If we learned anything from 2020, it is that nothing is more important than keeping fit and addressing health issues to avoid compromising one’s immune system. Due to the lockdown and the pandemic, many people with health issues big and small did not or could not visit the doctor without the fear of getting infected. This gave rise to health and medical support apps that consolidate, modernise and disrupt the Nepali medical industry, all at once. Helping connect the public to doctors and hospitals via just a few screen taps, these apps are a boon to those who cannot travel easily or struggle to make time for their family’s or their own health. Here are a few of the many digital assisting apps that help us stay healthy and worry-free:
Hamro Doctor is a super handy app that offers all kinds of medical support and informative services. These online consultations are quick, convenient and half the price you pay to visit doctors physically. They offer information, including but not limited to an index of doctors according to field of medicine, a detailed menu of health checkup packages offered by private hospitals and ambulance service contact listing. There are also blog articles posted by doctors and live chat forums where users can ask specific health questions to doctors.
Dividing relevant health services into digital departments such as Coronavirus, Skin and Sex, Sugar, Thyroid and Heart, ENT, Cancer, and Women’s Health and Pregnancy, makes it convenient for users to search for immediate help in the concerned department of health. All this, without the hassle of waiting rooms, standing in queues, wasting time filling paperwork and at the billing counter, etc. Additionally, a health feed with news and updates, blood donation information services and a feature that allows uploading of medical reports are also available on the app.
Not only does Hamro Doctor democratise and make expert medical support widely available for all Nepalis, it also makes socially awkward zones such as mental health problems and sex or genital related issues easier to address, thanks to the privacy and one-on-one direct nature of online consultation.
Jeevee is a professional, attractively designed one-stop health app that offers a range of health support services. The app offers online appointments and the option to upload your prescription to smoothly order medicines. A database of over 1000 doctors offers 100% online consultations. Jeeve also has a convenient e-commerce section with over 20,000 products such as medical devices, baby care products, personal care items, ayurvedic medicine, orthopedic accessories and dental care.
In case the user has difficulty finding the concerned category, they can also use the search bar on top to find the product they’re looking for. Positive customer reviews confirm that Jeevee does not charge delivery fees, allows ordering from different vendors in the shopping cart and also offers competitive prices that are often cheaper than the nearest drug store.
The Namaste Doctor feature has both free and pro (paid) models for patients to choose from, allowing them to consult with a doctor digitally without visiting them at their clinic. The pro version includes not 1 but 2 consultation sessions, 15 minutes of video calling, priority access, as well as lab and medical reports to make the consultation experience fully satisfying for the patient. Another useful feature of the app is the user’s ability to create profiles of themselves as well as their family members, and have access to their medical records and history all in one place.
Cura Health was built to make sure that people can seek medical help without losing out on valuable time, digitally via this app. The app is designed to bridge the gap between patients and medical professionals. Unlike other health and medical apps, users cannot enter the home page without registering or signing in, and providing all their vital statistics (height, weight, blood type, disease history, etc.), as well as an emergency contact number, a thoughtful touch that physical forms at hospitals make mandatory but other apps seem to have skipped.
With no bugs and a smooth interface, this app is the epitome of simplicity. However, without an extensive main menu and comprehensive search bar, it leaves the user wanting. With time, after building a larger database of doctors and medical practitioners, this app has the potential to go a long way. Until then, Cura enjoys customer loyalty and appreciation with satisfying booking services that help patients skip lines at hospitals, thus helping save time every time they make a trip to the doctor’s.
NepMeds is a digital healthcare provider that is available on both web and mobile, offering medical shopping services and connecting users to doctors, laboratories, vaccination services, digital health record storage facilities, and tips on staying fit and happy. Currently, NepMeds operates in Kathmandu and Chitwan but aims to soon expand to other major cities of Nepal. NepMeds puts a focus on secure payment (128-bit SSL encryption) for e-shopping as well as affordable prices offered by reliable professional parties, to ensure customer satisfaction. The Health Library is a blog section that is filled with articles that bust myths, clear doubts, share benefits of certain foods – plus, keep the audience informed with knowledge on Coronavirus, dengue, fever and such super relevant health problems.
In order to increase its number of users, NepMeds has a referral and rewards system that helps users earn wallet balance when they introduce others to the app. The app keeps updating its home feed with quick health tips, and also promises additional unique features that will get introduced soon, such as a medicine reminder, BMI measurement tool, and medicine refill hints to make sure users don’t miss a single day of regular medication.
Drugs Nepal is a brilliant simple single-purpose app that offers free, detailed information about thousands of drugs available in Nepal. Its main advantage is that it is available for offline use after the first time of loading the app, by storing all the information locally. The user needs to simply open up the app when connected to WiFi or mobile data and the updated information gets automatically synced for offline use again.
This digital medicine directory allows users to search either by generic name or brand name of the drug. The directory looks appealing at first scroll, but the lack of information in the drug detail pages, like missing info or the word ‘NULL’ in certain categories, is admittedly disappointing. With improvement on the data entry side and minimum front-end tweaks, this purely informative app can be a less used but lightweight, to keep handy at all times. Because this app does not require two-way communication between parties and user inputs or information uploads yet, it is one-dimensional and uncomplicated.
The Ministry of Health and Population officially launched this app in April 2020 as a quick response measure to the global Coronavirus pandemic. It requests enabling of the Bluetooth feature to help improve contact tracing and track people who might accidentally spread Covid-19. It also offers a warning feature when the user is in close proximity to a device (individual), who is in the red zone.
It has received criticism for only doing the base minimum of Coronavirus tracking, updating the app with daily new cases, offering a few mobile numbers and hotline number for emergency Covid-19 support, a Covid-19 self-assessment online automated test, and a plasma donation form section that allows both donors and requesters to fill necessary information to donate or receive. Many users have complained online that it is not a complete, comprehensive, efficient app that asks the right questions to ensure that users feed information that will prove useful and accurate.
While the app is named Hamro Swasthya, it is essentially only a Coronavirus tracking and information sharing app, which is rather misleading. Aside from this minor concern, the Hamro Swasthya app has potential to turn into a handy resource that offers online appointment booking at government hospitals and free digital services. The assumption that government-led initiatives are not as modern, efficient and professional as the private sector could be challenged by improving on the product to create a super health app that benefits the average Nepali in a way that private sector apps cannot.