How to Be a Responsible Health-tech Company in an Era of Disruption

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the team at Speedoc, October 31, 2019

It has been a year since Speedoc began working closely with healthcare regulators across the region, including Singapore and Malaysia. As a pioneering health-tech company focusing on providing mobile medicine services, ensuring patient safety is our topmost priority. This is why we joined Singapore’s Ministry of Health regulatory sandbox last September and Malaysia’s Digital Health initiative this June.

This close partnership between Speedoc and the regulators benefits all stakeholders, including our patients. As we are pioneering a new model of healthcare provision, we hold the responsibility, as well as the privilege, of being first movers in offering new and novel forms of medical services. Thus, the onus is on us to ensure that the procedures we offer are held to the highest standards in the industry.

Participating in these sandboxes requires committing to heavy regulation and regular audits. For instance, our team has to declare the number of occurrences that opioids are prescribed, the number of times patients are seen and also report events such as patient complaints. As you can imagine, this requires investing time and manpower to submit documents for audit. However, this is vital in driving the evolution of the med-tech industry for the greater good and we do this to ensure we are doing things the correct way and that quality medicine is being practiced.

We value this privilege of helping patients and their families manage their most valuable resources – time and money. Our 24/7 doctors-on-demand service helps families save precious time by bypassing long waits at the clinic and hospital and offer cost savings over hospitalisation fees which can run to hundreds of thousands of dollars. On a more personal level, our Speedoc team can provide much-needed support when patients have to make personal decisions, such as the choice to pass away in the privacy of their own homes in the presence of their family members and closest friends.

Our tech capabilities also allow us to offer invaluable patient care services on multiple fronts, such as providing an in-app chat function which makes it convenient and effortless to provide continuous care. Plus, we get to push the boundaries of healthcare technology. For instance, we are exploring ideas like mobile x-rays and other facets of medical care such as remote monitoring that can be enabled by existing technology.

Being at the forefront of the health-tech revolution makes it invaluable for Speedoc to have open channels of communication with regulators. It is known that laypeople sometimes view healthcare with skepticism – this is an unfortunate byproduct of fast-rising healthcare price inflation. With our partnerships, we aim to inspire confidence that there are individuals and companies who care deeply.

I am also aware that healthcare often happens within a vacuum. Patients do not wish to try new models of medical care when they are ill because they prefer to stick with what they know. This is why I am committed to getting that regulatory “stamp of approval” as it goes a long way in communicating to the public the level of top-notch care that Speedoc is capable of providing.

Finally, we can confidently spearhead empathy-led creation and positive disruption. This is what I mean – one of the problems with healthcare innovators is that everyone is obsessed with making perfect products. So many a time, market research, price points and use cases are not properly considered in the pursuit of designing “medical grade” products or services. However, the criteria that healthy people can sometimes differ from what an ill person needs to get better as quickly as possible. This is why healthcare innovators must be patient-centric and to place the patient-user experience in the centre of their design process. A product or service need not be perfect as long as it can help to heal a patient. This is where working with governments is essential. If an innovation is good enough for the regulators and benefits patients, then it is good enough for us!

This post was written by Dr. Shravan Verma, MD, Founder & CEO of Speedoc.

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