Thankfully GDT’s data privacy and protection policies have given it an edge when plugging in with government and partners that understand intricacies of health ecosystem. This has given the company huge advantage when going into different markets.
So far, while the company is still young, its integration has successful in Indonesia and Thailand as the pandemic has brought elevate learning curve toward digital implementation in the medical industry, showing that telemedicine is indeed an integral part of the whole healthcare ecosystem.
Despite the hurdles, the pandemic has really highlighted the bread and the butter of telemedicine. Looking toward into the future, Sy want to focus on preventive care and managing chronic disease. Given the cost of healthcare ballooning and government looking to invest more into preventive care and reducing chronic disease sufferer. Telemedicine will enable both to be achieve efficiently and effectively.
"I think this tool will keep virtual healthcare platform busy, at least for the next five years".
In his final remarks with us, Mevlin shared his advice for those who wish to enter the Health Tech Industry. For him, it is essential to be wholeheartedly passionate about health care. "So, if you're passionate about it, and you think that something that you want to be involved and change, and really improve it, then I think it is the industry for you to pursue further"
For those who are interested working in the area that encompasses telemedicine or want to get in touch with Good Doctor Technology, he'd happily indulge in providing more information through his colleague in Thailand.