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Expanding digital healthcare in Malaysia

Malaysia’s biggest digital healthcare platform is partnering with two major insurance companies to expand access to digital healthcare as COVID-19 cases rise. The platform was founded in 2016 and has become the country’s leading digital health platform with 2 million people using its services, which include virtual consultations, online pharmacy, medication delivery, and specialist booking services.

Two Malaysia-based insurance companies are now partnering with the platform to include telemedicine as an optional benefit in their suite of healthcare products. With this partnership, their customers will be able to seek medical advice with a general practitioner and purchase medication through prescription online with free delivery. Customers are able to book an appointment with a specialist for online or in-clinic consultation, and also book a slot for home screening such as COVID-19 test and health screening, among others.

Malaysia’s healthcare sector has been undergoing a digital transformation since 2016 when the Malaysian arm of an American multinational technology company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CREST (Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science & Technology) to develop a digital health hub.

In 2017, the Ministry of Health launched the Malaysian Health Data Warehouse to gather data from all government and private healthcare facilities in the country. In 2020, the digital healthcare platform signed an MoU with a telecommunications firm, and the company has also formed partnerships with various other insurance firms and hospitals.

The Co-Founder and Director of the digital healthcare platform stated that Malaysia is 5 to 10 years behind in telemedicine as compared to countries like the United States, India and China, but the company is working closely with various stakeholders to close that gap and become a leader in digital healthcare.

The company puts the safety and security of its users first by collaborating with hospitals and medical professionals including doctors and pharmacists, to ensure adherence to strict Standard Operating Procedures and to provide the highest standard of care possible, it was noted.

The CEO of one of the partnering insurance firms stated that accelerating the adoption of digital health cards will enhance healthcare accessibility amongst the underserved communities especially in areas where healthcare facilities are lacking. With this telemedicine service, the company can provide immediate and seamless healthcare benefits to meet customers’ needs beyond hospitalisation.

According to another article, digital health as a business model is shifting the paradigm within the healthcare industry.  Medical institutions play a major role in both the social and economic vitality of the community they are in and have an increased role to sustain themselves while giving their patients top-notch medical services.

For them to continuously stay in touch with the rapid growth of technology, serving patients and answering to their stakeholders, hospitals are jumping on the bandwagon in offering Telehealth in their quest to serve their patients better by ensuring access to medical care at all times.

According to recent market research, every year, 17.9 million and 9.6 million people die of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and cancer, respectively, as per the World Health Organization (WHO). Additionally, more than 422 million people around the world have diabetes. The rising incidence of these and other lifestyle-associated and chronic diseases will propel the global telemedicine market to $144.2 billion by 2030 from $27.8 billion in 2019, at a 15.8% CAGR during 2020–2030, according to P&S Intelligence.

The telemedicine market has been positively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic because people have been advised not to step out of the house, except when important. Moreover, to contain the spread of the disease, most of the outpatient departments (OPDs) and clinics have been shut down. As a result, the volume of online consultation and the need for sharing patient data over the internet have increased.

In the near future, the fastest telemedicine market growth will be witnessed by the tele home bifurcation, on the basis of type. Tele home services offer numerous advantages, such as a shorter stay at the hospital, easy communication with doctors, and faster and more-frequent check-ups. Tele homecare is dispensed with the help of telephone reminder systems, wireless personal emergency response systems, web-based systems, video conferences, and medication reminders.

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