Telenor adds another jewel in its impressive array of value added services called TeleDoctor. The basic premise is simple, whenever you need a doctor’s advice, you just pick up the phone and thats it.
They have doctors onstaff who can communicate with patients in Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Balochi, Siraiki, Brahwi, Hindko and Hazarvi, and female doctors for female patients as well.
This project is an solution by E-Health, a company run by Dr. Zakiuddin Ahmed.
But… (yes, there’s always a but!).. does it deliver any value?
Lets break down a typical doctor’s office visit. In most scenario’s, we go to a doctor’s office, wait for anywhere between 20 to 120 minutes, have them ask a couple of questions and be cut off as soon as we open our mouths to speak, then hear a two minute opinion (or if we’re very lucky, a half hour lecture on how great they are and what they’ve achieved), get a prescription, pay between Rs. 400 to 1200 and leave. If we allow an hour of traveling to and from the doctor’s office, that’s approximately a 2 to 4 hour task, and we pay between 400 to 1200 rupees for the privilege.
So basically, you do all that effort to hear a two to four minute opinion on what our diagnosis is, or what sort of further tests should you be getting. The one most commonly voiced grievances from doctor’s is that they dont listen nor tell enough to justify their fee’s.
This is, i believe, where the ‘value’ lies in a TeleDoctor service. Its priced at Rs. 8/min, which means, the more you are on the phone with your doctor, or the more they are talking to you, the more money they’re making! It translates to a better informed patient and a doctor who spend smore time with the patient and not having a tea/coffee session in their room with their friends while the patients wait outside for hours.
Therefore, a patient who calls up a teledoctor and spends half an hour discussion their situation with them ends up spending only Rs. 240 coming away with a better idea of their condition and they can do it in the comfort of their own homes, instead of going through the situation stated above. Even if you end up paying equivalent to a doctor’s visit (Rs. 400) you get 50 dedicated minutes with your medical professional! Now that is a deal!
Because honestly, we all just want a doctor who will listen to us and cares about our health rather than our money. Good going telenor!