The Endemic Phase: This App Offers Virtual COVID-19 Screening
February 24th, 2022 at 8:29 am
Dr. Chan Hai Feng is empowering people to lead their lives responsibly
When the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged in Malaysia, Dr. Chan Hai Feng and his team of medical frontliners were committed to keeping the virus at bay. They worked tirelessly, screening up to 100,000 patients a day to help reduce the spread. While conducting these mass screenings, Dr. Chan realised that the time-consuming process was further exposing his staff and the public to the risk of contracting COVID-19.
A year later, when the government started to ease COVID-19 restrictions across Malaysia, Dr. Chan emphasised the need for safer, easier and more effective COVID-19 screening. With the support of his team, he developed CLEA, Malaysia’s first virtual COVID-19 screening platform. The app allows users to verify and authenticate their self-test by medically-qualified doctors, guiding users in conducting self-tests by in-app step-by-step instructions for more accurate results.
We spoke to the founder of CLEA, Dr. Chan, about how his team are working towards empowering people to lead their lives safely and responsibly.
What motivated you to transition from a medical doctor to an entrepreneur?
“I have always had a big interest in healthcare. I love being a doctor, but I’m always trying to look above the one-to-one daily interactions. I took some risks early on to try widen my understanding of healthcare, from staying in a big tertiary hospital to a small district hospital where we had to manage all sorts of patients on our own. This allowed me to be exposed to all kinds of experiences, which is when I realised that I really want to make changes in traditional medicine. I tried those platforms and realised that it’s really hard to make significant and impactful changes in those settings. I then decided to leave my hospital-based job and explore the entrepreneurial journey.”
What is the importance of virtual screening?
“Screenings play a major role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 as we can quickly isolate and quarantine positive patients. However, physical screening is a major waste of human resources and time. On top of that, the cost is high and it increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for all parties. We believe that with the right structure and framework, we can have a virtual screening platform that allows for higher efficiency and capacity while maintaining the integrity of COVID-19 screening. With this, we can screen a larger scale and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
What challenges did you face when developing the app and how did you overcome them?
“Challenges were mostly on the technical part, where doctors had plenty of ideas on how to verify and perform the screening. However, not everything was feasible or practical when it came to the app, so we were lucky to have colleagues with a fantastic background in tech to work on the development, trying to design and code it as best as it can be.”
How can CLEA help stakeholders from various industries – from the digital healthcare industry to manufacturing and the Food and Beverage industry?
“We assist these industries with screening their employees way before they enter the workplace. Industry stakeholders get to have an earlier prediction of their work force, avoiding last-minute shortages of man power and manufacturing line disturbances. The Human Resource department is also able to work efficiently with our API integrated to their system, providing real-time and the latest screening reports for their usage.”
How can virtual COVID-19 screening play a part in shaping the future of digital healthcare?
“Virtual screening is part of revolutionising point-of-care testing, be it COVID-19 screening or other types of screenings available in the market. Telemedicine is playing an essential role in assisting and complimenting the current ways patients are being treated, making it more affordable, reachable, and effective.”
How is CLEA building the verification aspect of the platform?
“There are 4 main verification processes for the whole screening. The ID verification, test kit verification, sample collection verification and result verification. The whole screening process is designed according to guidelines and protocols that doctors practice in clinics.”
What trends are shaping the future of Malaysia’s digital healthcare landscape?
“More and more clinics and doctors will adopt digital healthcare as everyone will realise that it’s the way of the future – how one will get their consultations and treatments done. We foresee that this will complement the private and the government medical facilities in many ways, sensitise healthcare, and at the same time, improve the overall community healthcare index.”
What are your plans for CLEA in 2022?
“We are actively screening and fighting COVID-19. We are looking forward to introducing this virtual screening solution to more neighbouring countries and making Malaysia proud!”
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