SELangkah Covid-19 App Wins Singapore AI Award For Health Tech

Besides Covid features, SELangkah can soon keep one’s electronic health record and data – including BMI, blood sugar etc, plus prescriptions – besides hosting an online pharmacy and e-wallet.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 – Selangkah Ventures Sdn Bhd (SVSB) has won the AI (artificial intelligence) award for health care technology from Singapore Business Review (SBR) for its Covid-19 app, SELangkah.

The Malaysia Technology Excellence Awards 2022 hosted by Singaporean business magazine Singapore Business Review said SVSB – which is a subsidiary of Selgate Healthcare Sdn Bhd that is owned by the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) – is up for “revolutionary growth after proving its capabilities” through the SELangkah mobile application that was first launched by the Selangor state government as a Covid-19 contact tracing app.

“The annual awards programme recognises exceptional companies who are riding the disruption wave and are leading the technological revolution and digital journeys of their respective industries to boost Malaysia’s fast-growing economy,” SBR said last Wednesday.

“In giving this award, the judging panel took notice of the different features of the SELangkah app.”

SELangkah, which comes in English and Bahasa Malaysia, was launched in Selangor in May 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic for contact tracing via QR code scans. About 35 million logs have been recorded on SELangkah, according to SBR.

Besides contact tracing, the SELangkah mobile app also has features for home quarantine monitoring through a home assessment tool with reminder notifications, to book Covid-19 screenings subsidised by the Selangor state government and Covid-19 vaccination under the state’s coronavirus inoculation programme, and to report Covid-19 test results.

The mobile app’s Mental Sehat provides a mental health support package from the Selangor state government.

SELangkah not only has Covid-19-related functions, but will soon allow users to keep their electronic health records and personal health information on the app, including data on one’s blood pressure reading, blood sugar level, pulse rate, oxygen level, body temperature, and body mass index (BMI).

The app will also enable users to list prescriptions for current and long-term medications that they’re on. SELangkah users will be able to list on the app a history of their medical screenings.

SELangkah will even be able to store one’s medical images, medical lab reports, medical certificates, and referral letters for health care facilities.

SVSB chief information officer Dr Helmi Zakariah told CodeBlue that SELangkah’s features for electronic health records and personal health data – which are currently under trial and not fully functional on the app yet – are targeted for launching by the end of the second quarter of this year.

“With our health care service partner – Selcare, the Selangor state health care arms and its panels of health care providers – we are currently tweaking to optimise the operation and the digital doctor-patient interactions,” he said.

SVSB also plans to establish interoperability between SELangkah and commercial health apps, such as Apple Health for iPhone users, Google Fit for Android users, and fitness app MyFitnessPal.

“By 2022, with Malaysia now transiting to endemicity, it’s wise for Selangkah to pivot to the next big health problem – increasing prevalence of NCD (non-communicable diseases), missed care and service gaps for NCDs and mental health, and preventive and promotive care,” said Dr Helmi.

So far, SVSB has only partnered with state-owned Selgate Healthcare for electronic health record functions on SELangkah.

“We are designing a nifty ‘expressed consent’ feature, which means the data can only be accessed for that particular visit for that particular purpose. And users have to consent for it. Likewise, I’d like to have a trail of medical professionals accessing user data that can be viewed by the user,” Dr Helmi said.

The SELangkah app features an online pharmacy called SelCare Store, where users can purchase prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicine, vitamin supplements, health devices, rehab items, disposables, first aid, and personal care products that can be delivered to one’s home.

To purchase prescription drugs, users are required to upload their prescription onto the app.

Besides medical and health features, SELangkah has a digital payment function through the Selangkah Wallet, with merchant partners from utility billers and mobile operators, such as Indah Water Konsortium, Astro, Celcom, Maxis, and Digi, among others.

The app’s Selangkah Biz invites businesses to join the e-marketplace on the app that touts 1.53 million monthly users. Participating merchants are not limited to using Selangkah Wallet, but can accept customer payments from other e-wallets.

SELangkah can also post digital micro ads by the app’s merchants.

When asked if SELangkah users have expressed any concern about the commercialisation of the app, Dr Helmi said SELangkah has fulfilled requests from a handful of users to opt-out and to have their data removed when they choose to, in line with Section 7 of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) 2010.

“The new version of Selangkah that will be coming out soon will make it easier for users to choose their options and have control over their data through in-app settings.”

The federal and state governments, however, are exempted from the PDPA. SELangkah’s privacy policy states that the app’s privacy practices are in line with the PDPA.

Dr Helmi maintained that commercial merchants on SELangkah will not be able to access users’ personal health and medical data on the app.

He also said that SELangkah follows the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) because the app is placed on Apple and Google, describing the app as “state-owned, privately managed”. Selgate Healthcare Sdn Bhd, which owns SVSB, is a private company registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia. Selgate Healthcare’s parent company, PKNS, is owned by the Selangor state government.

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