INNOVATE

This Singapore Start-up Simplifies The Complexities of Healthcare

In the absence of reliable medical care back home, people are looking to other countries

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BY Jared Carl Millan - 02 Aug 2017

healthcare singapore

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Despite great strides in modern medicine, the field of medicine remains an imperfect art—there’s still so much we need to understand about the way our body functions. And sadly, obtaining decent healthcare remains elusive for many. In the absence of reliable medical care locally, people have started looking to other countries.

This phenomenon is called medical tourism, and it’s a growing trend especially in Asia.

Start-up Global Health and Travel aims to bridge this gap between patients and the medical care they need by connecting patients directly to the options available to them across the Asian region—whether it’s a routine procedure like dental treatments or more complex ones, such as cancer care and joint replacement.

“[We want] to simply make the process of discovering and obtaining care more efficient and transparent,” says GHT CEO Varun Panjwani.

Simple solutions to complex processes

Whenever a person falls ill, it takes a complex and frequently frustrating process of “luck, infinite online searches, and relying on word of mouth [from] doctors or family members” in order to discover and connect with care options: GHT wants to make the subtle shift in behavior from word-of-mouth recommendations being cross-checked online to healthcare discovery online being cross-checked with peers.

“Our digital marketplace, the first in Asia (if not globally), is a step in the right direction, allowing consumers to search online for healthcare packages from leading hospitals and clinics, to quickly compare and purchase their desired packages.”

GHT’s medical directory makes discovery of the best available healthcare easy for patients, and its medical concierge assists patients with their every need— from enquiries and appointments to airline and hotel bookings.

A class of its own

Everyone has different healthcare needs—a treatment that suits one may not suit another. And because there are many considerations when one seeks medical care, it can make finding the best healthcare tricky.

“It is due to these complexities that the team in place has to be of a high level on both service fronts and medical knowledge,” Panjwani says. “Aspects that can only be brought about by in-depth relations and a strong network of leading providers region wide, so that the team has their pulse on not just one market but instead the entire region and can provide accurate, timely and holistic information to patients.”

This is one of the reasons why GHT remains a unique endeavor. They have maintained a keen eye on the needs of the region, and utilized the trends at work.

“Asia is a different dynamic than the United States,” adds Panjwani, “with regards to technology adoption and cultural nuances from country to country. Hence our digital platform is also a tool for forming partnerships with leading consumers, allowing them to leverage our offerings for their database.”

Panjwani says that the journey thus far has been a wild rollercoaster ride, especially since they are pioneering in an uncharted territory.

“We have entered a space and are building services for which there are no references or past examples,” he says. “That in it-self has been the most memorable aspect, the opportunity to build, create and, change the way in which patients seek care.”