May 1, 2024

About the Technology

Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, is when a healthcare provider assists a patient without having to visit in person. The session is conducted online, which the patient can either talk to the healthcare provider over the phone or via video chat. It also enables both the healthcare provider and the patient to receive and send messages through various communication mediums. (AHRQ, n.d.)

It enables a healthcare practitioner to check on his patient at home through remote monitoring methods. The remote device gathers vital signs to provide up-to-date information on blood pressure, lung function, heart beat rate, etc. Telehealth also facilitates a medium of communication for other diseases pertaining to the skin, mental health treatment, as well as urgent care illnesses such as fever, coughs and colds.

Background of the Technology

Telehealth technology has evolved since the 1950s. Closed-circuit television link-ups have been replaced by the Internet, which enables people to share video, audio, and text communications with basic, widely available equipment.

Modern devices are as small as pocket-sized and offer more robust performance and functionality than older desktop computers. High-bandwidth communications have become accessible with wireless technology. As telecommunications technologies continue to evolve, telehealth will become essential to health care delivery and education.

Telehealth has become a key component of multifaceted strategies to improve health service delivery, including in medically underserved areas in both rural and urban settings. Telehealth enables remote interactions among providers and between providers and patients, linking distant resources with more convenient sites of care.

Today, telehealth typically is categorised into three groups (AHRQ, n.d):

  • Real-time video telehealth – involves the patient and his or her primary care provider or other health care professional interacting with a remote specialist via video-conferencing or other real-time telehealth technology.
  • Store and forward (S&F) telehealth – involves the transmission of medical or health information, such as an x-ray, lab result or prescription, from one provider to another for a consultation or interpretation.
  • Home monitoring telehealth – involves the use of telehealth to remotely monitor health status. Data weight such as blood pressure, or glucose level are captured via medical devices in the patient’s home and then transmitted to a provider via the Internet.

Applications and benefits of the technology

Benefits of applying telehealth in modern life nowadays consist of the following (Guht, 2023):

(a) Convenience and accessibility

The technology enables patients to access healthcare services without having to travel or wait in long lines. Everything can be done from the comfort of their own home or office.

(b) Affordability

It provides the healthcare provider and the patient with a cost effective method as the cost of online consultations is typically much cheaper than seeing a healthcare professional in person.

(c) Increased Efficiency

Besides cost savings, the technology also allows the patient and the healthcare provider to save time as the access to a specialist’s help is available from far away, whenever and wherever they need it.

(d) Provides Better Insight for the Patient

Telehealth covers several disciplines for monitoring health at home. It allows patients to understand the notion of healthcare in the round and get to grips with methods of dealing with their condition, managing triggers and potentially preventing further health problems.

(e) Patient Engagement

The technology provides more engagement in providing vital signs or real-time symptoms, and reminders to patients to take medication, appointments, as well as informative videos or posts to improve patients’ conditions.

Trends and Opportunities for the Technology

Malaysia’s telehealth industry has found new growth opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic after struggling to go normal prior to the crisis. Local telehealth companies and hospitals believe that the pandemic crisis in Malaysia has strengthened the foundation of digital health care services in the country.

Telehealth was a slow growing industry prior to the Covid-19 crisis. After several lockdown measures were implemented as well as shifting from pandemic to endemic, health care providers have observed a shift in consumer behaviour where people are now more accepting of digital conveniences in health care. Feedback from customers has shown that live video communications technology is a crucial platform for doctors to reinforce treatment adherence and maintain patient’s health.

Telehealth enables cost savings through improvements, accessibility and affordability. When medical care is made more accessible and affordable, there will be lesser patients delaying treatment and only seeking medical attention when they develop complications. Telemedicine-based screening of diabetic retinopathy is more cost-effective compared to traditional family physician-based screening.

Malaysia’s age-old Telemedicine Blueprint, that was established by the Ministry of Health on July 25, 1997, envisioned that, by the year 2020, the nation’s health care system would be transformed with the developments of advanced health systems through harnessing the power of information and multimedia technologies. (MHTC, 2020)

Players in the Industry

DoctorOnCall, Malaysia’s first digital health platform that connects patients with an extensive network of health care professionals, such as doctors and pharmacists, was founded in 2016. The company provides teleconsultation services, medication delivery services and Covid-19 screening services.

Speedoc was founded in 2017 in Singapore. The company provides on-demand house call doctors, nurses, and ambulance services, with a medicine delivery service under development. Speedoc has also built an application with a complete end-to-end system for doctors and patients to enable remote medical care for patients 24/7.

Another provider of doctor house-call services, HomeGP, also reported an increase of about 40 to 50 percent of their current customers’ usage of WhatsApp video calls for teleconsultation services. The local company was founded in 2014. HomeGP connects patients with house-call doctors and trained homecare nurses. The company also offers private home caregivers, licensed physiotherapists, pathology lab services and medicine courier services.

Some private hospitals, such as Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV), Pantai Hospitals and Gleneagles Hospitals, also rolled out telemedicine or teleconsultation services after the coronavirus outbreak, as society adapted to the new norm of safe social distancing. The development came about due to the need to decrease face-to-face consultations between health care providers and patients as there is a risk of virus transmission to both parties.

On another development, Parkway Pantai has recently launched a teleconsultation service, called the eHealth Video Consultation at its hospitals in Malaysia. The launch of eHealth Video Consultation, a telemedicine service in Malaysia, is part of Parkway Pantai’s effort to meet the evolving needs of patients. Parkway Pantai operates 15 hospitals in Malaysia, including 11 Pantai Hospitals and four Gleneagles Hospitals, as well as ancillary healthcare services including Pantai Integrated Rehab and Pantai Premier Pathology. Parkway Pantai is part of IHH Healthcare, one of the world’s largest health care groups by market capitalisation.


Telehealth is a term that has gained a lot of interest, especially in the post-pandemic era. Ensuring patients have a connection with their healthcare provider contributes to greater peace of mind as well as better access to information and understanding of their own health condition.

The technology enables doctors to provide continuous care to their patients. It is a value-added service specifically for patients, who are unable to travel to the hospital due to certain circumstances, to continue receiving medical care. Consultation through telehealth only functions as an alternative channel in addition to walk-in appointments for patients to consult their doctors.

Nevertheless, telehealth is unable to replace face-to-face healthcare activities that cannot be done virtually. It is still important for patients to meet the doctor in person as it allows the healthcare provider to proceed with a medical assessment that includes visual and physical examinations as well as treatment recommendations.

It is concluded that telehealth creates value for our patients by reducing waiting times, follow-up calls and medical delivery to their homes.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ, n.d.) Digital Healthcare Research Telehealth.,began%20using%20closed-circuit%20TV%20to%20monitor%20patients%20remotely.

Jessica Guht (2023, March 13) What is Telehealth.

Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) (2020, June 8) Malaysia Telehealth Grows In Contactless World Malaysia.

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