We take a look at four innovative healthtech companies in Malaysia, including a cloud-based appointment platform and a wearable diabetes management device
A recent report by analytics company GlobalData said the growing healthtech industry in Malaysia offers “myriad opportunities” for innovative companies.
Government policies and investments over the past few years have been indicative of the country’s attempts to push the industry forward, and create a “conducive business environment” for domestic and foreign firms alike.
Speaking earlier in 2020, GlobalData’s healthcare analyst Pooja Srivastava said: “Malaysia is considering collaboration as a key to address the current healthcare challenges it is facing and to drive its healthtech market forward.
“This offers strategic partnering and distribution opportunities to foreign firms with a global outlook, and a ground for investment for both domestic and foreign start-ups.”
Here we take a look at four Malaysian healthtech companies looking to capitalise on this trend and make a name for themselves in 2020 and beyond.
Healthtech companies innovating in Malaysia
QueueMed is a cloud-based service for healthcare providers that centralises all the various channels through which patients can book medical appointments.
Using the QueueMed smartphone app, patients simply select a doctor and appointment time and date to suit
The app will send automatic appointment reminders to patients. The timing of these can be customised to improve efficiency and reduce missed appointments.
Users are also provided with a live feed showing how many people are ahead of them in the queue, meaning they can plan their journey accordingly and avoid lengthy waiting times.
QueueMed says its app ultimately simplifies and improves healthcare access for patients.
It also reduces phone call volumes and mobile queues, easing the administrative burden on healthcare providers — allowing them to devote more time to patients.
As a multi-channel service, it allows people to book appointments from several other applications including WhatsApp, Facebook and Google. The QueueMed app also means all e-payments can be sent and received in one place.
QueueMed was founded in 2018 by Kev Lim – a doctor and tech enthusiast who also previously worked for the Malaysian Ministry of Health for five years. He is also the company’s CEO.
The healthcare IT firm is based in Kuala Lumpur, and Lim says its appointment service has been used for 85,000 bookings by about 40,000 patients to date.
Naluri is a psychotherapy app designed to help people cope with a variety of challenges relating to physical and mental health.
The app features a chat messaging service with mental health professionals who can offer behavioural and psychological coaching.
It also includes digital tools such as food and thought journals, and a smart weighing scale, to monitor the user’s progress and identify lifestyle areas to improve.
All of these features combine to offer digital therapeutics — the process of intervening to help people deal with mental health difficulties including depression, anxiety and stress.
In turn, this is thought to help people cope with a range of physical health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
On its website, Naluri claims that evidence-based digital therapeutics such as this are twice as effective as using medication alone to treat mental health problems – as well as being more cost-efficient and accessible.
However, the Naluri app can also be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as medications and devices.
The healthtech firm says employers, insurers and individuals can all use its app — which is available for free on iOS and Android smartphone devices.
Naluri was founded in 2017 by current CEO Azran Osman-Rani, and Jeremy Ting — a medical doctor who is also the company’s president.
It is based in Kuala Lumpur and, as of March 2020, has received a total of $1.7m in funding across two seed rounds.
Hypoband has developed a wearable “cold sweat device” to help patients with diabetes management via their smartphone.
It is worn on the wrist, and measures skin humidity and body temperature.
These readings are then displayed on a smartphone screen. This allows patients to keep track of their temperature and humidity levels.
If these readings are too high, indicating a cold sweat — a symptom of hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar — it can also make phone calls or send text messages to caregivers automatically.
The device’s alarm can also be triggered manually using a panic button.
It pairs with smartphones via Bluetooth connectivity, and works alongside an iOS or Android app.
According to the company’s website, the Hypoband device has been used by more than 1,000 patients as of March 2020.
The company was founded in 2012 after receiving one million Malaysian Ringgit ($232,000) in seed funding.
Hypoband is currently owned by Malaysian healthtech firm Geob International, and run by its CEO and founder Geoffrey Tan.
Reemedy is an online marketplace through which businesses can buy and sell medical supplies.
It provides a range of supplies including gauze, needles, syringes, gloves, pharmaceuticals, health supplements and other pieces of equipment in one place.
Reemedy also claims to be the first supplier of its kind to offer a “cost optimisation platform” by optimising its users’ spending.
It does this by analysing customers’ requests for medical supplies — including details of quantities, minimum quotas, locations and more — and connecting them to hundreds of suitable local vendors.
As well as offering “unparalleled efficiency” and cost optimisation, Reemedy also promises a “best price guarantee” for its users — meaning it will reimburse customers when it cannot price match.
In November 2019, the company received $12,000 from Malaysian tech investor NEXEA through an “angel” funding round.
The business-to-business (B2B) platform was founded in January 2019 by Ian Bong — a Malaysian doctor who studied medicine at Charles University in Prague, Czechia.