According to the World Health Organization, there are fewer than 0.9 physicians per 1,000 people in Sri Lanka on average, making access to doctors and healthcare a serious issue. This ratio hides an even deeper disparity between urban and rural areas. Hospitals are often overcrowded and waiting lines are long. Hospitals only offer outpatient services during normal working hours. Access to medical drugs can be limited and very expensive. Low-income families struggle to afford high-quality primary & secondary health care.
To address these challenges, the start-up, oDoc, is providing healthcare that is universally accessible, affordable and personal. The oDoc service connects doctors with patients, using mobile technology (smartphone app, SMS, voice, video) to provide high-quality and affordable, primary healthcare. The solution serves all segments of the population, but it is specifically designed for low-income workers as it takes away the worry of travelling long distances to meet a qualified doctor.
oDoc also provides services to businesses offered on a monthly, per-employee subscription model that gives enrolled employees unlimited access to consultations. Employees who cannot afford a smartphone can access the oDoc services through a tablet provided by their employer.
In 2018, oDoc partnered with Dialog, the country’s largest mobile network operator to integrate carrier billing with the platform and enable customers to pay for telemedicine services using mobile airtime.
oDoc also collaborated with Mobitel, the mobile operator unit of Sri Lanka Telecom in April, 2018. Mobitel owns eChannelling, one of the largest in-person appointment booking platforms in Sri Lanka. The oDoc partnership with eChannelling enables users to book oDoc video or audio consultations directly through the eChannelling website, and consultations are charged to the user’s mobile phone bill. The partnership has significantly increased the number of consultations booked through the oDoc platform.
The Ecosystem Accelerator programme is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Government, the GSMA and its members.