We’re using technology like mobile apps and geolocation to connect doctors to the patients closest to them. That gives doctors more flexibility and helps patients access timely medical care. This can make healthcare more convenient, accessible, and in time, aﬀordable.
Dr. Shravan Verma, Founder and CEO, Speedoc
How does the speedoc app work?
The app is a doctor-on-demand service. Patients key in their location in the app, in addition to any symptoms. They can also call a doctor for a family member, which is useful for people who can’t always be around to take care of a child or parent. They will receive a price upfront, and the request will go out to the nearest doctor, or one that has seen the patient before to facilitate the continuation of care.
How does this fit in with Singapore’s push toward a smart nation and city?
The whole point of the smart nation initiative is to use technology to improve the lives of people. I think that’s what we are doing with our focus on digital health. Speedoc’s goal is to reduce the downtime in the system and allocate healthcare resources more efficiently.
We’re using technology like mobile apps and geolocation to connect doctors to the patients closest to them. That gives doctors more flexibility and helps patients access timely medical care. This can make healthcare more convenient, accessible, and in time, affordable. In future, we will be looking at using data in smarter ways, including for disease prevention and prediction. Better machine learning algorithms will also be implemented. For example, if you Upon approval put in a request for a child, the pediatricians nearby will be notified first.
At the same time, we will have access to data that may shine a light on trends, such as a dengue outbreak or some cluster of symptoms in a location. This lets us perform location-based analysis and determine if there is a localized epidemic of some sort.
How has technology shaped the healthcare sector over the years?
There has been a big push toward digital health. There have been a lot of changes in the healthcare sector and we’ve seen big initiatives from major players like Apple, Google, and Samsung in the area of healthcare innovation.
Technology enables a greater degree of connectivity and more engagement from patients. For example, wearable devices let people monitor their own heart rate. In time, that may develop and allow people to track more metrics and better understand their health.
This data can eventually go toward preventing and predicting disease in the community.
Why do you think there is a need for such digital initiatives and services?
While I was working in a public hospital, I saw that a lot of the patients could actually be treated at home. There was no need for them to come all the way to the hospital and wait three to four hours for a doctor. It doesn’t make sense for hospital A&E departments to be crowded by non-critical cases that only add to the backlog of patients.
It’s important to enable a more efficient distribution of healthcare resources. For example, more patients would get quicker access to care if surplus doctors could go to where they’re most needed. We want to streamline Singapore’s healthcare landscape by reducing the number of A&E visits and helping more people get primary medical care, regardless of time and location.
Furthermore, the increased flexibility and loosening of manpower resources will free up public hospitals to focus on what they’re needed for, which is addressing life-threatening conditions and other critical cases. As Singapore’s population ages, the growing number of elderly could benefit from easier access to care in a home or community setting.
What else is on the horizon in terms of innovation for the healthcare sector?
Our app has plans to tap into data from wearables. As more vital signs are recorded by wearable devices, they will be integrated into our app and provide our doctors with better information to make a clinical decision.
At the same time, we want to come up with optimal ways to deliver mobile medicine. This could include mobile X-rays, CT scans, and even MRIs. This would cut down the travel and diagnostics time as a patient would no longer need to go to a public hospital and join the queue, at least not at first. A mobile CT scan could also enable a stroke patient to more quickly receive the necessary care.
By Koh Wanzi Photography Phyllicia Wang