COVID-19 testing kits are in short supply and the demand is very high. Anyone who develops a cough or fever these days thinks they’re infected. But as health experts have stressed, not every fever and flu is COVID-19.
“Instead of people rushing to hospitals and crowding healthcare facilities why not call the doctor home,” suggests Saad Siddiqui, CEO of Find My Doctor — an imitative that does just that.
“Let’s not be selfish and waste kits,” Siddiqui says.
Someone who suspects they have COVID-19 can request a checkup by a doctor first through Find My Doctor’s website or app, said Siddiqui. The doctor then visits the patient and decides whether they need to be tested or not.
Earlier they were also carrying out COVID-19 tests at home. The doctors they would send door-to-door were trained in the technique and provided personal protective gear from the company. Around 130 tests had been conducted out of which 0.5% were positive, Siddiqui said.
However, testing was no longer possible after the lockdown in Karachi on Monday.
The Sindh government announced a 15-day lockdown across the province to contain the spread of the virus. Karachi has reported 147 COVID-19 cases so far.
The upside of the lockdown was a rise in sales for the company.
“Earlier we were getting 80 to 100 orders per day, now it’s close to 200 orders daily,” the CEO said.
The number of calls from concerned patients had also increased. Siddiqui said more doctors were also available for home visits since many OPDs were closed, too.
Find My Doctor, however, cannot provide emergency services. Doctors are available during fixed hours and patients can only request a visit during those hours.
There are close to 100 doctors onboard, Siddqui said. Also part of their health personnel are phlebotomists who visit homes for different lab tests. Right now the labs affiliated with them include Essa, NIBD, Chughtai, Hashmani and Hussaini.
Siddiqui said they were planning to expand operations to other cities after the coronavirus pandemic was over. He told SAMAA Digital that he launched Find My Doctor in 2016 after seeing the disparity in doctors’ rates in different areas.
“We wanted a standardized rate,” he said. “Find My Doctor charges everyone Rs800 for all doctors’ appointments.”
Those who sign up for their medical insurance can avail the services for free. It covers home care services and parents’ healthcare, too. The company also intends to introduce nursing services in the future.