MyanCare leads way in telemedicine

Two years ago, Ko Zaw Min Tun, chief executive officer of MyanCare, received special advice from Dr Thein Aung, a professor of medicine for nearly 37 years and founder and chairman of the Parami Private General Hospital Group.

The future of the industry in Myanmar, Dr Thein Aung said, lies in using technology to make health care available in the farthest reaches of the country.

That conversation was the start of the country’s first telemedicine application, MyanCare, which combines technology, telecommunications and data to provide virtual clinical health care to people throughout Myanmar. The app, a combination of technology and medical talent that took a year to develop, launched in 2018.

The application eliminates the wait for an acute care appointment, offers a less expensive alternative for health care, and saves time. No longer does a patient have to miss work for a doctor’s appointment. The company says MyanCare is a virtual online clinic that allows users with mobile phones to book a doctor, get treatment advice or a consultation from a doctor, reduces the need to travel, and saves the time spent visiting a clinic.

“We got the idea for an application to help improve people’s access to health care because Myanmar has transportation problems and a lack of doctors, especially in rural areas,” Ko Zaw Min Tun, who has made use of his experience as a project manager in the telephone industry, said.

Apps used worldwide

Telemedicine apps are being used around the world, especially in Africa, India and Bangladesh with government support. In Singapore, several businesses run health care apps, and almost a million people use telemedicine apps in Indonesia, where transportation is difficult because of its thousands of islands.

Ko Zaw Min Tun and medical professionals were determined to make a telemedicine app to answer the needs of Myanmar’s health care sector and provide access to quality health services for the poor and vulnerable. According to World Health Organization statistics, Myanmar has one doctor for every 2000 patients in urban areas but only one health care worker for every 5000 patients in rural and remote areas.

“Our main challenge at the beginning was to build the trust of doctors and patients, but we are gradually managing to do that,” he said.

‘Our main challenge …was to build the trust of doctors and patients, but we are gradually managing to do that.’ – Ko Zaw Min Tun, CEO MyanCare

Consultations anywhere, anytime

Patients using the app get a 15-minute consultation with a doctor via online chat, voice call or video call. Doctors are available 24/7.

The fee for an appointment on the app is between K2000 and K5000. According to MyanCare’s policy, the doctor determines the fee. The app accepts electronic payments from KBZ, CB, and AYA banks, MPU cards, Wave Money, OK Dollar and 2C2P.

There are now about 5000 people using the app in 34 towns and cities in 11 states and regions. Thirty percent of its users are 18 to 25 years old, 65pc are 26 to 40, and the rest are over 40, according to the company.

MyanCare expects to have more than 100,000 users by year end. The app now has 17 general practitioners and one cardiology specialist. The doctors can do consultations from anywhere via the internet, provide follow-up for their patients, and easily manage clinic schedules. Patients can record their electronic medical histories with confidence over a secure online connection.

The app’s doctors are selected by a board comprised of professors of medicine and qualified practitioners that verifies each doctor’s medical or specialist license and that they have at least two years of clinical experience.

About 80 doctors, including 10 specialists, have expressed interest in joining the app.

Future plans

MyanCare plans to increase the number of doctors and specialists on the app, recruiting psychologists and psychiatrists, maternity and post-partum specialists, as well as pediatricians.

The company will also try to build a complete electronic medical record system with hospitals and clinics nationwide.

“Electronic health records are crucial in telemedicine. It’s one of our biggest ambitions. We want to build a complete electronic medical record system in Myanmar,” said Ko Zaw Min Tun.

“Our main goal is to upgrade the nation’s health care by providing service to people in remote and deprived areas. We will always be ready whenever they need us,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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