Despite political and economic question marks, saving lives and preventing further pandemic strife requires the contactless premise of telemedicine.

Even a troubled country such as Myanmar is not closed off from the global push for digital transformation.

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise there, more state resources have needed to be channeled to combat the infection spread.

One way to help the population while minimizing strain on the public healthcare system has been telemedicine. This is what led to a joint venture called HOPE Telecare, formed between Myanmar’s Blue Ocean Investment Limited, TELEMED Company Limited, and DOC2US of Heydoc International Sdn Bhd.

The digital healthcare platform provides free virtual health consultations via volunteer doctors. Its chairman, Htun Htun Naing, said: “About 70% of our close-to-55m population is in rural areas where doctors are not easily found, while our internet penetration rate is growing at more than 10% year-on-year from the current 43%. We believe telemedicine is the way forward to improve the quality of care in the country.” 

The name HOPE stands for “Helping Our People Everyday”, and the digital platform can rely on the telemedicine expertise of stakeholder DOC2US—the first telemedicine provider approved by Malaysia’s Ministry of Health to provide digitally signed e-prescriptions.

In turn, DOC2US leverages Microsoft Azure to provide HOPE with a system to run and support the healthcare platform where users and healthcare professionals link up. For the upcoming phases of providing technical consultation to HOPE, DOC2US will be incorporating blockchain technology for electronic health records, AI and digital signature systems. 

According to the firm’s CEO Dr Raymond Choy: “This joint venture is the first step for DOC2US to extend our locally developed technology and healthcare solution to countries beyond Malaysia. By replicating DOC2US’ existing proven system and business model with ‘hyper-localized’ elements, together with our partners, we aim to complement the physical healthcare ecosystem in Myanmar by freeing up physical medical resources to those who need it.”

The firm aims to expand its interests to neighboring countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.