This article was originally published on 12 June 2020 and updated on 12 October to reflect the latest changes. Additional reporting by Angela Koo.
From making the way to the clinic, to waiting for our turn to consult the doctor, visiting a doctor in times of sickness is a difficult task itself. With the current COVID-19 outbreak, the thought itself can be risky for some as well.
With telemedicine, patients can consult a qualified doctor either through video call from the comfort and safety of their homes. After the consultation, the medicine and medical certificate can be delivered straight to the doorstep.
[Update] As of 9 October 2020, eligible Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) patients may use their CHAS subsidies for video consultations for all 20 chronic conditions covered under CHAS (including, diabetes, hypertension, lipid disorder, major depression, stroke and stable asthma).
Here are five telemedicine services you can explore, including a comparison of how much a consultation would cost you.
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#1 Doctor World
At a rate of $18 per consultation, which includes delivery of medicine and issuance of medical certificate (if applicable), Doctor World has one of the most competitively priced telemedicine services.
In addition, medications are delivered to the doorstep within 3 hours, and the service operates 24 hours a day. However, it is important to note that the consultation is limited to 15 minutes, so it is important to go straight to the point during the session.
In addition to telemedicine, Doctor World also provides a range of other services such as 24/7 house calls, ambulance services, home nursing care and online health store.
#2 SATA CommHealth
Started out as a non-profit focusing on treating and eradicating tuberculosis in Singapore, SATA CommHealth has rebranded itself into a community healthcare service provider. Besides providing affordable and accessible healthcare, it is also the provider of one of the competitively-priced telemedicine services in Singapore.
At an affordable rate of $15 for a single consultation, their telemedicine services are done via a WhatsApp call. CHAS and PA card holders have a discounted rate of $10 per tele-consultation. However, do note that the cost excludes charges for medicine and delivery ($6). Issuance of medical certificate would depend on the doctor’s assessment.
Unlike the above-mentioned telemedicine, WhiteCoat provides a unique system where users can access their past medical and consultation records with the doctor on the app.
In addition, users can choose a doctor of their choice from the app. Besides general medical consultation, it also provides chronic disease management such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes, which some may find it useful.
The consultation fees are associated with the operation hours. For consultation between 8:00am to 7:59pm on Mondays to Saturdays, a fee of $25 will be charged. Consultations from 8:00pm to Midnight on Mondays to Saturdays, and from 8:00am to Midnight on Sundays and public holidays are charged at $50.
Customers who are enrolled in AIA’s HealthShield Gold Max policy can access WhiteCoat’s services via the AIA Healthcare App to enjoy a discounted rate of $12 for teleconsultation.
The charges exclude the cost of medication, delivery and GST.
#4 Pulse by Prudential
Similar to AIA’s Healthcare App, Pulse by Prudential provides users access to telemedicine through its dedicated app.
Powered by MyDoc, users not only are able to seek a doctor for video consultation, they are also able to get a report of their health status, check on possible causes of their symptoms for free.
The health assessment function operates by having users fill up a questionnaire, which will be followed by a report on their overall health status and risks from long-term diseases. On the other hand, the symptom checker gives users insights into possible health conditions based on the symptoms experienced. Both of the functions are driven by an artificial intelligence chatbot.
Users who wish to connect to a doctor for consultation can do so 24 hours a day at a flat fee of $15. Medication prescribed can be collected at a Guardian pharmacy or delivered for a fee.
In addition to the telemedicine service, Prudential is extending its Prucare relief package to all registered users of Pulse app, regardless if they are customers of Prudential. Individuals will be entitled to a $100 allowance a day for hospitalization due to COVID-19, for up to 3 months.
#5 Doctor Anywhere
Besides the usual telemedicine services, Doctor Anywhere also provides special services, including doorstep service for flu vaccination and health screening for domestic workers, which are conducted at the comfort of the user’s home.
It also provides a special video call consultation for newborn mothers, providing them with advice on baby care, feeding and weaning advice, as well as recommendations on equipment and a baby care plan. For those who are looking for a dedicated consultation for skincare, haircare and advice on aging, they can also access a specialist for aesthetic advice. Users can choose to purchase their own medicine or have them delivered within 3 hours.
Doctor Anywhere charges $20 for general practitioner and medical aesthetic consultations, and $15 for newborn consultations.
Telemedicine affords users a certain level of convenience, as compared to visiting a doctor at a clinic. In addition, with prices between a range of $18 and $25, the cost is comparable to how much a general practitioner in private practice would normally charge. However, if one opts to take up the delivery and medication service, the fees, which are charged separately, may push up the final amount payable of the telemedicine service significantly.
In addition, it is important to know that telemedicine serves to treat illnesses with mild symptoms, and is not meant to replace normal consultation for urgent or serious cases. For serious cases, seeking help from medical professionals at clinics and hospitals is essential.
That said, the main draw of telemedicine is the convenience and time savings, which is greatly appreciated by many busy working executives these days.
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