THOUGH MOST of the healthcare service providers in Myanmar are yet to become familiar with the latest technical solutions, Next Code Pte Ltd, a technology start-up that focuses on creating a digital healthcare platform, has big hopes of shaping the digital future of the nation’s healthcare industry.
ThihaZaw, founder and chief executive of Next Code, said in an exclusive interview that the company is currently working to bring all private hospitals, clinics, dentists, healthcare services and beauty-care in Myanmar under an umbrella of its application and hospital management system.
“Firstly, we will start with dentists in Yangon. Then we will expand our reach to general practitioners, clinics, hospitals and all healthcare services in major cities throughout the country,” he said.
To date, the company has gathered 50 dental clinics in its application, which was launched on August 1. ThihaZaw expects to cover all dentists and a large percentage of clinics in Yangon within two months of the launch of their application.
“Our primary goal is to save a lot of time for patients and medical practitioners. Now we can see a large crowd of patients in a long queue waiting for some specialists at many private hospitals and clinics. Our app will help them save time and energy, as they will know exactly which specialists are currently at the particular hospital, and who will arrive when, etc.,” he said.
“Now we usually take time to go to as many hospitals and clinics as we can. We try to ensure we have some time to explain to the owners and medical practitioners about our application and hospital management system, and usually convince them to cooperate with us for the convenience of patients and themselves.”
By the end of this year, ThihaZaw aims to bring together more than 100 clinics under the platform and around 500 bookings every day. He also expects their hospital management system to be tapped by many clinics in Yangon.
According to statistics, there are nearly 300 private hospitals and more than 3,000 clinics registered in Myanmar, most of which are located in the Yangon region and big cities. Currently, Next Code’s products and solutions are being used in more than 50 hospitals, clinics, and laboratories including big names such as Sakura Hospital, Zaw Hospital, Kwekabaw Hospital, KhinMyat Noe Clinic, and ShweBhone Diagnostic Excellent Centre.
“Yangon is obviously our priority focus, as it is the commercial hub with a lot of private hospitals and clinics. Then we will expand to Mandalay and other big cities. In rural areas, there is a good balance between demand and supply – patients there do not need to wait for a long time to get medical treatment from doctors and dentists,” he said.
He plans to cover all private hospitals and clinics in Myanmar’s cities over the next two years. After that, the company aims to introduce the concept of telemedicine under which medical practitioners can easily follow up on their patients’ health condition and in turn the patients can seek further treatment from the doctors without the need to go to their clinics.
According to ThihaZaw, such a practice will mainly benefit patients living in rural areas where modernised medical services are not available, and thereby could reduce transaction costs to a large extent.
For their expansion plan to be successful, all the five team members of Next Code have studied the behaviour of the owners, medical practitioners and patients since they started working on the platform last year with the support of Phandeeyar, Myanmar’s innovative lab for promising start-ups.
“Phandeeyar has committed to provide us with an intensive training, pre-seed funding of US$25,000 [Bt800,000] and some space at their office for us to work together. They also let us participate in the Demo Day event where investors gather to listen to our pitches, targets and success stories. It helps a great deal for our fundraising,” said ThihaZaw.
He added some local and international businesses are keeping an eye on their performance and track record to invest in the company. Most of them have shown their eagerness to invest in Next Code once they meet their short-term target by the end of this year, he said.
“We also provide software services to hospital, clinics and laboratories. Currently, we have some products to enhance healthcare services including InfoBoard, real time information TV display system at hospitals’ public areas, interactive patient queue system and MyHMS hospital management system,” he said.
“With our solutions, hospitals can ensure better patient care and customer services with the help of the latest technologies. They also support decision-makers to make the right statistical and analysis to improve the overall performance of hospitals and clinics in Myanmar.”
Before he founded the company, ThihaZaw took a leading role in the establishment of Trion Technologies Co in April 2011, which has now enabled him to acquire seven years of hands-on experience working with local hospitals for their digital transformation efforts.