The unprecedented time of the ongoing global pandemic COVID-19 has introduced a vast realm of ‘social distancing’ measures to the whole world. One just simply cannot randomly visit or seek medical advice from doctors at the hospitals-clinics and chambers like before without hesitation regarding virus-transmission risks, as the current situation is ‘too dangerous to handle’ in terms of social interaction. Moreover, hospitals and doctors are also being devastatingly dedicated in order to serve the Coronavirus affected patients as naturally the first priority, as the number of COVID-19 positive cases are rapidly increasing across the country. On the other hand, the ongoing era of home-quarantine is heavily depending on the usage of internet and technology in order to maintain social activities on track, and two of the Bangladeshi young tech-geniuses utilized the technology at a whole new level to create ‘Cliniva’ - a bridge between doctor and patients through the mobile application.
Before diving deep into the refreshing realm of ‘Cliniva’, it is necessary to understand the initiative. What is ‘Cliniva’, why is ‘Cliniva’ and how this healthcare technology was formed to serve millions of people who need to consult with doctors? The pair behind the initiative described the A-Z of this remote healthcare technology, exclusively to Dhaka Courier.
“Committed to improving the clinical practice standard and bridging the gap between doctors and patients, ‘Cliniva’ is a digital healthcare platform that can serve the patients remotely. Our vision of a digital healthcare system is people-centric that improves the quality of life in general. We are on a mission of challenging ourselves to contribute to the ease of healthcare access utilising ICT for a healthier and prosperous Bangladesh”, explained the creator-duo of the platform, Nabid Salehin Niloy and Sany Alam Shovon.
Further explaining how it all began, both shared the story of the beginning of the venture which was initiated from their university campus. “We both studied in the Department of Computer Science and Technology (CSE) at the American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB), became friends and worked in some video-making projects together. I prepared a similar project like our ‘Cliniva’ as a required task in our university activities at the end of 2017, which was aimed to build an ecosystem so that the patients and doctors can collaborate with each other through a telemedicine service. A few days later, an unprecedented incident happened in Shovon’s life that eventually thrived us to start this initiative, and after planning in February 2018, we started to shape the app from April 2018. After months of dedication behind eatablishing the technology, we finally launched 'Cliniva' on this year” - Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder Nabid Salehin Niloy reminisced about the beginning of their journey.
“My father got severely ill back in the starting of 2018. It was diagnosed that he had a lung infection, and the doctor suggested that 50% of his lungs was damaged. We, however, sensed that we were not getting appropriate treatment from that hospital, so we decided to collect other doctor’s portfolio in order to get further evaluation from more doctors. One interesting matter was that aforementioned hospital was a government hospital, and they suggested to admit him in a specific mid-range hospital for further assessment and treatment, and soon after we reached at that place - it felt like they were waiting for us to perform the operation overnight. However, we then managed to take my father into another renowned hospital and that was the place where my father finally got proper treatment - he had a successful surgery without removing any part of his lungs. That incident practically opened up my eyes to see the gap in our healthcare system and the communication gap between patients and health professionals - which ultimately has been affecting both the parties for years. So I talked to Niloy and expressed my interest on working together in his project", Chief Executive Officer and the other Co-Founder Sany Alam Shovon described how he got associated co-creating this initiative.
“Our main goal is to work through a particular format, which is termed as ‘Evidence based Practice’ between doctor and patient though mobile phone as it is available to almost everyone”, Shovon explained their working process. “The goal of evidence-based practice is to eliminate unsound or outdated practices, in favor of more effective ones - by shifting the basis for decision making from tradition, intuition, and unsystematic experience to firmly grounded scientific research. We here at ‘Cliniva’ found this process more effective, to create the needed ecosystem.”
The measure is understandable, but how ‘Cliniva’ is different from the other telemedicine services available in the country? Answering this, Niloy explained - “Telemedicine service was first introduced in the country back in 1988, but in our opinion, we did not feel the presence of a solid ecosystem that can benefit both doctors and patients from time to time. Since the beginning, we kept that issue in our minds. There are many available ways through which one can avail needed medical services at home, but we brought a technologically advanced service that can help further communication between doctors and patients like it should be, until the patient is cured.”
What does it denote to be technologically advanced? Further explaining the matter, Shovon said - “We have two separate mobile applications - one for the doctors and the other is for the patients- both are available in Google Playstore. The doctors in our app provide an updatable prescription to the patient as per of a total portfolio after discussing about the condition, as its natural that patient’s condition can vary from time to time, so the chosen doctor can discuss patient’s condition in further assessments and update the prescription according to the needs of the patient.”
Niloy informed that till date, a total of 155 doctors are currently being registered in a total of 13 specialized categories. Overwhelmed by the doctors, the ‘user-friendly’ service can be joined by any specialized doctor who needs to provide the BMDC registration number. Upon successful evaluation, a registered doctor can provide a special one-on-one video consultation to the patient.
For the patients, it is even simpler. Upon downloading the app, registering with credentials and clicking on specific field of problem - the patient will get to see available specialized doctors and for a video consultation fee of 150 - 600 Tk, patient can discuss the problem with the doctor. Consultation charges can easily be paid through mobile banking systems. After the video consultation, doctor will provide prescription and suggest necessary tests (if needed) and will continue to follow up patient’s condition for the next 5 days through online chatting, which will be free of cost.
How are the responses? It seems like ‘Cliniva’ has already started getting appraisals from the patients due to its user-friendly features. “From using the app, I got my needed consultation from my doctor within 30 minutes and further communicated with the doctor continuously for the next two days even after the consultation. Doctor updated my prescription and following that, I got cured. Overall, I am pleased with their way of care and the simplicity of the service”, Shihab Rayhan (28), a satisfied patient from Dhaka shared his experience with DC.
In this dangerous time of COVID-19 outbreak, apps like ‘Cliniva’ can cure patients from home and avoid the risk of virus contamination at a larger scale. As the country is heavily enforcing the practical implementation of the motto ‘Digital Bangladesh’ - mobile and remote platforms like ‘Cliniva’ can be the needed bridge between the doctors and patients as an ecosystem that had been long missing in country’s healthcare structure. Besides, as internet is the present and the ultimate future - initiatives like ‘Cliniva’ can be taken as a prime startup example for young, aspiring minds who want to help both themselves and target consumers through their resources.