Global hospital chain operator IHH Healthcare rolls out telemedicine amid Covid-19 pandemic

15, May. 2020

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

KUALA LUMPUR, NNA – Major Malaysian hospital operator IHH Healthcare Berhad has fully launched telemedicine in major countries and regions where it runs hospitals amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes as IHH has provided remote medical care services in India and Turkey since last March, stepping up efforts to meet the evolving needs of patients worldwide, it said in a statement Wednesday.

Major Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. is the largest shareholder of the global hospital operator, holding a 32.9 percent voting share.

The initiative was part of its refreshed strategy to use digitaization and innovation to meet the evolving needs of its patients, the company said in response to NNA’s query on Friday. “Already, we have seen strong traction for our virtual consultation services.”

The company continues to see a steady flow of acute and semi-elective cases at its facilities. “Also, it is providing additional services as part of efforts to help governments combat Covid-19, for instance in taking in Covid-19 patients and providing testing services,” it said.

“We understand that many patients cannot or may choose not to visit these physical facilities in person now,” Kelvin Loh, managing director and CEO, said in the statement. “Our patients can now enjoy peace of mind and access to uninterrupted quality medical care whether from their homes or at our facilities.”

Virtual consultations will be provided at all its 15 hospitals in Malaysia operating under the brand names of “Pantai” and “Gleneagles” as well as Parkway Shenton clinics in Singapore and Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong, among other medical institutions.

The new service is only for non-emergency cases and doctors will make judgement calls on whether the patient requires in-person follow-up or transfer to IHH facilities.

IHH has already introduced remote healthcare services at Fortis hospitals in India and Acibadem Hospital in Turkey.

For the Malaysian market, the patients can choose to have medications delivered to their doorsteps or arrange for pick-up at IHH’s Gleneagles and Pantai hospitals, according to the company.

Since it launched the service in late March, IHH has provided more than 12,000 teleconsultations in India and over 1,300 in Turkey.

In late March, IHH announced it made a capital investment in Doctor Anywhere (DA), a Singapore-based newly emerging telehealth company, as part of DA’s $27 million Series B round fundraising to expand its platform and enter new geographical areas in Southeast Asia.

It said the move, for which it “co-led a minority investment,” was part of its strategy of partnering with innovative companies that deploy cutting-edge healthcare technology, adding that it would enhance the patient’s experience, treatment and clinical outcomes at its 77 hospitals in 10 countries and regions.

The global hospital operator employs more than 55,000 people and operates over 15,000 licensed beds across those regions.