We launched our instant call feature in Singapore one month ago. Instant call allows anyone to consult a GP without leaving home. There's been a lot of interest and we've received many questions! The intention of this blog post is to answer some of the most common questions about telemedicine services and virtual care in Singapore that you've thrown our way.
"How to consult doctor?"All you have to do is create a free account and then each time that you want to talk with a Singapore doctor you just pay $20. You will then quickly connect with the doctor via a video call from your mobile phone, computer, or any web-enabled device. We've partnered with a prominent healthcare group in Singapore in order to ensure you always have access to a doctor. The doctors will provide you with medical advice, and depending on your condition, they may also be able to write you a signed medical certificate (MC) to get you the time you need to rest and recover. As of February 2018 the doctors are also able to issue you an online prescription that results in any medication they prescribe being delivered right to your door.
"Diagnosis can do over video call?"You can find a doctor wherever you are! Visiting a doctor in-person versus consulting one over telemedicine is usually not very different, for neither the patient nor the doctor. After all, a substantial amount of diagnoses made by Singapore licensed physicians result solely from the consideration of the patient’s health history and their account of the symptoms they report during their consultation. An experienced licensed doctor is typically quickly able to determine the severity of your condition just from speaking with you: whether that be in person or through a video consultation. A physical examination is usually not required for most common and basic acute conditions. With this in mind, it seems reasonable to have your preliminary consultation at home, or wherever you are. If the online doctor thinks your condition warrants further investigation and care, they can then direct you to other services, as they would have done anyway had you consulted a GP in person. If you need help with knowing when to consult a doctor online, check this and this out. Is this legal/legitimate?Yes. RingMD has entered into a regulatory sandbox with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to prepare for telemedicine licensing under the upcoming Healthcare Services Act (HCSA) in 2020 and help the MOH better understand the efficacy of telemedicine. As a Singaporean company, we are humbled by the opportunity to work with our government to innovate within the healthcare landscape.
This whole process is identical to the in-person consultations you are used to. The doctors are trained to practise telemedicine and are licensed by the Singapore Medical Council. Doctors are only allowed to issue MCs and medication when they believe the patient is sick, and is therefore in need of treatment. These ethical guidelines are enforced by the Singapore Medical Council– applicable to all doctors whether they perform their consultation in-person or online.
"Medication how?"Obviously, medicine can help expedite your recovery process, but it is not always necessary or advised. That being said, we want you to have as many care options as possible. This is why we offer medication delivery to further improve the quality and convenience of your healthcare. You won’t even have to leave your home to recover from a common cold or flu, or another self-limiting acute condition. That seems to make a lot of sense... How does the medication delivery work?
- If appropriate, the doctor writes you a prescription as a result of your consultation.
- You review the prescription and agree to additional costs of the medication and delivery fee.
- A courier delivers the prescription medication directly to your door within a few hours.
"Chronic conditions how?"There is a lot of technology being developed around the globe aimed at remotely managing chronic diseases. However, this technology is still in its infancy and its efficacy is still being questioned. Telemedicine technology for managing chronic conditions seems to mostly come in the form of wearable devices that will constantly monitor patients' vitals and other information pertaining to their specific disease. Preliminary results do suggest that these sorts of devices can be very helpful in generating positive health outcomes, but at the moment it still does not have the seal of approval from major health organizations. Hopefully this will change soon.
"Legal in Singapore or not?"Yes.Compared to other countries, Singapore’s MOH has made great efforts to guide companies contributing to virtual care. The National Telemedicine Guidelines (NTG) is a detailed guide that helps service providers ensure the safety, quality, and propriety of their services. Due to the evolving needs of an aging population and as part of the government’s smart nation initiative, the MOH is adopting a supportive stance towards online consultation technologies.Additionally, all doctors in Singapore must adhere to strict ethical and professional standards in order to be licensed by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC). The combination of these requirements prevents online consultation providers from offering services that do not comply with the standards set forth by the SMC.
"Where to start?"
All you have to have to do is click here, or the button below, to speak to a doctor online. Then there are 3 simple steps. You'll have signed up and seen a doctor in a matter of minutes. For more help with knowing when to see a doctor remotely, click here.
Please keep the conversation going! Thousands of Singaporeans have been sharing their opinions with us. The engagement on social media and in-person has been great so far, but we want to help you live even healthier lives. A big part of that is hearing your concerns. Through the comments section or our social media channels, tell us what would help you or what we can do better. Get your friends involved so they can do the same. Together we can make Singapore a healthier and happier place.
We're also focusing on increasing access to mental healthcare. If you're thinking "I need a therapist near me" but don't know where to start, try the RingMD therapist directory. We will help you find the right therapist for YOU!