In conversation with Growth Marketing Manager KSA, of a leading Telehealth company we made an attempt to understand the Online Health Consultation Market in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
1. We would like to understand the Saudi’s Telehealth market from you.
Advanced information and communication technologies, such as smartphones, are revolutionizing the delivery of healthcare. Electronic consultations, or e-consultations, via mobile phones offer increased care accessibility and improve patients’ satisfaction with health services. The quality of virtual consultations may be comparable to that of traditional face-to-face office visits, with the additional benefit of enhanced access to care.
A lot of researches say that about 90 percent of the reasons why people go to the hospitals, do not actually require going to the hospital.
2. What was the impact of COVID on the KSA telehealth market?
During COVID the telehealth market boomed because the people didn’t want to go to the hospital as they did not want to get infected. The market grew 2.5x in COVID and Psychiatry was the most sought-after specialties during COVID.
3. What are the major challenges in the online health consultation market?
It is similar to the challenges of the ride hailing apps like uber, you have to make people feel good about riding with a stranger. You need to convince people that telehealth is real and it works. People still feel good in physically visiting the hospitals and clinics. It is a challenge to make people pay for the telehealth services for the first use so, companies gave freemiums, where the first online consultation is made free. On an average a user uses the telehealth app 4 times a year.
4. What is the average number of consultations in a month or a week before and after covid?
Around 500-600 a day.
5. On an average, how much does a patient spends on an online consultation?
It starts from as low as 60 riyals and goes up to 600 riyals. On an average, say about 150-250 riyals.
6. What percentage of the doctors are general practitioners and what percentage are specialized doctors?
The specialized field, especially the psychological contributed to about 80% of the revenue.
7. Do patients prefer audio, video or chat mode for online consultation?
Video is the least preferably the least preferred mode of consultation in KSA. Maximum patients opt for audio consultation. Maybe about 60%.
8. Maximum patients consult from which part of the country, Riyadh, Jeddah or Mecca?
Riyad is the most, definitely. 30% was from Riyad and 20-25% from Jeddah. We also have patients from Kuwait, Bahrain etc.
9. Does the app charges signin fees from the doctors?
10. What amount is charged as commission from the doctors?
15% of the consultation fee.
11. Any specific rules and regulations for telehealth market in KSA?
Yes, there are set of rules by Ministry of Health that needs to e followed by the companies & hospitals providing telehealth. The companies, hospitals or clinics must have license issues by ministry of health to provide telehealth services.
12. What percentage of the patients use app?
Majorly app, maybe about 80%. In the future the number would grow more.
13. How do you predict the market to grow in the future?
It would grow at about 20-25% y-o-y. More people are adopting to online mode of consultation especially for the specializations like psychiatry that does not require much physical visits.