Currently, there are about 15 digital healthcare service providers working in the country, according to Access to Information (a2i)
The coronavirus pandemic has created massive demand for telemedicine as most people are still reluctant to go to hospitals fearing contracting Covid-19.
Many doctors are now providing consultations to their patients by video conferencing, a practice that became popular when the government imposed a countrywide lockdown to combat the pandemic in late March. Furthermore, several digital healthcare service platforms have been launched to facilitate telemedicine.
Currently, there are about 15 digital healthcare service providers working in the country, according to Access to Information (a2i).
Sebaghar, a telemedicine mobile app, was officially launched in April. IT firm bdtask.com created the app, by which patients can speak directly to doctors for advice and prescriptions.
bdtask.com Director and Chief Operating Officer Tanzil Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune: “About 100,000 people have installed our Sebaghar app and more than a thousand doctors have enlisted. About 75,000 people have received healthcare services over the Sebaghar app in the last six months.
“Most doctors and consultants do not have the option of treating their patients face to face, especially those who are treating asthma, fever and ENT patients. They have turned to alternative ways to treat their patients,” he added.
HelloDoc, a virtual hospital, was also launched in April to support the growing demand for telemedicine. Patients can consult with 42 senior consultants and doctors by video conferencing.
Praava Health, which also provides digital healthcare services, says they have been receiving a huge number of calls from patients during the pandemic.
Daktarbhai, a telemedicine platform, offers online doctor’s appointment services with facilities for electronic health records.
In June, the Bangladesh Society of Medicine (BSM) initiated a program to facilitate telemedicine services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The initiative is also backed by three other doctors' associations – Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA), Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad (Swachip) and Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS).
The project aims to provide treatment for Covid-19 patients over the phone and call centres, to ensure that people can access medical advice from their homes during the pandemic.
“Patients can take digital prescriptions, which helps with the names of medicines,” said Tanzil Ahmed.
“Digital healthcare services or telemedicine can remove hassles for patients as getting an appointment with a doctor is very difficult in our country,” he added.