PETALING JAYA, March 18 ― Malaysian medical entrepreneur Dr Chan Hai Feng was desperately finding a way to help doctors overwhelmed by physical Covid-19 screenings last year.
This was in July last year when the Covid-19 cases had reached its peak and many medical doctors were needed to perform many Covid-19 swab tests to the public.
Dr Chan, who had served in a few Sabah government hospitals before venturing into private medical practice in 2018, told Malay Mail that many of his doctor friends had also caught Covid-19 while performing the tests.
“That was when I thought about designing an application that allows anyone to do their own Covid-19 antigen tests without the doctors being physically there with them.”
The doctor, 33, who now has his own pharmacy called Borneo Care Pharmacy in Semporna believes that by getting everyone vaccinated and in conducting frequent testing, Covid-19 cases can be lowered.
“But there were so many factors that I needed to take into account - capital needed, and the intense research to make sure that the application would do well.
“It felt like there were so many obstacles coming to our side, but I was sure that I wanted to create an application that could help the doctors.
“Why was there a need for physical contact and appointments to perform Covid-19 antigen tests when this can be done in isolation?”
Researching CLEA and injecting RM500,000 into the application
The medical doctor then took the leap of faith and injected a capital of RM500,000 on an application that might or might not work for the benefit of the public.
“I had saved up throughout the years and together with capital from my investors and was ready to design the application together with my team of business consultants, designers, and tech workers.”
“This was something that was not in the market and we had to build it from scratch - and whether it would benefit the people or not.
“Our time was also spent talking to doctors from various hospitals about the feasibility of the application as part of our research.”
While any other new application would take about six to eight months to develop, he and his team took only eight weeks due to the time constraints.
He added that the application was initially designed for corporate clients but then it expanded to the general public as many were interested in using it.
“We were racing for time because we knew the market needed it fast, as the Covid-19 situation wasn't improving and we were desperate to help revive the country’s economy at that time.”
Allows doctors to virtually verify Covid-19 antigen test results
His brainchild, CLEA, was then developed and launched in October last year.
“Anyone who wants to get a professional medical report verified by a doctor needs to purchase their own Covid-19 rapid antigen kit first.
“After performing the antigen rapid test via a guided procedure through the application, a medical report with a doctor's signature can be downloaded within 12 hours.
“And the results will be sent to the National Public Health Laboratory (MKAK) where mobile app MySejahtera will extract the results and alert users on their Covid-19 situation.”
Dr Chan added the doctor’s verification is important as travellers entering Singapore via the Vaccinated-Travel-Lane need proof of a professionally administered antigen rapid test (ART) performed by doctors.
For certain official events, guests are also required to perform the Covid-19 test and show the doctor’s verification rather than just doing their own self-test kit at home.
He added that with the medical report feature, doctors from various clinics in the country are able to verify the swab tests from wherever they are without being physically present with their patients.
“Our oldest client is an 85-year-old Malaysian citizen while the youngest who has used the application is a three-month-old baby aided by his parents.
“I am glad that the application is being used by doctors throughout the country except in Perlis and Pahang ― and many doctors are very accepting of it,” he said.
Asked for his future plans, he said that he plans to expand the application overseas in neighbouring countries.