Indonesia-based startup Dokter Gratis wants to help users by offering a platform for doctors to give medical advice online through mobile devices.
After our own Indonesia Satellite Winner this year TanyaDok and another health-related startup MeetDoctor got into our radar, a new mobile platform that promotes “m-health 2.0″ has launched. Dokter Gratis (literally “Free Doctor” in English) provides a platform for live chat between patients and Indonesian general practicioners. The service is accessible through apps for Android, iOS and BlackBerry.
The platform aims to solve issues brought about by geographical and psychological factors, such as medical accessibility, cost of services, and — as Dokter Gratis says — fear to meet doctors directly, which often pushes patients to “tend to defer visits to the doctors.” Topics that Dokter Gratis will cover include general health, pediatrics, OB GYN, diabetes, as well as other health concerns.
The startup is the mobile arm of health-based social media platform Blabladoctor, which has an online community from a number of countries. The startup capitalizes on the rise of mobile devices and telecommunication networks throughout the country. Based on the local operators’ data, they account for around 230 million mobile subscribers.
The e-healthcare site is developed by mobile app development company Warung Kreasi Indonesia in partnership with Singaporean healthcare and tech firm Health2i Pte Ltd. In addition to that, TAUZIA Hotel Management, widely-known for its HarrisHotels, has also offered this service to its guests. Therefore, users can access the health-related services from three sites: Dokter Gratis, Blabladoctor, and HarrisHotels.
Back to the app itself, users can expect to save time by making an appointment to communicate with a healthcare provider and by being able to chat about health topics and query for medical advice. In addition to that, physicians can also give advice if they determine early symptoms of medical conditions. Doctors will be available weekdays from 8 A.M. to 10 P.M. and weekends from 6 P.M. to 10 P.M.
One limitation in this service is that it might not have a high rate of access from rural areas. This is due to the fact that more than 70 percent of mobile devices sold in Indonesia are feature phones, and a big part of smartphone and data usage are from the metropolitan areas.
Likewise, like any similar service, Dokter Gratis acts as a complementary service to an actual face-to-face consultation, which is still necessary when a patient needs diagnosis and prescription. But the benefit here is that doctors get exposure in building and enhancing their credentials by “going public” and reaching out to those who are in need of their services. It can be noted that doctors’ code of professional ethics prevent them from directly advertising their services, so social media, in this case, is a good way to reach out.