Back in Jakarta, I was an avid user of Halodoc, one of the health-tech platforms in Indonesia. The reason is it’s simple and convenient. 

I can consult the doctors from GP to specialists, even to a psychologist, order the prescriptions right away, and their Gojek partners will deliver it to my door. Ordering a COVID19 test is also convenient using the app. 

However, it is way too different when you travel to a smaller city in Indonesia. Recently, I traveled back to my hometown for the new year – a 13 hours train ride from Jakarta.

I was about to try buying some unprescribed medicine through Halodoc, but it was currently unavailable.

And if you open on COVID19 test, you get only one laboratory and one type of test.

I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to “enjoy” the luxury of a seamless process from consulting a doctor to getting medicines delivered to my door, all with relatively cheap cost. I was wondering whether the people aren’t familiar with telemedicine (or all these conveniences that Jakarta residents take for granted) yet.

Thus I began to search whether other telemedicine is available in the town. It turns out that one of the private hospitals has the service (see picture above). And here how to get the telemedicine service:

  1. Registration

Patients must register through the hospital website. They need to fill in the basic information and sign the consent form. Unfortunately, patients can’t use their health insurance for this telemedicine service.

2. Payment

After finishing the registration, the patient must complete the payment process. Don’t expect easy payment with an online debit or credit card as the user needs to transfer manually to the hospital bank account. A good thing is that the hospital provides another payment method, that is OVO, though I am not sure how familiar the people with the e-wallet are

3. Confirmation

Upon completion of the payment process, patients need to confirm their registration via WhatsApp. Once the admin confirms, then a schedule for consultation will be given to the patients.

4. Consultation

The consultation will be done via WhatsApp chat service. Unfortunately, only General Practitioners are available. And patients won’t be able to choose which GP they want to consult with. The consultation lasted for 15 minutes.

5. Prescription and medicine service

If the doctor prescribes medicine, the patient needs to buy them in the hospital pharmacy. It is stated that the medicine delivery fee is the same as the GrabExpress fee – it means that the hospital is most likely using Grab Express to send out the prescribed medicines.

We can conclude that to get telemedicine service, a patient needs to use 4 different platforms: web for registration, banking service for payment, WhatsApp for confirmation and consultation, as well as Grab for the delivery.

It is much more complicated compared to the seamless process most health tech applications provide. These apps simplify those processes into one platform. They also provide many choices for the users, not only the availability of the doctors but also the pharmacies.

Big players always have the biggest city first on their priority list, however, there are more than half of the people live in rural areas where access to essential services is limited. 

Though it has been mentioned that health tech is now more developed in Indonesia, a huge gap between major and minor cities is still there. 

The players, to tackle the vast rural/small town market, will need a different methodology, execution, and also mentality.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at hello@mworks.asia.