Health at the crossroads of innovation - TopDoc provides efficient healthcare resource utilization

Contributed by TopDoc, 11 December, 2014

Surging demand of healthcare services in Hong Kong

The problem of shortage of doctors in Hong Kong is predicted to worsen in the coming few decades, with population ageing at the fastest rate among developed countries. According to a recent article in the South China Morning Post the demand and cost of healthcare in Hong Kong is spiraling forecasting that, by 2041, health expenditure will grow from 5.1% of GDP in 2011 to as high as 10.3%.

Despite the inexorable rising demand for healthcare services, there is a lack of doctors. Hong Kong has lower levels of healthcare providers per capita than most OECD countries, with medical personal levels at about half of those in the UK or the US (1.8 vs 3.2 health-care providers per capita).

A patient will wait 6 months on average before seeing a specialist in a public hospital. Moreover, patients have a hard time finding good doctors. Currently, most patients would inquire their friends and family members for a recommendation, which can be a time-consuming and not always effective approach.


Digital health as an upcoming trend

Various attempts have been made to reduce the burden on the healthcare system. One of the upcoming trends is the emergence of healthcare information technology. Digital healthcare (or digital health) uses technology to support sustainable healthcare systems to tackle the growing challenge. It optimizes the existing resources by a systematic approach to manage appointments with automatic reminders, proactively address late cancellations and optimize agenda of healthcare providers

Practices of digital healthcare have been proven successful in other countries around the world, including the U.S., the U.K. and Singapore. ZocDoc, for example, is an American online booking system to find the "hidden supply" of appointments. It is currently estimated at a $1.6 billion valuation, helps 5 million people a month, across 2,000 cities,. ZocDoc makes visible empty slots in doctors' schedules due mainly to patients' "no-show" and by the same token, increases chances of filling available time slots for medical practices.


Local digital health practices

The problem of "no-shows" is not typical to the US. In Hong Kong, there are an estimated 44 million annual appointments taken with the doctor, among which an estimated 10-20% are not honored annually. So a conservative estimation of 8.8 million medical appointments go wasted each year, an equivalent of 611 years of care.

TopDoc, a local-based interactive e-Health platform, want to unravel this issue by adding scheduling efficiency. TopDoc creates a new ecosystem composed of patients, family, healthcare professionals and administration in Hong Kong. By adopting the technology, it not only greatly shortens the appointment waiting time for patients, but also transforms the traditional doctor - patient relationship, providing efficiency and convenience to both parties. In addition, it prolongs this relationship outside of a clinic's walls, by providing a secured and direct communication platform for doctors and their patients.

A number of other local companies have also ventured into digital health with different positioning. However, no leading service has been established for years in Hong Kong, since most of the services lack of involvement of medical providers, and the access to healthcare or speed up delivery of care is not improved.

TopDoc bridges the gap between patients and doctors to provide a more efficient, informed and targeted experience with one's doctor. TopDoc embraces core internet features, such as search, online customer ratings, and 24/7 scheduling, in addition to friends' recommendations via social media channels such as Facebook.

Thus, TopDoc empowers patients to find and book recommended doctors, dentists and other allied healthcare professionals, instantly, online, 24/7. This in turn helps doctors manage bookings, optimize their agendas and build up a broader recognition for their service from existing patients. TopDoc recently launched the 1st interactive medical blog in Hong Kong where health professionals can share their knowledge and educate their patients.


Conclusions

Digital healthcare is becoming an upcoming trend in the context of an aging population and limited healthcare resources. It changes the healthcare experience by unifying records, networking stakeholders and managing it all from a single secured platform. www.topdoc.hk, a Hong Kong based digital healthcare platform, offers operational simplicity and makes it possible of efficient resource utilization in a local setting.

Tags: professionals | Hong Kong | China | Singapore | services | internet |

 

 





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