The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues wreaking havoc in the world economy but has delivered a significant demand boost for digital health provider 1st Group (ASX: 1ST), as the company launches its coronavirus “clinics directory” in Australia.
1st Group has created a COVID-19 healthcare services directory via a dedicated website that aims to connect people with clinics and allows patients to obtain a variety of telehealth services in response to the current pandemic.
Telehealth is a relatively new concept whereby the distribution of health-related services and information is done only via electronic means including the internet, via phone and video-calls.
Considering the social-distancing and lockdown measures now enforced on over 25% of the world’s population, telehealth has been flagged as the ideal means to deploy long-distance patient and clinician contact, advice, reminders, education, monitoring, and remote admissions.
The company said it wants to consolidate all available services that can help anyone suffering from COVID-19 or anyone simply looking for information relating to the disease.
Currently, more than 200 COVID-19 clinics have already been listed on the directory including all government pop-up clinics “with more being added every day”, 1st Group said.
“Until now, to find these clinics and services you needed to visit multiple government and hospital websites, private practice and other websites. It is confusing, frustrating and almost completely impossible for Australians to find what they want easily, quickly and reliably at this very difficult time,” said 1st Group managing director and co-founder Klaus Bartosch.
“By consolidating all services in one convenient website directory we are doing our bit to assist consumers who are otherwise scrambling to try and find services and information,” he said.
Just last week, Mr Bartosch told the market that the COVID-19 outbreak was generating greater awareness of the value and utility of 1st Group’s online platforms, targeting health professionals.
Moreover, he confirmed that the outbreak had stimulated demand for online booking functionality and said online appointments had spiked by 350% compared to the previous fortnight.
In an attempt to capitalise on growing demand, the digital health company intends to operate its new directory to serve over 11,000 healthcare businesses across Australia including pharmacy chains like Priceline and Amcal, but also, government agencies and mental health service businesses like Benestar Group.
1st Group also plans to offer its digital platform to dentists, optometrists, hospitals, specialists and allied services.
Australians who utilise the new directory will be able to find, search and book appointments with healthcare services that are already listed on the MyHealth1st.com.au directory and obtain a variety of telehealth options.
“New services like e-Prescriptions, telehealth and COVID-19 clinics are being fast-tracked and new Medicare benefits are being announced almost every day,” the company said.
Mr Bartosch declared that he expects his company’s new directory service to “dramatically increase” website traffic due to the lack of directory and telehealth services while people’s level of anxiety and demand for healthcare continues to rise day by day.
The fact the pandemic shows no signs of slowing in either Australia or its current epicentre, Europe, has only heaped more pressure on individuals and companies alike.
“Google search just isn’t cutting it, and there are now a myriad of state and national government websites that contain only some of this information. We are making it our mission to help in these difficult times,” said Mr Bartosch.
People can search for their closest COVID-19 clinic here.