Doctor Anywhere ventures into health-tech market in Vietnam

09:00 | 18/04/2020
Vietnam’s demand for digital healthcare is surging, opening doors for multinational health-tech giants and telemedicine startups to make ventures. Nguyen Thanh Phan, CEO of Doctor Anywhere Vietnam, discussed with VIR’s Bich Thuy its future strategy to conquer the potential market.
doctor anywhere ventures into health tech market in vietnam
Nguyen Thanh Phan, CEO of Doctor Anywhere Vietnam

Having entered Vietnam in late 2019, what do you think about the growth potential of the Vietnamese healthcare market?

The potential is extremely appealing. Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing developing economies in Asia with lots of favourable conditions for us to dive in. The smartphone penetration rate is 84 per cent, one of the highest amongst Southeast Asian countries. Moreover, the young population with hi-tech adoption will continually be changing their behaviour to online platforms and services. It happens everywhere in all aspects of community and society, and that’s where the growth of Doctor Anywhere is heading to.

In addition, not only individual users but corporations are also looking for digital healthcare providers, enhancing their employees’ conditions and approaching new innovations for a full digital transformation. Doctor Anywhere is in the right place and the right time to witness these business co-operations thrive.

As Singapore's leading tech-led health and wellness platform, what are the highlights and advantages of Doctor Anywhere’s healthcare services?

Doctor Anywhere aims at being a “super app” and a “one-stop place” for all users’ healthcare needs. We connect all the healthcare networks, offering products at all stages.

Users of the Doctor Anywhere app can directly access a range of healthcare services on the app. This includes on-demand service to consult a locally licensed doctor of high expertise and experience through video call to have a thorough medical consultation process as doctors are not subject to the pressure from overcrowded local public hospitals and medical facilities, with medication delivered within three hours.

The app also allows scheduling an appointment in advance with a preferred doctor or the booking of home-based healthcare services where users can get a care team to visit them at home.

Users can also keep track of their medical history and store documents such as consultation records, health screening reports, and referral letters directly on the app. This enforces the family doctor concept, thus making the medical consultation process convenient and efficient – without compromising quality.

The app also features a function to purchase health and wellness products and services on the Marketplace and customers can pay for consultation sessions and any other transactions in the app conveniently through a digital payment gateway.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Doctor Anywhere helps users to reduce the chance of cross-contamination.

Additionally, we have customised our app to meet the needs of Vietnamese customers and will roll out more specialities including ENT, paediatrics, and more in the coming time.

Due to the growing health demands, hospitals in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are overloaded, to a large extent driven by the healthcare demand of people in the countryside and other cities and provinces. In addition to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, does Doctor Anywhere plan to expand to other cities and provinces to cash in on the growing healthcare demand?

Public hospitals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are being overcrowded with patients coming from the surrounding cities (both industrial cities as well as rural areas), highlighting the inefficiencies of the current healthcare system.

To tackle this issue, the Vietnamese government has been putting a lot of effort into developing new healthcare infrastructure in these surrounding cities but so far this has not been efficient as it has not stopped patients from traveling long distances to get to the public hospitals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City while the newly-established hospitals and medical facilities in these surrounding cities remain under-utilised. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of trust: our population does not believe that the doctors and caregivers in these medical facilities are as qualified as the ones in big cities.

By connecting all the doctors and medical service providers on the Doctor Anywhere platform, conveniently making them available to our patients via our technology and encouraging transparency and the sharing of medical information between the relevant parties, we are positively contributing to resolving one of the biggest problems that the Vietnamese healthcare industry has been dealing with for quite some time now.

On a more concrete note, in the second phase, we plan to initiate discussions with some of these overcrowded public hospitals to pilot a project where they will integrate the Doctor Anywhere platform into their operations to better assort and filter patients prior to them arriving to the hospital, as well as Provide patients with follow-up care from a distance via teleconsultation so they do not have to travel back to the hospital.

How does the Vietnamese market appear next to regional markets like Singapore and Thailand in terms of market size, legal conditions, and future growth potential? Apart from these three markets, which new potential markets is Doctor Anywhere targeting to venture into?

As I stated earlier, Vietnam’s huge population and high number of smartphone users promise blooming growth for healthcare services. Besides, the Vietnamese government is encouraging digitalisation with Circular 49 of the Ministry of Health outlining guidelines for telemedicine, which set the foundation for health-tech services to take off.

I believe that health-tech companies fit in well in this context. Doctor Anywhere leads the market by our promise to supply sustainable services: accessibility, convenience, and quality.

Apart from our three traditional markets that you mentioned, were are planning to venture into Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines. As we soon venture into these markets, we continue to personalise and localise our healthcare services to bring optimal experience to each country’s users.

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By Bich Thuy

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