Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Now, what happens when you’re at home and you’re feeling under the weather, but leaving home to see your neighbourhood GP seems too difficult, or worse – if you suspect that your symptoms are COVID-related?
We try out telemedicine apps that you can download on your phone to consult a doctor from the comfort of your bed.
Just a note – in case you’re worried if these apps are reliable, these are approved by MOH before they can be released on the app store.
So the first app is the WhiteCoat app. The landing page gives you two options to video consult for yourself or for a child.
Once you’ve made that selection, you can choose which doctor you would like to consult and they will connect you to your chosen doctor. Once connected, the doctor will guide you through the consultation all the way to prescription. Medicine delivery is complimentary, so you never have to leave home through this whole process!
The doctor can also issue electronic MCs, and there is a profile tab on the app where you can access your medical records and personal details.
Like Whitecoat, Doctor Anywhere is a similar end to end medical service. Whitecoat specialises in chronic disease management, but Doctor Anywhere has a special service for newborns and medical aesthetics, options which you can choose from their homepage.
The landing page is pretty minimal, which is perfect for those who get overwhelmed by technology and too much information. It also has a rewards and point program when you pay using their in-app wallet for their marketplace.
Similar to the first two, MyDoc app is another end to end service that provides consultation, diagnosis and medicine prescription. It’s a little different because it connects a network of doctors and healthcare groups which you can choose from on the homepage.
For example, this app has tied up with Guardian pharmacy so you can consult a pharmacist at any time of the day, for free! This app uses an in-app messaging service which connects to a bot, and it directs users to the right personnel based on their requests.
So the bot has linked us with a pharmacist, and we’ll have to wait for the pharmacist to get back to us.
If you want to do a video consultation, you just need to choose a different healthcare group. So now I’m joining the COVID-19 clinic. Under the service bar, I can consult a doctor. That’s pretty handy if I’m concerned about any symptoms that I have.
At the end of your consultation, you can be issued an electronic MC which will appear in your profile, along with case notes.
And if you can claim the medical consultation from insurance, they have an automated service that will process it for you.
Now I’m going to try app number four – HiDoc. Of all the platforms, only HiDoc offers consultations with a specialist with a price point of S$120 for the first consult.
The landing page gives you four different options. You can choose to e-consult, book a clinic visit, read health articles on their app or purchase products or services online.
Now as I scroll through the options, the biggest difference between HiDoc and the rest of the apps is that you can purchase services like health screening packages or book appointment with specialists for an additional rate.
If you want to e-consult, unlike the other apps, HiDoc allows you to choose between GPs or a range of specialists.
The last app, Doctor World, offers round the clock video consultations with reputed health care partners like Raffles Medical for a 15-minute duration. There might be additional charges if it goes over the 15-minute mark, and is the cheapest of the five, at S$18.
The landing page might look a little cluttered, but that’s because it offers other services on top of teleconsultations.
So on the first row, you can look up specialists or select a range of home care services like hiring a private ambulance or arrange for home nursing service or a house call from a doctor. What we like about it is each service tells you the cost before you move on to the next step. There is also a health store with a large range of products, from vaccinations, genetic tests and TCM.
And on the next row, there’s a symptom checker which is interesting. So say someone has been experiencing a cough for the last few days.
Let’s say it’s a cough that’s less than three weeks, no sore throat. Dry cough, no coughing attacks. No fever, itching throat, no runny nose or congestions. The list is thorough but that’s the whole point of a symptom checker. No aches, no wheezing, no trouble breathing.
And there’s the diagnosis. It could be a common cold, allergic rhinitis or food allergy. At the end of the page, I can book an appointment or video call a doctor. Very convenient.
They also have health articles and a segment where you can buy health insurance. This app is really a one-stop shop.
So here’s a breakdown on the five apps that we just looked at. Consultation with a GP can cost anywhere between S$18 – S$50, depending on the time of day you’re consulting the doctor.
With the current situation, telemedicine certainly is convenient, especially if clinics are overwhelmed with patients.
Just bear in mind that there is a limitation to technology and are best utilised for non-emergencies, for obvious reasons.