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PolyU Start-up Launches Free Video Medical Consultation Platform

Image Credits: PolyU, Press Release

With reports of a strong fifth wave of the pandemic, a start-up nurtured by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is providing a free video medical consultation service on its latest online healthcare platform for 3,000 COVID-19 patients.

The start-up was founded in 2021 by two PolyU alumni. Alex Cheuk Ka-hou is a graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2019 and Stephen Tsoi Kwok-chun is a graduate of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 2018.

The service is supported by a donation of HK$800,000 from The Y.Elites Association and the Hong Kong Youth Development Alliance, which aims to utilise technology and new tech-enabled solutions to help combat the pandemic.

The consultations will be done in two phases. The first phase, already complete, was targeted at low-income families. The next second phase will help the elderly and those living in nursing homes. The initiative offers necessary medical support for free via video consultation to symptomatic COVID-19 patients. By doing the interaction online, the initiative can ease the load that the medical system is under while simultaneously showcasing how innovative medical technology can be deployed in the field.

The start-up works closely with over 300 private medical practitioners in the country in order to become an online platform for medical and healthcare services. Once registered, a person can choose a doctor, schedule an appointment and get a video medical consultation remotely. Any necessary medication can be dispatched to a person’s home.

The start-up’s platform facilitates a more efficient and safer method of consultation for doctors. The remote system means that there is less chance of the practitioner getting infected as there is no face-to-face interaction. Further, it eliminates any spread of the virus as people travel to or from a clinic or hospital.

PolyU is committed to nurturing innovation and technology talents who embrace entrepreneurship to create a positive impact on industry and society underpinned by the research excellence of the University. The two alumni reflect a spirit of innovation and concern that PolyU espouses.

The PolyU Launchpad Fund is a scheme to support the acceleration of technology start-ups founded by PolyU students, alumni and professors. As one of the start-ups receiving funding from the scheme this year, the start-up will further increase the efficiency of its online consultation platform and expand its development in the Greater Bay Area.

With annual funding support amounted to HK$8 million from ITC under Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities (TSSSU), the TLF Scheme aims to accelerate the growth of early-stage technology start-ups founded by PolyU students, graduates and professors, offering maximum matching fund up to HK$1.5 million for start-ups with PolyU or other innovative technology.

As the demand for smart devices such as smartphones and laptops is expected to promote the online medical consultation segment. The pandemic has shown that physical medical infrastructure is inadequate during critical events.  Moreover, a rising population has outgrown available clinics, care facilities and hospitals.

In this context, technology-enabled solutions models that provide better and wider access to patients faster will be a catalyst to fuel the market growth. Additionally, practitioners are joining healthcare and consultative platforms or creating their own virtual tools/portals, encouraging online consultations.

Downloads and use of mobile-based health applications have seen a significant increase over the last five years and this is expected to continue to grow the online consultation segment ahead. Reports indicate that the global online doctor consultation market is predicted to increase at a CAGR of 7.6% during 2019–2026.

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