PETALING JAYA, Oct 24 — The Selangor state government is considering remodelling Selangkah, the state’s health application, into a super app with functions for public services across sectors.
Selangor state executive councillor for public health and environment Jamaliah Jamaluddin stressed, however, that Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari’s administration will not rush into expanding the mobile app – which had first been developed as a Covid-19 app during the pandemic – without first ensuring public trust.
“We have a lot of hope in the app. Because what we want to do, we understand the need of moving towards digitalisation, including health care, and there’s actually a lot of things that we can do with the app,” Jamaliah told CodeBlue in an interview at her Damansara Utama office last October 11.
“So right now within the Selangor state, not only under my portfolio, I feel that one of the directions we’re heading to is that we want Selangor to have our own super app. Super app that can include basically everything to do with [the] Selangor state government. From health care to probably paying your taxes or paying your parking and so on.”
The DAP lawmaker held that the Selangor state government is not going to rush the development of the super app, as they intend to create an app that Selangorians can trust, rather than put out a hastily constructed app with malfunctions.
“You cannot disappoint them (Selangorians) many times,” Jamaliah said.
She explained that making missteps even once or twice with Selangkah would cause bad public perception and that even though she hasn’t yet received privacy or security-related complaints, the state government was still careful about keeping people’s trust in the app.
“That’s why if it’s not spoiled, we don’t intend to spoil it. We intend to make sure that whatever we are doing in future will build up more confidence of Selangorians towards Selangkah.”
A May 2022 survey by CodeBlue among more than 800 respondents found that only 21 per cent felt that their personal data was safe on MySejahtera, the nation’s Covid-19 app during the pandemic. Use of the app for location check-ins was mandatory for most of the pandemic; MySejahtera was later expanded into a health app, despite uncertainty over ownership of the app that was developed by a private company without a contract with the government.
Although Jamaliah has not received any complaints regarding privacy with Selangkah, she said she has received complaints about the user-friendliness of the app, especially after updates to the app’s layout.
Whilst awaiting the state government to come to a decision on whether to adopt Selangkah as the state’s super app, Jamaliah said that she intends to enhance the app by developing a more robust system that provides detailed patient medical records and screening records and can be used in both public and private facilities.
Selangkah’s current iteration allows for the storing of electronic patient lifetime records. The records include categories such as one’s current health status that can be self-inputted by the user (weight, height, BMI, waist circumference, blood glucose level, blood pressure, and heart rate), background illnesses, appointments, referral letters, test results, medical certificates, and prescriptions.
The app also allows Selangor residents to access non-communicable diseases and mental health screening, receive welfare assistance, and even pay for items using the Selangkah e-wallet.
Jamaliah, however, said the patient records that can be stored on Selangkah are rudimentary at best, without comprehensive details like a doctor’s medical notes.
“What we want to do is that we want to digitalise the medical record in our Selangkah app, which is going to be very complicated and complex because it involves big data; it involves huge and heavy data and also involves privacy.
“It also involves efficiencies of the app. So, we are currently at this stage of researching [and] discussing what will be the best way moving towards that direction.”
Jamaliah said Selangkah is currently more focused towards the Iltizam Selangor Sihat programme that subsidises medical treatment for low-income earners at private general practitioner (GP) clinics.
“It’s not data that, for example, you have done screening, what has the doctor commented, all that. We don’t really have that kind of information within the app yet, which is something that we want to develop at this moment of time, so that it’s easier for anybody. If they visit a hospital or clinic, others can access the data.
“But, like I said, that will require more time, because there’s a lot of things that we’re discussing right now about privacy, about how much we need to spend by building up the system, and how we’re going to collaborate with other private hospitals or GPs.”