Ring a Doctor is a online service that connects patients and doctors 24/7 and in real-time .
It is an cloud-based platform, featuring a network of doctors/specialists that can attend to patients online, via a secure video link. They offer a vast network of doctors, from General Physicians to those who are specialists in their respective fields of medicine.
A rising trend in telehealth platforms has been observed in Pakistan over the past few years. Several telehealth/telemedicine companies appeared such as marham.pk, dawaai.pk, TeleSehat, and My Zindagi etc. Many of these services however deal with booking appointments and medicine delivery. Only a handful allow patient-to-doctor consultations and even those are with specific doctors.
Ring a Doctor intends to set itself apart from other medical services platforms by offering a more direct and personalized experience for its users.
What Sets Ring a Doctor Apart?
- Just like My Zindagi, Ring a Doctor offers its patients consultations with doctors over live video. However, unlike My Zindagi and other telehealth platforms operating in Pakistan, Ring a Doctor offers more control to patients and is more inviting for doctors. Patients have the liberty to explore the database of doctors, read their profiles and make informed decisions prior to connecting with them.
- Patients can chat with doctors without any additional charge.
- Patients can choose to book appointments either for an online consultation or a clinic visit.
- Patients can book doctors for a house call as well. This facility depends on the location of the doctor and the patient.
- Doctors can also register their accounts with Ring a Doctor and offer their services.
Speaking to Ring a Doctor, we learnt about the rigorous registration and review process they implement to bring doctors onboard from around the world.
What Ring a Doctor Offers
The telehealth concept is the foundation for Ring a Doctor and enables them to address the most basic issue faced by societies today – easy access to reliable doctors around the clock.
Being an online platform enables Ring A Doctor to treat patients remotely round the clock. A host of qualified doctors are online 24/7 to offer their services to patients in need.
In addition, telehealth brings various technologies to create value for patients and ensure information transparency for doctors. For example, technology makes it easier to monitor patients, follow-up and administer preventive treatment. It also makes managing chronic conditions easier.
Choose your doctor easily
Video Consultation with Doctors 24/7
Calling your preferred doctor is easy. Without having to leave the comfort of their homes, patients can avail several benefits with Ring a Doctor:
- Lower healthcare costs – saves money & time,
- Access to qualified doctors at home, office or on the go – you can now speak to doctors from anywhere in the world,
- Timely and convenient healthcare – no waiting rooms, no hassle,
- Private, cloud-based, secure audio/video consultations.
One consultation at Ring a Doctor lasts for ten minutes. The entire process from registration to speaking to a chosen doctor is easy:
- Patient registration is the first step and begins with a simple form,
- Upon successful registration, you can log in to their dashboard using your email and password,
- The dashboard shows a comprehensive list of doctors that are available and online. You can narrow down your search using the filters present in the ‘DOCTORS’ option in the left-side panel.
- Once you shortlist a doctor, you can decide to view their profile in detail. The profile includes details such as name, qualifications, years of experience, consultation charges and a brief professional profile. It even includes different reviews and ratings.
We tested out the service by making a consultation call.
The call connected flawlessly and within minutes, we had the doctor on our screen, asking different questions. The doctor summarily took stock of our medical query and sent us the prescription for the ailment.
Getting your Prescription Online
We decided to try out other aspects of Ring A Doctor platform as well:
Patients and doctors can use Chat feature too. Using this, patients can simply get in touch with their preferred doctor over messages and for free.
Of course, we were expecting the replies to be late, given the hectic schedule of doctors. In our first interactions, we received replies within minutes, which bodes well for the service.
Doctors at Ring a Doctor offer two types of appointment bookings – online and clinical. Most of the doctors at Ring a Doctor were offering both online and clinical appointments, meaning that you could speak to them over live video at a time of your choosing or visit them at their clinic.
Register Yourself as a Patient
What if you couldn’t speak to the doctor over phone and couldn’t visit them as well?
Many doctors at Ring a Doctor also offer Home Visits. Depending on the locality of the chosen doctor and one’s own city, a patient can easily book a house call.
For Islamabad, countless doctors offered home visits. However, the Home Visit facility does add up to your medical bill significantly.
Speaking with a Ring a Doctor representative, we learned that they also run an ambulance network in collaboration with IHS. Their fleet of ambulances currently serves patients in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
For urgent needs, patients can simply pick up their phones and dial 051 111 DOCTOR (362867) and request their services.
Ring a Doctor claims that it is focused on ease of use and ease of access. To that end, the service is currently available over the web and accessible at ringadoctor.com,
The service is also available on smartphones. Currently it is online at the Google Play Store. The iOS application is planned for launch on August 2017.
Requirements for Using Ring a Doctor
For web-based users:
- 2MBPS and above broadband connection for seamless video connection (users with weaker internet connections can opt for audio-only consultation)
For Android users:
- 3G/4G/LTE internet connection
- Android smartphone
- HQ camera
Ring a Doctor offers several payment methods to make it easier for users to top up their accounts:
- Debit/Credit Cards – both local and international through Telenor’s Easy Pay
- Easy Paisa via any local vendor
- Cash Collection (Ring a Doctor couriers collect cash) a patient can lodge a cash collection request and we will send TCS to collect and deliver)
- Wire Transfer (from any local bank to Ring a Doctor account)
- Ring a Doctor is currently working on mobile top up and mobile vouchers, both of which will be launched within a span of few weeks.
Ring a Doctor is currently running a promotion where a new patient account receives 2 three-minutes consultations free of charge. You can make a free consultation (which works exactly like the paid consultation) by clicking “FREE CALL” towards the top-right of the patient dashboard.
Corporate Social Responsibility
As part of its CSR, Ring a Doctor has established Remote Telehealth Points (RTPs) in several districts of Sindh where a patient is remotely connected to a qualified GP/Specialists employed by Ring a Doctor, free of charge.
RTPs are manned by medics that operate the systems necessary to connect to doctors with Ring a Doctor. A patient simply visits an RTP, registers as a patient (facilitated by the medic) after which the medic logs the symptoms and connects him with the relevant doctor.
In order to safeguard patients against quacks, doctors who hold valid licenses from the relevant authorities are free to register with Ring a Doctor.
The registration process comprises of two-steps. In the 1st step the doctor creates an account details to which can be found in the following video:
After completing the profile, the doctor submits it for review. The profile is then reviewed and all details are verified by Ring a Doctor’s in-house doctors, lawyers and administration personnel. This process reportedly takes up to three business days. Successful background checks result in approval of a doctor’s profile following which the doctor can offer services via Ring a Doctor.
We were told that currently, Ring a Doctor has a few hundred doctors approved and live, while several hundred applications are pending reviews.
With an increasing gap between doctors and patients in Pakistan, Ring a Doctor offers convenient access to reliable doctors round the clock.
Ring a Doctor aims to make healthcare not only affordable, but accessible to all. With many telehealth platforms now operating in Pakistan, Ring a Doctor has its work cut out for it.
Ring a Doctor has big plans for the foreseeable future. They are hoping to start their medicine delivery service in major cities in Pakistan, coming up with wearable tech to monitor health, and to set up telehealth kiosks in different localities. Expect to hear more from Ring a Doctor.