Raffles Medical Group launches first app-based COVID-19 testing booking service in Singapore
Raffles Medical Group (RMG), a large integrated private healthcare provider in Asia with facilities in Singapore, China, Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia, last week announced the first seamless app-based booking, payment and receipt of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in Singapore.
The announcement by RMG came after the official unveiling of the inaugural Air Travel Bubble (ATB) flights between Singapore and Hong Kong, which will happen from 22 November 2020. The ATB is a milestone arrangement between two aviation hubs and seeks to revive air travel in a safe and progressive way. [Update: the ATB has been deterred till early 2021 due to the recent high number of unlinked COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.]
Under the ATB, travelers between Singapore and Hong Kong will be subject to COVID-19 tests, in lieu of quarantine or Stay-Home Notice. There will be no restrictions on the purpose of travel and no requirement for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT
Through RMG’s proprietary integrated healthcare platform Raffles Connect, travelers will be able to book their COVID-19 PCR tests in advance, ahead of their travel plans. Currently available for travelers in Singapore, individuals are able to pre-book their appointments for the COVID-19 PCR tests and head to any of the 36 RafflesMedical clinics in the Group’s extensive network island wide for the test.
Payment for the tests and receipt of individual test results will all be available on the same platform in-app; results for the COVID-19 PCR tests will be available within 24 - 36 hours of administration of the test. Currently, travelers will continue to receive the physical copy of their test results from the respective clinics as aligned with the guidelines from the relevant authorities.
Travelers and individuals can also make use of the existing services within the Raffles Connect app, such as telemedicine services leveraging video consultations with a Raffles doctor, medical appointment booking and purchase of health supplements and services.
THE LARGER TREND
Private healthcare providers in the APAC region have been scaling up their telemedicine offerings, especially in the context of the looming COVID-19 pandemic. Healthway Medical Corporation Limited, a Singapore-bases private healthcare provider, recently announced that its pediatric unit, Singapore Baby and Child Clinic has been onboarded onto its proprietary teleconsultation app, Healthcare IT News reported.
Malaysia-founded private healthcare provider Columbia Asia Hospital group, also launched a telemedicine service, utilizing a full digital platform via Malaysian telehealth provider DoctorOnCall that links Columbia Asia’s patients with their doctors.
ON THE RECORD
“RMG has been working closely with the relevant authorities in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, embarking on a diverse range of national projects that support the screening, testing and care for those affected by COVID-19. As the world and Singapore begins its journey towards recovering economies and restarting travel, we continue to invest in our testing capability in our clinical labs, building our digital healthcare offering and optimizing to ensure we can cater to the demand and needs of Singaporeans and residents,” said Yong Yih Ming, General Manager, RMG.