With the threat of Covid-19 hanging in the air, especially potentially literally in the air in medical clinics (and the door handles, waiting chairs and counters of clinics, too), let's just say going to see the doctor is one of the last things people want to be doing right now. Enter telemedicine services. There are a handful of clinics offering consultations online, from the comfort of your home, and you don't even have to really see a doctor. The doc may 'see' you, though (we'll explain more later). They'll deliver your medicine to you and even give you an MC. The main condition, though, is that your illness can't be serious, at least according to rxemedium.io, which is the MOH-registered clinic with telemedicine service 8days.sg visited. Any body temperature of 38 degree celsius and above will garner you a warning that they are unable to serve you, and to please visit a clinic to get examined. We think this is fair. We wouldn't want any more severe illness to be treated online either. But for common sicknesses like fever, coughs and sore throats, telemedicine is definitely a viable option, whether or not we're in the grip of a deadly coronavirus.
So here's the homepage of telemedicine provider Rxemedium, which is helmed by Dr. Dana Elliott Srither, a doctor with 20 years of clinical experience.
What we did next was register our name, mobile number, address and IC. The latter is done by taking a pic of your IC and attaching it to the form. So far, so legit.
Next comes the 'consultation'. But first, a warning page that if you're experiencing respiratory symptoms or have within 14 days been to Hubei or come into contact with anyone with Covid-19 or recent travellers from mainland China, to see a doctor at a clinic instead.
Otherwise, you move on to the next page, which allows you to order medicine and choose from one of four ailments: Cough, Fever/General Pain, Sore Throat or Stuffy/Runny Nose. These are the only four illnesses that are currently treatable on Rxemedium, and the service is only for adults. Dr. Elliott tells us they are working on telemedicine services for kids.
So after picking your ailment on the website, you have to state whether you have experienced the symptoms for more than three days. Three or more days of these symptoms, and again you get the warning to go to a clinic instead. If it's less than three days, you get to the next page, where you have to input your body temperature. This is, of course, only possible if you have a thermometer with you. If your temperature is too high (38 degree celsius and above), you won't be served further. Of course, you can lie and input anything for any of the questions, but what would be the point of that? We'd want to get proper treatment if we were really ill.
On the next page, they'll then ask if you're allergic to certain medications that are relevant to your ailment. If no, you'll be asked next if you require an MC. You can get an MC for up to two days. Next, you'll need to upload a photo of yourself with your ID. This requires you to take a new photo of yourself holding some form of identification.
Finally, a summary and payment page. Then, submit and wait for your medication to arrive. If you order before 11am, you get your meds within the day, before 6pm. Otherwise, you have to wait till the next day. The clinic is working to add more same-day delivery slots in the near future. The services plus medication appears to cost a flat rate of $28. That's comparable to a standard clinic visit, but you get your meds delivered. Not bad. But if you have a more unusual ailment, like a rash or a red eye, too bad lah, have to go to a clinic.
Our meds arrived at our doorstep by courier at about 4pm, about five hours after we had our consultation. In the package was a pleasant surprise, a surgical mask! There was also a receipt and an MC for two days, which we requested for.
When we ask Dr Elliot, who also has a physical MOH-registered clinic located in Balestier, if people might abuse how easy it is to get an MC via telemedicine, he says, "As physicians, we have to give all our patients the benefit of the doubt, that their conditions are genuine. For example, if a patient says that she is contemplating suicide or thinking of cutting herself, we have to take her seriously. If we feel that they are malingering, then we as physicians will go down a slippery slope."
As a parting shot, we then received a message from the doctor himself via our Rxemedium account, saying: "Dear Celine, We hope you are feeling better. If you have other preferred medicines, please upload your old medicine labels to us for pre-approval before your next visit. We will follow up with you over a total of 7 days. Should you have any change in your condition, please contact us here. Please use the face mask when going out and stay safe. Rgds, Dr Dana."
How nice! We checked in with the doc, who told us that the messaging feature on the account is for patients to update them should their condition change for the worse, and that they can still reach Rxemedium for advice, as long as it's within a seven-day period.
Try telemedicine at Rxemedium at https://www.rxemedium.io/.