We are a generation used to getting everything done on our mobile phones. So, why not add consulting the doctor to this list?
From general practitioners (GP) to specialists and even Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbalists, we’ve scoured the Internet to find 7 telemedicine apps and services. These will let you consult medical professionals from the comfort of your own home.
What is telemedicine?
Simply put, telemedicine is a service that lets you see a doctor for selected medical conditions without the need to leave your home or step foot inside a clinic. It’s clearly a godsend in the age of COVID-19, as it eliminates the need to sit next to wheezing patients while waiting for your turn to see the doctor.
How does telemedicine work?
The service uses your mobile phone, tablet or laptop to connect with your doctor or specialist via text chat, voice call or video call. Once connected, you’re free to consult your medical practitioner and ask them questions, discuss your symptoms, show them that weird rash, and so on.
After the consultation, your doctor will prescribe any necessary medications, which will be delivered to your home or at a convenient pick-up location such as a clinic near you.
Is telemedicine safe?
Yes, absolutely. The project to provide telemedicine to the mass public is spearheaded by the Ministry of Health, and only registered healthcare practitioners are allowed to participate.
This means that only qualified healthcare professionals are allowed to provide consultations over telemedicine apps. You can expect similar standards of expertise and safety as in-clinic consultations, which is a huge plus point.
What conditions are suitable for telemedicine consultations?
Telemedicine is meant to provide a quick and convenient way to receive a medical diagnosis for common illnesses along with suitable medicines and a Medical Certificate (if required). These include:
- Cough and cold
- Sore throat
- Constipation and diarrhoea
- Skin irritation and rashes
- Headache and migraine
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Menstrual issues
- Gastric problem
- Cold sores
- Muscle aches
- Heel pain
- Conjunctivitis without visual disturbances
- Eyelid problems
- Well-controlled chronic illnesses that have already been routinely followed up
It’s a pretty exhaustive list, if you were to ask us. But do bear in mind that telemedicine is not suitable for emergency conditions, such as severe injuries, chest pains, dizziness, visual impairments, abdominal pain with fever, weakness in limbs, uncontrolled bleeding, etc.
When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact emergency services at 995, or make a visit to your nearest hospital.
Are telemedicine services in Singapore expensive?
Not really. We’ve researched 7 different telemedicine providers in Singapore and found that consultation prices are comparable to clinic visits. However, there are additional charges for medicine delivery.
Let’s discuss the 7 telemedicine providers in some more detail.
|Name||Platform||Type of Service||Consultations Offered||Consultation Cost||Operating Hours|
|Doctor World||App or website||Video-call||General practitioners||$18 for first 15 mins (includes delivery fee for medication)||24/7|
|Sata CommHealth||Chat or video call||General practitioners||$12 per consultation||Mon – Fri|
8.30am – 5pm
|WhiteCoat||App||Video-call||General practitioners, travel medication, specialist referrals, sexual health||Mon – Sat, 8am to 7.59pm: $25|
Mon – Sat, 8pm to 12am: $50
Sun and Public Holidays: $50
8am – 12am
|Doctor Anywhere||App||Video-call||General practitioners, Medical Aesthetics and Newborns||$20 for GP and Aesthetics, $15 for newborns||24/7 on-demand|
Appointments are also available
|MaNaDr||App||Text chat or video-call||General practitioners||Varies according to provider||24/7|
|HiDoc||App or website||Video-call||Specialist consultations in various disciplines||From $80 – $120 first consultation|
From $60 – $80 for follow-up
|Mon – Fri|
9am – 6pm
|Eu Yan Sang||Voice-call||TCM herbalists||Free||Everyday|
10am – 10pm
Although it sounds like a theme park catered to alarmingly specific tastes, Doctor World is a leading telemedicine service in Singapore with favourable reviews.
We think it’s probably because of its affordable pricing — a flat $18 fee per consultation (15 mins), inclusive of medicine delivery charges. It also helps that its panel of doctors are available 24/7, plus you can either use your mobile, tablet or laptop to do your consultation, making it an easy choice when you need some medical attention.
WhatsApp Contact: +65 8123 4878
Among the most affordable telemedicine services in Singapore, Sata CommHealth’s WhatApp consultation service will cost you only $12 per consultation. Medicines and medical certificates will be charged separately, though.
Sata’s telemedicine service is available over WhatsApp, saving you the need to download a separate app for consultations. However, you may want to be careful about accidentally exposing your medical history in public.
Served by a panel of six GPs, WhiteCoat is equipped to consult on a wide variety of common illnesses and symptoms. They offer video-call consultations over the WhiteCoat app at reasonable prices — $25 for office hours (Mon-Sat, 8am to 7.59pm), and $50 for after office hours (Sundays and public holidays, 8pm to 12am).
Besides general medical consultations, the WhiteCoat team also offers advice on travel medicines, chronic conditions, and sexual health. They are also able to provide specialists referrals if you need one.
Providing consultations in general medicine, medical aesthetics, and newborn health, Doctor Anywhere is a convenient platform for seeking the medical advice you might currently need. Consultations are carried out over video calls via the Doctor Anywhere app, and are reasonably priced: $20 for GP and aesthetics consultations, $15 for newborns.
Another plus point is that medical consultations are available 24/7 and provided on demand. However, if you prefer, you could also schedule a teleconsultation with a medical professional of your choice.
MaNaDr telemedicine services are available round-the-clock via its specialised app, within which you can choose to have your consultation over text chats or video calls. Prices vary between different doctors, and change according to both duration and method of delivery.
MaNaDr can be very cost-effective, with as little as $10 for five text messages, or 3 minutes for a video consultation. It’s great if you can keep your consultation brief and to the point, but not helpful if you’re the sort that likes a bit more time and attention.
Their website also hosts an online store that sells medicines, medical supplies, meal deliveries, health supplements and personal care products.
In partnership with DBS Bank and Watsons, HiDoc offers an all-in-one healthcare platform that combines telemedicine, health record-keeping, and online shopping.
You can sign up for telemedicine consultations, via the website or the app, with specialists of various disciplines — from dermatologists to paediatricians, ophthalmologists to urologists, general surgeons and more.
Consultation charges are, therefore, not the cheapest. The rates start from $80 and might go up to $100 for the first consultation, and slightly lower at around $60 to $80 for subsequent consultations. The platform has recently added general practitioners, which should provide more affordable consultations.
WhatsApp Contact: +65 9372 0698
For those who prefer TCM to cure their aches and pains, leading Singapore brand Eu Yan Sang has launched a WhatsApp telemedicine service that caters to common illnesses and conditions.
The service is free of charge, and is available every day between 10am to 10pm. All you have to do is to start a WhatsApp chat using the number above and follow the on-screen instructions. You will then receive a voice call from one of Eu Yan Sang’s trained herbalists.
Discuss your symptoms with them to receive a personalised list of products for your condition. You can purchase these on the Eu Yan Sang website and take them as directed to treat your illness. Eu Yan Sang’s telemedicine consultation is helpfully available in both English and Chinese.
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By Alevin Chan
An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.