In May 2017, the Malaysian police busted a fake medical certificate (MC) racket and arrested four people. Investigations revealed that the syndicate, which sold fake MC for RM25 each to those working at government departments and the private sectors in Johor Bahru and Singapore, had been active for a year.
Forging of MCs is an issue many companies are grappling with, not just in Malaysia but globally. As per an estimate, annually over US$2.9 billion cost in hefty overtime payments to workers forced to take on their “sick” colleagues’ shift.
How do employees forge their MC? They call the HR executive of their employer to inform that they will be on MC today. But employees visit the hospital/clinic only later in the evening to get their fake MC done. This usually happens during long holiday weekend, as they intend to spend an extra day of holiday with fake MCs.
As of now, there is no effective mechanism to verify the claims made by an employee.
A team of four entrepreneurs in Malaysia have come up with a solution to address this problem. MeDKAD, as it is called, offers an automation system to help companies manage the medical benefits of their employees in real time.
“Since MeDKAD is in real-time, the system sends alerts to HR when their employees visit our panels (partner hospitals, clinics, etc.). So, if an employee calls his office to say he/she is on an MC, the HR executive will be able to validate the claims immediately, and our system will notify the HR whether or not our panel has issued an MC to him or her,” Ahmad Azlan, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of the Selangor-based startup, told e27.
“Our system also triggers an alert if there are any irregularities in the clinic visit by an employee, say, for example, when he/she makes a visit to another clinic on the same day. Our team will then intervene and call the employee to know the reason for the second visit,” he adds.
MeDKAD was established in 2016 by Azlan, Ezuan Yaacob (CEO), Abdul Malik (CFO) and Fareez Idham (COO). Ezuan, Azlan and Malik have immense experience working with government-linked companies and were frequent users of their company’s medical benefits which were managed by a Third-Party Administrator (TPA). Idham previously worked for a TPA company and was in charge of its medical benefits in-house.
The MeDKAD app was launched in September 2017, but went live only in January 2018.
How the app works
The employees need to download MeDKAD’s mobile app (available on iOS and Android). They can then generate a QR code for verification during their visits to a MeDKAD panel. Once their credentials are verified by the panels using MeDKAD’s web application, the employees will be able to proceed with the consultation and will receive their medicines as prescribed. No payment is required.
In the beginning, MeDKAD found it hard to convince clinics and hospitals to become its partners. Gradually, they managed to secure clinics and made sure that disbursements were done within five business days.
“Words traveled fast and we continued to bag more partners. Our early adopters recommended our service to new people and we started to grow. Thanks to our hard work, we also got recognised as a registered Managed Care Organisation (MCO) by the Malaysian Ministry of Health,” he said.
Currently, MeDKAD has 80 clients with over 10,000 users. It has 1,000 clinics, 52 hospitals, 184 optical centres, and 74 dentals in its network across Malaysia.
MeDKAD charges a commission from companies for each visit by their employees to its panels.
According to Azlan, MeDKAD has just scratched the surface in Malaysia in terms of TPA market, which is valued at RM160 million by Ekuinas.
Going forward, MeDKAD wants to secure clients with 5-digit user base (partners with staff strength of 10,000-plus).
In December 2016, MeDKAD secured RM150,000 in grants from Cradle’s CIP Catalyst programme. In May 2017, it received another RM500,000 grant from SUPERB TERAJU. A year later, MeDKAD raised RM300,000 from angels for 10 per cent equity and another RM200,000 in commercialisation grant from HIP6, an SME corporate programme under Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia.
The venture is currently in the process of closing its seed round by April 2019 with a strategic corporate investors. “We are also considering to raise Series A by Q4 2019 for our regional expansion,” he added.