Singapore bank dispenses telehealth app with access to 100 medical professionals

Provided through a partnership with seven medical groups, OCBC Bank's HealthPass mobile app lets patients book consultations with any one of more than 100 GPs and specialists and have prescribed medication delivered to their doorsteps.

OCBC Bank has introduced a telehealth mobile app that enables patients to book a video consultation with any one of more than 100 general practitioners (GPs) and specialists and have the prescribed medication delivered to their doorstep. Provided through a partnership with seven medical groups, the Singapore bank says its HealthPass service is available to everyone, including non-OCBC customers. 

Patients also can use the app to book an in-clinic session. Consultation fees for a telehealth or in-clinic consultation session with a GP and specialist are at a flat fee of SG$20 ($14.33) and SG$100 ($71.67), respectively, said OCBC in a statement on Tuesday. The app offers access to 63 medical specialists across 21 areas, including gynaecology, cardiology, dermatology, and oncology. Medication and diagnostic procedures are charged separately based on current practices. 

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Medical groups that have signed up for the partnership include Etern Medical, Faith Medical Group, OneCare Medical Group, StarMed Specialist Centre, Singapore Medical Group (SMG), Thomson Medical, and True Medical. 

According to OCBC, the mobile app integrates with the healthcare provider's clinic management systems and the medical data is accessible only by the patients and their doctors. The bank added that patients can access clinic invoices, laboratory results, and digital Medical Certificates (MC), which are needed by some workplaces so patients can stay home. 

The ability to digitally retrieve their medical records for medical consultations offer patients convenience, bypassing the need to search for and retain physical copies, OCBC said. 

The app also features a store selling wellness products and services from more than 100 merchants, which can be purchased via a credit or debit card that can be added to the app. This can be used to pay for consultations, too. All transactions are processed and stored digitally on the app. 

The wellness store is facilitated through OCBC's insurance partner CXA Group. Products and services available via the store include traditional Chinese medicine, dental, and pain management.

With Singapore recommending residents minimise physical medical visits to help curb the spread of COVID-19, telehealth services offer safe access to doctors, especially for patients with underlying conditions and are more vulnerable to the virus, OCBC said. The digital platform also allows doctors to carry out follow-up sessions without needing the patients to physically go to the clinic for a consult or to pick up a new prescription for their medications. 

In addition, the ability to pre-book an appointment allows clinics to better manage visiting intervals, minimise wait times, and ensure safe distancing, the bank added.

According to its healthcare partner SMG, which has more 50 medical professionals, specialist teleconsultations have climbed 60% since the start of the global pandemic.

OCBC Bank's head of digital and innovation Pranav Seth said: "COVID-19 will eventually pass, but its impact on the community will be long felt, and widespread access to telehealth will provide a big boost to help manage Singapore's healthcare needs. Notwithstanding that, in-clinic visits are still necessary for certain medical treatments. As a result, we will on-board more clinics and healthcare providers on the HealthPass app to ensure at least one clinic in the proximity of everyone's home and workplace."

SMG's managing director Christina Low noted that the partnership uses technology to facilitate a "new model of care" in the community that enhances patient service and user experience. Engagement through the app has also enabled patients to "participate" in their own health journey, Low said. 

The HealthPass app can be downloaded on Google's Play Store and Apple App Store.

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