A new app that enables patients to consult GPs remotely has launched in Ireland. The app was developed by MeeDoc, a start-up aiming to bring telemedicine to “every GP surgery in Ireland”.
The app can be used by anyone feeling unwell to contact a GP, discuss their symptoms, receive a diagnosis and have a prescription delivered to their local pharmacy. Using their smartphone, patients can send images of their physical symptoms, hold video-conferencing sessions with their GP, and obtain repeat prescriptions.
Commenting at the Irish launch of MeeDoc, Mikko Kiiskilä, Co-Founder and CEO of MeeDoc, said: “With MeeDoc, we’re hoping to revolutionise the healthcare experience – for both patients and GPs. This is a tool that cuts down on costs, saves time, and gives greater flexibility to all involved in the healthcare process.”
The MeeDoc app was developed in 2012 by a team of doctors, designers and engineers. It has attracted over 8,000 registered users in Finland – where GP visits are free – and is now expanding into Ireland, the UK, Spain, Switzerland, and other Nordic countries. Earlier this year, the start-up attracted €3.5 million in venture capital funding from XLHEALTH, a German venture capital investor specialised in digital health start-ups.
“We believe MeeDoc will have particular appeal in Ireland because of the quality and security the service offers. In addition, the majority of people do not have access to free GP care, and MeeDoc consultations are significantly cheaper than the average price of a GP visit,” said Mr. Kiiskilä.
“Another major attraction is that MeeDoc allows people to consult a GP of their choice, even if they’re away on holidays or travelling for work. A user might be in a foreign country, where they don’t speak the local language or don’t know how to navigate the local healthcare system. But, using MeeDoc, they can instantly and easily connect with a GP back home.
“There will always be a need for physical examinations and face-to-face consultations in some circumstances. But imagine how much more efficient the health service could be if it truly embraced the cost and time savings that top-class technologies can provide. Research published in Finland as far back as 2004 showed it is possible to conduct 75 per cent of all primary care via telemedicine.
“In the future, we want to see every GP surgery in Ireland using MeeDoc. Medicine is no different to any other profession in terms of the need to keep pace with technological change. We believe doctors who fail to see the benefits of telemedicine now will lose out in future years.”
A number of Irish GPs are working with MeeDoc, and already providing consultations via the smartphone app. Speaking at today’s launch, Dr. Ronan Flynn – a GP based in Co. Clare and Clinical Director for MeeDoc in Ireland – said: “This app offers the type of flexibility and access that consumers expect in the 21st Century.
“I know from my own patients that, for anyone working fulltime, it can be difficult to get a doctor’s appointment that suits their schedules. Similarly, for a parent of a young family, if one child falls ill, they may not relish the prospect of having to bring all their children to a doctor’s surgery. With MeeDoc, they can consult their GP without leaving their home. The convenience factor that MeeDoc provides will encourage people to initiate consultations on issues they may otherwise ignore for too long.”
How MeeDoc Works:
MeeDoc is available free from the App Store, Google Play and through a web app. When users download the app, they must sign in and set up their profile. Once registered, they can access a list of available GPs, along with details of their professional backgrounds and qualifications, before engaging in a consultation. Users can select a GP, send a message and receive a reply within 15 minutes.
A consultation costs €34, €16 less than the average cost of a GP visit in Ireland, and a user’s credit card is only charged after the consultation is complete. If a prescription is required, the MeeDoc GP will fax it to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice and forward the original prescription by post.
To mark its launch on the Irish market, MeeDoc is offering a 50 per cent discount for a user’s initial consultation. To avail of this special offer, users should use the code IRELANDLAUNCH when they register for the app. Two hundred codes have been issued, so the first 200 users to enter the code can claim their 50 per cent discount, which will be valid until the end of the year.
Further information about MeeDoc is available at: http://meedoc.ie.