KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Pfizer has announced a collaboration with DoctorOnCall to launch a digital therapeutics platform that focuses on three key therapeutic areas, namely smoking cessation, vaccination, and heart health.
Catering to an increasingly tech-savvy and mobile audience, the digital therapeutics platform is designed to empower Malaysians to take charge of their health, help improve disease management and quality of life while providing guidance and resources to facilitate better communication between patients and their health care providers.
- Smoking Cessation / Pusat Kesihatan – Berhenti Merokok
- Vaccination / Pusat Kesihatan – Vaksinasi
- Heart Health / Pusat Kesihatan – Kesihatan Jantung
Over the past year, media reports and first-hand accounts from medical practitioners have highlighted stories of patients whose treatments were disrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the government’s enforced nationwide Movement Control Order.
Last year, the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) confirmed that some patients who have suffered heart attacks and strokes have stayed away from hospitals because of the pandemic.
Therefore, digital health platforms like DoctorOnCall will benefit patients who need immediate health advice but cannot visit a doctor during this critical time, as it allows the patients to quickly check in with a doctor for guidance virtually.
“While Covid-19 was devastating in its impact in so many areas of health care delivery, it also presented opportunities for us rethink and adopt a new normal. The adoption of digital health and virtual care will play a bigger role in how health care is delivered going forward,” said Luksanawan Thangpaibool, Country Manager, Pfizer Malaysia & Brunei.
“Pfizer, as a patient centric company, is committed to helping people live healthily, which means getting the care they need, when they need it. Through this partnership with DoctorOnCall, we hope to provide patients and health care providers in Malaysia with resources to stay connected and make informed decisions, both during this pandemic and in the future,” Thangpaibool added.
The three health centres provide patients with a rich user experience, where they will have access to an array of health tips and articles, educational videos as well as engagement tools such as quizzes and games, e.g. smoking savings calculator, hypertension risk factor quiz and vaccination games, amongst others.
The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever seen, killing more than eight million people a year globally, and the economic costs are substantial – including significant health care costs for treating illnesses directly linked to smoking.
In Malaysia, 1,017 per 100,000 populations deaths were reported due to smoking-related illnesses, making it a primary cause of death in Malaysia since the 1980s.
In light of this, the smoking cessation health centre on DoctorOnCall’s website provides tips on how to quit smoking for good.
Through the platform, patients can also calculate how much money they can save if they quit smoking now and how quickly their lungs could blacken based on their smoking behaviour.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how important vaccines are in protecting us from vaccine-preventable diseases. According to the WHO, vaccines have successfully prevented two to three million deaths from diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles, pneumococcal and influenza.
In Malaysia, pneumococcal disease is one of the most widespread vaccine-preventable diseases. Outcomes of pneumococcal diseases are serious and potentially fatal, hence preventive measures such as vaccination are the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease.
To help members of the public understand more about vaccines and immunisations, as well as to dispel common misconceptions on this topic, the vaccination health centre on DoctorOnCall’s website contains informational articles and videos as well as free doctor consult initiatives.
Patients can also learn how much they can save from being hospitalised and from treatment costs, by getting vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.
Cardiovascular diseases have been the leading cause of death in Malaysian since the early 1980s. The NCVD-ACS (National Cardiovascular Disease Database – Acute Coronary Syndrome) registry of 2014-2015 showed that Malaysians suffer heart attacks at a younger age compared to those in developed countries.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice. The prevalence of AF was estimated globally at 33.5 million in 2010, and will continue to rise with increasing age, increasing health care awareness and improving diagnostic tools.
As AF has strong associations with cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, heart failure and hypertension, it will inevitably generate a substantial burden on the future costs of health care.
To help Malaysians learn more about the heart anatomy, disorders and tips on managing heart health, the health centre on DoctorOnCall’s website allows patients to check their risk of hypertension with the hypertension risk calculator. Patients can also find out their risk of stroke by taking a self-assessment quiz on the platform.
“In today’s digital age where health education is looking towards nurturing long lasting behavioural changes that will result in a better health environment, we have a responsibility to drive innovations that elevate health outcomes in our community. Taking in the shifts in the ever-changing digital space, we are hopeful that this collaboration with Pfizer will trigger a lot of interest in the information shared and eventually a more empowered public,” said Chiak Tang, Chief Operating Officer of DoctorOnCall.
For more information about the three health centres, please visit https://www.doctoroncall.com.my/