Malaysia, as we know it, is a breeding ground of hundreds if not thousands of startups today, supported by its modern, tech-enabled infrastructure and strategic location. Among many tech sectors it boasts, Malaysian healthtech has seen quite a productive year so far, with the latest funding deal was secured by Naluri, the digital therapeutic platform.
According to The Malaysian Health Care System: A Review by David Quek, Malaysia has a “dual-tiered system of healthcare services: a government-led and funded public sector, and a thriving private sector creating a dichotomous yet synergistic public-private model”. However, the report stated, there is no unified system of universal access to healthcare for every citizen.
The heavily subsidised public sector caters to the bulk of the population (about 65 per cent) but is served by just 45 per cent of all registered doctors, with even fewer specialists (25-30 per cent). The private sector also has grown tremendously over the past 25 years.
The report further noted that this two-tiered system has significantly different goals that can be unsustainable in the longer term.
The way forward, it suggested, is to foster closer partnership, collaboration, and sharing of services and personnel with an integrated system of medical information and expertise access. To achieve so, Malaysia’s healthtech startup has to aim for a more cost-effective system and a portable system of reimbursement, exactly what these startups are working on:
BookDoc has a presence in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, where it teamed up with Siloam Hospital to open way to the country, Hong Kong, and Thailand offering a platform that connects patients to healthcare as well as gives incentives through BookDoc Activ, where users can earn rewards and discounts from retail partners and service providers for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
BookDoc’s ecosystem allows users to search and book healthcare professionals anytime and anywhere, and integrates with navigation (Google Map, Waze), transport (Grab, Uber, AirAsia), accommodation (Agoda, Airbnb), and recommended restaurants & attractions (TripAdvisor) for more efficient healthcare appointments.
BookDoc was founded by Dato’ Chevy Beh with the goal of improving the timeliness of diagnosis and helping patients to find appropriate care.
In 2018, the company received funding from Bruneian royalty.
Freshly-funded, Naluri took a different approach to conquer chronic disease by focussing on patient’s mental health. It offers a digital therapeutic service that is combined with behavioural science, data science, and digital design.
Naluri, which is founded by a former iFlix Malaysia CEO Azran Osman-Rani, said the healthcare concept it offers is aimed at “building mental resilience needed to achieve goals and overcome life’s challenges that stand in the patient’s way”.
Naluri provides self-serve modules/lessons, tracking through connected weighing scale, food journal, and thought journal and peer group support. It also gives users regular feedback and coaching and access to professional health coaches, dieticians, executive coaches, fitness coaches, medical advisors, and pharmacists.
It then presents the users with a machine-learning and Natural Language Processing-based results that predict health outcomes of users and increase the productivity of coaches.
REMEDi offers its users a paperless, responsive system that connects patients with healthcare professionals and services, from doctor visit to prescription management, and gives access to medical history securely.
Patients can connect to selected records online to review historical and current results securely. This allows patients to have an active say in taking care of their health together with the health professionals that treat the patients.
ClicknCare was founded based as an initiative of Simple Motion Sdn Bhd to create a healthcare platform for migrants around the world. It aims to make it easy for any migrant in any country to find local doctors that are not restricted by barriers, at a reasonable cost.
ClicknCare was founded by Abu Hasnat Mohammad Sultanur Reza, using a telemedicine approach called ClickTalk, that allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients using telecommunications technology. ClickDoc, on the other hand, are a contact pool of registered doctors in Malaysia with Bangla-speaking operator.
Check Up Asia
Check Up Asia recently made news after signing a partnership agreement with Takaful Malaysia to promote a healthy lifestyle, as well as related services and solutions, for the insurance giant’s Employee Benefits (“EB”) customers. Check Up Asia is best known for its product CHECKUP PLUS, that is aimed towards helping individuals subscribe to a healthier lifestyle to manage and control heart disease risk factors.
The programme includes consultation with a doctor of users’ choice, the use of the Ourcheckup Platform and Mobile Apps, and health data collection devices.
DoctorOnCall claimed to be the first and currently the largest online doctor consultation platform in Malaysia. It offers healthcare services via chat, phone, and video calls.
Besides consultation, the company also provides medical second opinion and medicine delivery.
DoctorOnCall works by connecting patients to registered doctors simply with registering to write symptoms. Then, patients will be able to speak to a doctor online and get needed treatments and answers, all the way until a prescription is ready and medication is being delivered to the patient.
HomeGP is an online platform that connects patients to house call healthcare practitioners such as doctors, nurses, and caregivers.
Patients simply book an appointment with a smartphone or web device. After the booking is confirmed, the selected medical service provider will arrive within an hour to tend in the comfort of the patient’s home.
To date, HomeGP claimed that it has over 300 on-demand healthcare practitioners.
HypoBand is healthtech product that is designed to alert caregivers when the life of a diabetic patient is in danger. If a wearer is having a cold sweat or hypoglycemia, a distress call is made on auto to prevent a hypoglycemic attack, that usually happens when the person with diabetes is asleep and unaware.
The cold sweat detection is done by inbuilt sensors monitoring the patient’s temperature and sweat levels using the HypoBand. A panic button also can be triggered in case of emergency.
According to the World Health Organization, in Malaysia alone, one out of 8 adults has diabetes and 50 per cent of them do not even know that they have diabetes.
The Hypoband itself is integrated with the Android-based app that makes auto calls and sends out pre-written text messages (SMS) to caregivers, doctors, or hospitals during an emergency hypoglycemic attack.
It also has a local alarm mode that can alert nearby caregivers to assist the patient.
PurelyB is a health and wellness platform that offers customised health programmes, curated content, and a platform to connect with a like-minded community.
The company was started in 2015 by duo Raja Jesrina Arshad and Stephanie Looi as a healthy food recipe and directory platform. It has expanded to include an online marketplace that sells healthy lifestyle products in an English and Chinese platform.
HealthMetrics acts as a personal assistant to manage employees’ health benefits. It offers transparent healthcare pricing as well as predictive analytics to help companies budget and manage the administrative work under one platform, eliminating the use of Excel or even receipts traces.
With HealthMetrics, all data are converted into analytics for the users to make business decisions.
HealthMetrics became the first-ever Malaysian startup to join Google Launchpad Accelerator in 2017. The company got a chance to go to Google’s headquarter in Mountain View to take part in intensive mentoring from the Google team and experts from top technology companies and venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. In 2018, it received US$1 million funding from Spiral Ventures, Cradle, and RHL Ventures.
These are the 10 disruptive, emerging healthtech from Malaysia, among other thirty-something healthtech startups that are reported to be operating in the country. With many innovations ahead that covers a multifaceted issue in health, Malaysia is on its way to transforming the fragmented healthcare system not only in the country but potentially in neighbouring Southeast Asia countries as well.