Pfizer today announced its collaboration with DoctorOnCall to launch a digital therapeutics platform that focuses on three key therapeutic areas namely smoking cessation, vaccination, and heart health. Catering to an increasingly tech-savvy and mobile audience, the digital therapeutics platform is designed to empower Malaysians to take charge of their health, help improve disease management and quality of life while providing guidance and resources to facilitate better communication between patients and their healthcare providers.
The digital therapeutics platform spans across three “health centres” on DoctorOnCall’s website that houses resources for the following therapeutic areas in Bahasa Malaysia and English:
– Health Centre – Smoking Cessation / Pusat Kesihatan – Berhenti Merokok
– Health Centre – Vaccination / Pusat Kesihatan – Vaksinasi
– Health Centre – Heart Health / Pusat Kesihatan – Kesihatan Jantung
Bridging the gap between patients, doctors, and healthcare systems through digital health
Over the past year, media reports and first-hand accounts from medical practitioners highlighted harrowing stories of patients whose treatment had been disrupted due to COVID-19 and the government’s enforced nationwide movement restriction order. Last year, the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) confirmed that some patients who have suffered heart attacks and stroke have stayed away from hospitals recently because of COVID-19. Therefore, digital health platforms like DoctorOnCall have provided convenience to patients who need immediate health advice but cannot visit a doctor during this critical time, as it allows the patients to quickly check in with a doctor for guidance virtually.
“While COVID-19 was devastating in its impact and effect in so many areas of healthcare delivery, it also presented opportunities for us to rethink and reset a new normal. The adoption of digital health and virtual care will play a bigger role in how healthcare is delivered going forward,” said Ms Luksanawan Thangpaibool, Country Manager, Pfizer Malaysia & Brunei.
“Pfizer, as a patient-centric company, is committed to helping people live their healthiest lives, which means getting the care they need when they need it. Through this partnership with DoctorOnCall, we hope to provide patients and healthcare providers in Malaysia with resources to stay connected and make informed decisions, both during this pandemic and in the future,” added Ms Luksanawan Thangpaibool.
Offering digital resources for smoking cessation, vaccination, and heart health
The three health centres provide patients with a rich user experience, where they will have access to an array of health tips and articles, educational videos as well as engagement tools such as quizzes and games, for e.g. smoking savings calculator, hypertension risk factor quiz and vaccination games amongst others.
Smoking cessation: The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever seen, killing more than eight million people a year globally, and the economic costs are substantial – including significant healthcare costs for treating illnesses directly linked to smoking. In Malaysia, 1017 per 100,000 populations deaths was reported due to smoking-related illnesses, making it a primary cause of death in Malaysia since the 1980s. In light of this, the smoking cessation health centre on DoctorOnCall’s website provides tips on how to quit smoking for good. Through the platform, patients can also calculate how much money they can save if they quit smoking now and how quickly their lungs could blacken based on their smoking behaviour.
Engagement tools to support and encourage patients to quit smoking
Vaccination: The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how important vaccines are in protecting us from vaccine-preventable diseases. According to the WHO, vaccines have successfully prevented 2 to 3 million deaths from diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles, pneumococcal and influenza. In Malaysia, pneumococcal disease is one of the most widespread vaccine-preventable diseases. Outcomes of pneumococcal diseases are serious and potentially fatal, hence preventive measures such as vaccination are the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease. To help members of the public understand more about vaccines and immunisations, as well as to dispel common misconceptions on this topic, the vaccination health centre on DoctorOnCall’s website contains informational articles and videos as well as a free doctor consult initiative. Patients can also learn how much they can save from the possibility of hospitalization and treatment costs, by getting vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.
Heart health: Cardiovascular diseases have been the leading cause of death in Malaysian since the early 1980s. The NCVD-ACS (National Cardiovascular Disease Database – Acute Coronary Syndrome) registry of 2014-2015 showed that Malaysians suffer heart attacks at a younger age compared to those in developed countries. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice. The prevalence of AF was estimated globally at 33.5 million in 2010 and will continue to rise with increasing age, increasing health care awareness and improving diagnostic tools7. As AF has strong associations with cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, heart failure and hypertension, it will inevitably generate a substantial burden on the future cost of healthcare7. In a bid to help Malaysians learn more about the heart anatomy, disorders and tips on managing heart health, the health centre on DoctorOnCall’s website allows patients to check their risk of hypertension with the Hypertension Risk Calculator. Patients can also find out their risk of stroke by taking a self-assessment quiz on the platform.
Engagement tools to help patients understand their hypertension and stroke risk
“In today’s digital age where health education is looking towards nurturing long-lasting behavioural changes that will result in a better health environment, we have a responsibility to drive innovations that elevate health outcomes in our community. Taking in the shifts in the ever-changing digital space, we are hopeful that this collaboration with Pfizer will trigger a lot of interest in the information shared and eventually a more empowered public,” said Mr Chiak Tang, Chief Operating Officer of DoctorOnCall.