FOR someone living in the city, going back to one’s hometown to take care of ageing parents, particularly those who are unwell, is not as simple as packing a bag and leaving.
Life in the fast lane and having to cope with hectic work schedules make it quite challenging for many people to balik kampung regularly, take long leave or make arrangements to ensure their parents’ health and well-being is taken care of.
These challenges inspired a young couple, both doctors, in Slim River, Perak to start a venture called DocMove.
DocMove, which is accessible via Facebook and mobile health applications, provides consistent health and medical services to the elderly. Doctors or paramedics make house visits and do basic health checkups and services every month and even update the children of the elderly on their well-being.
Dr Hanafi Yahya founded DocMove in July last year with his wife Dr Fariza Hanim Sahir.
The couple, both 35, graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan but left their jobs with the government in 2014 to open a franchise clinic in Slim River, a small town about an hour’s journey from Kuala Lumpur. The location was among the set-up options offered by the clinic’s franchisor.
Dr Hanafi says he was inspired to establish DocMove based on his experience of treating elderly patients in the area, who made up about 30 per cent of the population.
“The stories of the elderly longing for their children’s care, or the dilemma faced by their children in dealing with their personal and work commitments while trying to give their parents attention and access to proper healthcare led me to create DocMove.
“Most adults today, including myself, face similar situations and that was why I came up with this initiative,” says Dr Hanafi who grew up in Felda Serting, Jempol, Negeri Sembilan.
DocMove helps adults whose parents are living far away or those who can’t afford to go back regularly to check on their health. The service is also meant for patientsfrom low and middle-income families in remote areas who can’t afford to travel frequently for a checkup, or can’t afford a family doctor.
“The concept is simple – rather than the patient going to the doctor, the doctor goes to the patient,” says Dr Hanafi who has been passionate about doing his part for the needy and underprivileged since his university years.
Unlike a house call where the doctor will go the patient’s house based on demand or by case, the DocMove doctor duo and their team will make their rounds or home visits (to those who signed up for the service) every month.
So far, there are 300 registered members or patients under DocMove in the small town and nearby radius (including Sungkai and Tanjung Malim), consisting mainly of Felda settlements where the houses tend to be in remote areas.
Every month, Dr Hanafi makes around 30 home visits. He rotates this routine with Dr Fariza.
This service, offered for only RM250 a year, includes basic check-ups for blood pressure or blood sugar level as well as wound dressing, nebuliser and other relevant services according to the patient’s needs and health condition.
Medication is charged separately but is always capped at an affordable price, says Dr Hanafi. The delivery of medication is provided free of charge.
“Having our own clinic makes all this more manageable. We get the medicine from our own suppliers and we try to keep prices as affordable as we can,” he says.
“We will update the children, who have registered for information on their parent’s well-being, via telephone, WhatsApp or email after each visit, and make recommendations if necessary. We also try to ensure that the parents take their medication too.”
Each patient is provided with a small notebook to record the details of every check-up and medication. “And we keep the same details on our side. Children don’t have to worry about their parents travelling on their own to go for check-ups or enduring long waits at hospitals or clinics to get their medication.
“Imagine the hassle both the elderly and their children have to face if the former is bedridden or living alone. That’s the assistance DocMove provides,” explains Dr Hanafi, a father of three.
IN THE PIPELINE
There is high demand for DocMove to be also made available in other states but Dr Hanafi and Dr Fariza are still working on the best way to implement it.
Dr Hanafi explains that DocMove is not profit-driven. It’s more like a CSR programme and those factors have made the doctors cautious and concerned. They want to ensure that they enlist doctors with the same vision to come on board when they expand the concept nationwide.
DocMove was recently made available to those living in certain areas in Kuala Lumpur but the operations (such as scheduling appointments and delegating tasks to doctors) are monitored and managed by Dr Hanafi and his wife in Slim River.
“We are working on the idea of offering our services to nearby Orang Asli settlements and to engage dentists to offer services to village communities under DocMove soon. The journey is not easy, but we are blessed to have good-hearted people who believe in what we’re doing.”
DocMove was recently approached by the Red Crescent Society which is keen to offer ambulance services for its work. MARA also helped them financially to develop an app to create awareness of their work.
CHALLENGED BY THE SCEPTICS
But the couple have not been spared from criticism, particularly from those in the medical industry.
They have been accused of selling medical services at a cheaper price and providing low quality services given their charges.
“My wife and I stand by what we believe. What we are doing goes beyond medical services. It ties inwith fardu kifayah in Islam. It’s an obligation for a Muslim to do good to benefit society.
“We are just doing our best within our capacity and capability to help those in need, says Dr Hanafi.
“More good will come to you if you think beyond financial gain and do things that benefit others. The most important thing is to believe in what you do and stand by it. By God’s will, things will come your way.”
MAKING LIVES EASIER
FOR Nor Faizah Ahmad Shimi from Felda Besout 3, Sungkai in Perak, DocMove has made it easier for her and her nine siblings to take care of their parents, Ahmad Shimi Rais and Munah Bohari, both in their late 60s.
Her father is diabetic while her mother is bedridden due to a stroke. Before Nor Faizah discovered DocMove via friends and Facebook, she and her siblings had to take turns to take their parents for check-ups. Her father goes for his routine check-up at a nearby government clinic while her mother has to be taken to the government hospital in Teluk Intan, about 60km away.
“My siblings live in other states, so when it came time for my parents’ check-ups, we had to take turns to accompany them due to work and other commitments. As they are unwell, we worry about their health and that’s why we decided to sign up with DocMove.”
Nor Faizah says with the regular check-ups and updates provided by DocMove, she and her siblings have peace of mind about their parents’ well-being.
“At least, we know that there is professional help at hand while we are away from our parents,” she says.
For details on DocMove, call 016-924 7880 or visitwww.facebook.com/DocMove
INTEGRATED HEALTHCARE SERVICES
HAVING medical services in the home is now a concept that is becoming increasingly popular.
Doctor2U (BP Healthcare Group’s homegrown technology arm), for example, is a mobile health application that offers a wide range of on-demand healthcare services including home visits by doctors, video consultations, free live chats, electronic medical health records, medication delivery and ambulance services.
Its goal is to integrate all aspects of healthcare by connecting patients, healthcare professionals, pharmacies, employers and insurers onto one single platform using technology.
Recently, Doctor2U teamed up with Prudential Assurance Malaysia and Prudential BSN Takaful to provide healthcare screening services to their would-be policyholders and certificate holders.
If a health screening is be required as part of the underwriting process, customers who have subscribed to a minimum annual premium/annual contribution can opt for a qualified doctor provided by Doctor2U to perform the necessary health tests on them at their preferred location, including their home.
Since its inception in October 2015, Doctor2U has attracted over 450,000 users, with an average of 4,000 active daily users.
For details, visitwww.doctor2u.my/prudential