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Empowering patients through health apps

Article-Empowering patients through health apps

Canva health-apps
Health apps can also have an impact on improving sustainability in healthcare.

Health apps today are essential in empowering patients to manage their health through digitally enabled care pathways. The apps help broaden access to healthcare services and increase awareness of the wider population’s well-being. A successful example is the recent launch of UAE’s homegrown brand, Aster Healthcare’s ‘myAster’ app, which provides residents easy access to its hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and pharmacies.

In an interview, Dr. Sherbaz Bichu, CEO & Specialist Anaesthetist, Aster Hospital, highlighted that the myAster app is unique because it incorporates a patient’s history and is reportedly the only platform that integrates connection with insurance providers. When patients register on the app, they will be able to get information about their insurance eligibility and approvals. Furthermore, post the consultation, they can view their prescriptions and book a follow-up appointment via the app, which can also be done through teleconsultation in the app itself.

Dr Sherbaz Bichu - Photograph.jpg

Dr. Sherbaz Bichu

“The app offers a 360-degree solution wherein we completely map the patient journey. We have already received a great response, and many of our appointments are getting booked through the app,” he shared.

When asked if the teleconsultation feature is here to stay, Dr. Bichu said that even though telehealth passed its peak during the pandemic, there is still good momentum around it. “The pandemic was a good catalyst for telehealth, but the number of users has decreased compared to the last few years. It will take some time for people to adjust and adopt it again. However, there is great scope for it in follow-up consultations,” he added.

Aster Healthcare has also focused its efforts on sustainability and has integrated 10 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies. Launching the app, said Dr. Bichu, is also in line with the Group’s sustainability initiatives.

“We will get wiped out if we are not ahead of the curve. Like any other industry, competition could come from anywhere. For instance, a FinTech company could come in and completely transform the industry. I always give the example of Konica and Kodak; when digital technologies caught up with them, they didn’t give much attention to it, and their business model was dismantled. In healthcare, we need to be cognizant that if not today, tomorrow, it will all be about digital health. So, we are getting our boots on the floor to ensure we are in the game,” he concluded.

This article appears in Omnia Health magazine. Read the full issue online today.

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