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When Your Doctor is Only a Click Away

In the current times, life expectancy is increasing year by year. According to the World Health Organization, the World Life Expectancy has risen to a five-year span between 2000 to 2015. Japan is leading with an average life expectancy of 83.68 years. This condition has resulted in the increase of the elderly population in the world. This will result in the rise of new challenges in the world, particularly in the areas of health care, treatment of diseases, and disease prevention.

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to receive the best sort of health care. Sometimes, geographical distance is an obstacle in providing medical care especially to people who live in rural areas. Here is where the growth of technology is playing a big role to present a solution to this problem. Since the mid-1990s, the University of Medical Texas Branch (UTMB Health) has developed the use of telecommunications technology for the purpose of improving health care delivery to rural and underserved populations of Texas. The reason why they developed the use of telecommunications (later renamed to telemedicine) technology for better healthcare delivery is due to  several benefits such as:

  • improved access to specialists
  • increased patient satisfaction with medical care received
  • improved clinical outcomes
  • reduced utilization of emergency rooms
  • reduced financial costs

Because of these benefits, telemedicine is becoming the go-to solution to help people access quick and precise medical care.

Recently, the development of telemedicine has been increasing rapidly. Just like what is happening to technology in general, where jobs are increasingly being given to robots, telemedicine has now also benefited from using robots, or more specifically a chatbot, as customers’ personal health care assistants. The chatbot is available online 24/7 and has resources provided by a health plan or caregiver. Once the user has typed the description of his or her symptoms, instantly, they will receive an answer about what is happening to their bodies.

Why would we need chatbots as our personal health care assistants when our doctor’s office is just only a few steps away from home? Perhaps, the following analogy may explain why. Imagine a young mother with a two-week-old baby who has very little experience in caring for babies. She may be harboring tons of questions about her baby: What is the temperature for a baby that requires intervention? What is the ideal temperature for the baby’s bath? How much sleep is enough?

Chatbots are simply practical. There are so many simple questions related to health, like the ones above, which could be solved through a one-time visit to a doctor’s office but not everyone has a time or wants to meet a doctor, to ask these questions.  They think that visiting the doctor is only for those who are really sick. A doctor may not answer their seemingly trivial questions. One can always Google their questions on the Internet but a possible challenge is that it provides too many sources. Most patients, most of the time a layperson, may not always know how to select a good reference to solve their queries. The Internet is also full of doubtful information and misleading sites which can cause a lot of confusion and misinformation.

Because of this need, telemedicine and chatbots have increasingly become adopted in many countries. Many major hospitals, usually located in capital cities, work together with smaller hospitals in rural areas using telemedicine to provide better handling and service to patients. This can help to reduce the number of patient referrals from primary care doctors to specialists in medical centers.

Asia is increasingly adopting telemedicine across the continent. In China, Baidu, the largest search engine in China, introduced Melody in 2016. Melody is an AI-powered conversational bot designed to provide relevant information to doctors to assist with recommendations and treatment options. It comes built into the company’s iOS and Android Baidu Doctor app, which launched in China in 2015. Baidu Doctor allows users to contact local doctors, book appointments and ask questions, with the chatbot intended to speed up this process. Telemedicine, especially using of chatbots, is becoming a rising trend in helping patients to get information about their medical queries.

Southeast Asia, as it turns out, has also begun using telemedicine and chatbots in medical care recently. Some doctors in Singapore have initiated telemedicine between doctors and patients via video calls. Stroke patients in Singapore, for example, are able to receive physiotherapy treatment by using a Telerehab app. Just by using a tablet, patients can be treated by their therapists via video call which makes it easier for patients to get treatment without having to leave home.

Similarly, in Indonesia, Halodoc has made its name in the telemedicine scene. The app is available for Android and iOS users and offers a full range of medical services: online consultations, medicine delivery, on-demand lab tests, a hospital and doctor directory, as well as an appointment scheduler. The app also works with Go-Jek’s motorcycle delivery to send out medicines, and Go-Jek also has its own medicine delivery feature, Go-Med, which is linked with HaloDoc.

So what makes HaloDoc different from other online health consultation apps? HaloDoc has a distinct online platform for online consultation services that is WebRTC based, proudly provided by Qiscus, particularly for its live video and chat technology. This platform allows patients to meet up with their doctors at any given time for direct access and live interactions in the fastest, most accurate and safest way.

Our ultimate goal is to improve patient care with the best treatment and services in an effective way to maintain people’s health.

Are you interested in embedding chatbot technology in your business? Let us help you leverage on chatbots for your business and communities. Leave us a note at [email protected] to see how you can contribute to your community with chatbot technology!

 

 

This article was originally written by Zulqaidandy Rachman. You can reach him through his LinkedIn account here!

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