Indonesians warned of shortcomings in healthcare mobile apps

CCTV News

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Virtual medical check-ups are becoming popular in Indonesia. More patients are choosing to skip the traffic, and see a doctor at the touch of a button at home. But as health apps catch on, some doctors warn they’re not a cure-all for the country’s medical challenges.

CCTV’s Silkina Ahluwalia reports from Jakarta.

Indonesians warned of shortcomings in healthcare mobile apps

Indonesians warned of shortcomings in healthcare mobile apps

Virtual medical check-ups are becoming popular in Indonesia. More patients are choosing to skip the traffic, and see a doctor at the touch of a button at home. But as health apps catch on, some doctors warn they're not a cure-all for the country's medical challenges.

Ivon has missed more than a few doctor’s appointments in the past. As a working mother of two, navigating through Jakarta’s congested roads to get to a clinic can be frustrating. But now she’s found convenience in virtual doctors.

“The rise of digital health has helped me a lot especially as a mother. When my children are sick, we prefer to stay home and rest, not outside searching for medicines across the city,” she said.

ProSehat, which translates to ProHealth, is the first health marketplace in Indonesia that offers free consultation services with doctors and a platform to purchase medicines directly from pharmacies. It was founded in 2015 by two general practitioners who saw a gap in patients’ access to healthcare, online and offline.

The development of technology has made it easier for medical services like ProSehat to provide doctors at our fingertips.

But in Indonesia, before virtual check-ups can become the wave of the future, the government must introduce plenty of regulations to ensure safety between doctors and patients.

Chairman of the Indonesian Doctors Association Daeng Faqih said the regulations are mandatory.

“It is mandatory for the government to impose clear regulations on virtual check-ups. The health apps must also make sure they hire credible doctors who give out valid information so the patients feel comfortable using their services. Patient safety should always be a priority.”

Faqih said determining illnesses online can be dangerous as many symptoms require further examination in person.

“In order to make a diagnosis, a doctor has to go through a number of steps. It isn’t possible to diagnose a patient through one-time consultation. Many people in Indonesia are still not getting their health information from reliable sources, which is why regulations are crucial if the government want these services to succeed,” he said.

Virtual care itself isn’t new. Many clinics in big cities already provide patients with an SOS service, where they can contact doctors 24 hours a day by phone. But the Indonesian government is still working on introducing this new technology in the rural areas of Indonesia, where quality healthcare and fast doctors are most in need.