Scholars Health app offers Chinese medicine services

August 24, 2018 16:05
Ho Hoi-ming said his Scholars Health app connects users with Chinese medicine practitioners for healthcare and medical services. Photo: HKEJ

Mobile internet technology has given rise to online matching platforms such as Uber and Airbnb. Riding on the trend, a local startup has launched a mobile application that allows users to connect with Chinese medicine practitioners for healthcare and medical services.

Ho Hoi-ming, a student at the University of Hong Kong, has developed the “ScholarsHealth” app, which enables users to have free Chinese medicine consultation services.

Launched this July, the app-based platform matches Chinese medicine practitioners and patients. After registration on the platform, users can submit questions on healthcare and diseases. Then Chinese medicine practitioners on the platform will receive a notification and can set up a private conversation channel with the users to answer their inquiries.

The platform charges a monthly fee for Chinese medicine practitioners registered on the platform.

“In order to avoid users having unpleasant experiences, Chinese medicine practitioners could be blacklisted for bad service,” Ho told the Hong Kong Economic Journal in an interview.

When a practitioner receives multiple complaints from users, the platform would assign several independent practitioners to verify the complaints by checking the content of their conversations; they would not reveal the identities of the complainants, however.

As the platform accumulates more information and data, it will deploy artificial intelligence technology to analyze the users’ inquiries before forwarding them to practitioners, who can decide on their own if they would answer them.

"We recommend the practitioners should not be too detailed when providing their consultation services via the platform,” said Ho. “After all, the dialogue is only a preliminary consultation."

He hopes that the user would visit the Chinese medicine clinic so that the practitioner can look, listen, question and feel the patient’s pulse, which are the four ways of diagnosis in Chinese medicine.

Looking forward, the platform will seek to enrich its content offerings by inviting Chinese medicine practitioners to write articles on various topics, which in turn will enhance people's awareness of Chinese medicine services.

There are about 20 Hong Kong-registered Chinese medicine practitioners on the platform. Ho hopes to increase the number to more than 500 in two years, although he admits that recruiting them is a great challenge.

“We go to clinics one by one... but the success rate is merely about one in six tries,” he said.

Before they join the platform, Ho and his team would assess the practitioner's qualifications by verifying their license documents and visiting their clinics.

Ho said the team is now looking for investors, and for practitioners who have been successfully connected with patients via the platform, it is considering taking a cut from the consultation fees as a new income source for the platform.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 24

Translation by Ben Ng

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal