GEORGE TOWN, July 15 — Don’t want to brave the jam just to see a doctor for the flu or minor conditions like constipation?

Instead of self-medicating by buying medications at pharmacies, there is an easier and safer way — through DoctorOnCall at www.doctoroncall.com.my.

DoctorOnCall is a pioneer telehealth platform in Malaysia that provides medical consultation through phone calls or video calls at a low fee of only RM20.

DoctorOnCall co-founder and director Maran Virumandi said the platform boasts over 100 certified and registered doctors to provide consultation and over 200 pharmacists to dispense medicines prescribed by the doctors.

“Our doctors are certified and registered with the Health Ministry, so patients can be assured of professional consultation when they go to DoctorOnCall,” he said.

He said the website’s health services mostly cover minor, low-risk and non-complex ailments that can be diagnosed through phone calls or video calls, such as conjunctivitis, the common cold, diarrhoea and migraines.

“The registered patient has an option to purchase the prescribed medicine from our site or the doctor can give them a prescription and they can go to a pharmacy to purchase their own medicine,” he said in a tele-interview with Malay Mail.

He said for those who have no access to transport to see a doctor or to buy medicine can use the service for a diagnosis, purchase medicine and have it sent direct to their home.

The medicine will be delivered within two to four hours for patients in the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Baru, while those in other states will get their medicines the next day through courier.

Maran said they dispense all medications except for those listed under the Dangerous Drugs Act and psychotropic drugs.

The site also provides free medical advice to those who want clarification on certain health issues or conditions.

“We get a lot of calls on sexual health care, family planning and sexually transmitted diseases as these are considered taboo and many young women or men are too shy to actually see a doctor to talk about such things,” he said.

Since the consultation is over the phone, the doctors will issue referral letters for conditions that they deem serious so that the patient can seek full medical help at any clinic or hospital near them.

He said the convenience of the telehealth platform will be a good option for those who do not have time to go to a doctor physically to get prescriptions for medicines.

“This is better than the patients going to a pharmacy to purchase medicines on their own without prescriptions as this is potentially dangerous,” he said.

Telehealth or telemedicine is not something new as such platforms are available in the United States, India and China.

Maran said China has three public-listed telehealth companies and India has over 120 telehealth companies.

Currently, there is no certification for telehealth or telemedicine in Malaysia, but Maran said they are working closely with the Health Ministry to ensure that they do not break any regulations.

This includes ensuring all of their doctors and pharmacists are registered with the Health Ministry.

DoctorOnCall is also recognised by some insurance companies, so patients can claim insurance for the medical care provided through the platform.

Registering and getting a doctor consultation through the platform is a simple three-step process on www.doctoroncall.com.my.