Idealog’s Most Innovative Health and Science: Swiftmed
Dubbed ‘a doctor on demand’, SwiftMed let users book an appointment to video chat with a qualified New Zealand GP in seconds. SwiftMed also provides immediate prescriptions to pharmacies or home delivery of medications eleven hours a day, seven days a week – the first and only service of its kind in New Zealand.
“We are a company that prides itself in offering a true work-from-home solution for doctors and offers the ultimate in convenience for patients,” says Samantha Bailey, director and co-founder of the company.
“SwiftMed has halved the cost of GP consultations for tourists and people on working holiday visas, without compromising the quality of healthcare or efficiency.”
The company also delivers other services such as medical certificates and high-quality laboratory tests to people’s homes for privacy, convenience and expediency.
“Our ethos is truly patient-focused with a desire to change the status quo of healthcare delivery in New Zealand,” says Bailey.
“We cannot accept that people should wait for treatment for simple problems, when technology holds the answer.”
Bailey first identified the opportunity in 2016 while working as a doctor and witnessing firsthand the long wait times people experience to get treatment after hours even for simple problems. After two years of development and multiple iterations, SwiftMed officially launched in December 2017.
“Everybody needs to see a doctor from time to time for numerous medical problems, however, it is usually expected that people wait to see the doctor. In almost all other contemporary industries, customers demand immediate service and efficient resolution,” says Bailey.
“Medical services have been left behind. We realised that people want to access doctors from anywhere, at any time without waiting. Most customers are comfortable with technology and are used to using their phone as their own computer, so it made sense to connect these two ideas for a very convenient solution.”
By seeing patients virtually, doctors can connect with clients from anywhere in the world with an internet connection – not a queue in sight.
“SwiftMed has established a new market and is proving that accessing medical services can be done more efficiently at comparable patient costs to GPs. In fact, I believe SwiftMed is the only general primary care platform that operates without any government subsidies.”
The tourism sector is a significant market for the company. Since launching in December 2017 SwiftMed has formed alliances with backpacker companies such as YHA, Haka Lodge and several well-known Hotel Chains that would like to offer their guests a convenient alternative to after-hours medical care at a fraction of the cost. Further alliances have been forged with 12 pharmacies across New Zealand.
“SwiftMed offers virtual doctor clinics, where a patient can book to see a doctor on their device at a pharmacy, have a consultation and receive their prescription within 20 minutes,” says Bailey. “Subsequently, we have been approached by the Southern Institute of Technology and Green Cross Health who have both proposed exciting collaborative partnerships. We’ve gained many customer referrals through these relationships, which offer the advantage of quick appointment times and superior operating hours.”
“Pharmacies that work with SwiftMed have the added bonus of not losing business to other pharmacies and being a one-stop-shop for their customers with no additional expense for the pharmacy.”