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Empowering Doctors, Transforming Care: Bot MD's Journey Across Southeast Asia

  • What began as a weekend project in a Singaporean coffee shop, blossomed into Bot MD, an AI-powered clinical assistant for doctors.
  • Traditional methods were time-consuming and inefficient; Bot MD was built to bridge this gap and become a doctor's go-to for any critical clinical information.
  • Bot MD made an impact just a few weeks after its launch, reaching 52 countries including emerging markets India, Egypt, Nigeria, Venezuela, etc.

In 2018, Dorothea Koh and Yanchuan Sim launched Bot MD. While working as a biomedical engineer in healthcare companies, Koh was faced with the reality of the immense strain doctors face due to limited resources and access to information.

And so she put all she had in her passion for healthcare innovation leading her to embark on a mission to empower doctors worldwide.

The Rise of Bot MD

Bot MD launched in June 2018 and raised $700,000 in seed funding from Y Combinator and angels, including Silicon Valley notable Steve Blank.

They offered a simple but unique solution; an AI assistant tailored especially for the healthcare industry.

Offering doctors a wealth of information ranging from drug interactions, medical calculators, some guidelines and protocols, etc; to be readily available at the tip of their hands saving time and effort.

By 2020, the platform gained was used by more than 13,000 doctors in 60 countries!

Before Bot MD’s existence, Koh said, doctors would often need to call a hospital operator to ask for that information or log in to the hospital’s intranet. Being able to access these items via a smartphone is more convenient.

The core technology behind Bot MD is its natural language processing chat engine, built in-house, allowing for faster growth of medical chatbots for specific hospital needs.

Bot MD also helps dictate and transcribe case notes and provides secure communication between doctors.

"The idea behind that is that patient care happens in teams," Koh said. "Most doctors are on some kind of messaging platform and it’s usually groups of doctors. So our thought was ‘We don’t like changing doctor behaviors, let’s take what they’re used to doing, make it easier, and facilitate that."

COVID-19 only strengthened their growth, partnering with Singapore's National University, BotMD developed a chat interface designed to monitor infected migrant workers.

Their perseverance during COVID did not go unnoticed, Bot MD was one of the 29 selected winners of the first WHO Western Pacific Innovation Challenge, crediting the impact they made during the pandemic.

Source: Bot MD

Bot MD's Continued Growth

Raising $5 million series A funding, led by Monk’s Hill Ventures in 2021; Bot MD expanded in the Asia-Pacific region and added new features in response to demand from hospitals and healthcare organizations during COVID-19.

Bot MD partnered with Siloam Hospitals in Indonesia seeking to automate patient-reported outcomes via WhatsApp, allowing for better data collection, improved patient follow-up, and of course, better care.

Their collaboration with the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI), provided over 200,000 doctors instant access to association information, guidelines, and services through an AI assistant embedded on the IDI website.

Bot MD has come a long way from a coffee shop concept to a global platform empowering doctors, symbolizing the potential of AI in healthcare.

As Koh herself believes, this is just the beginning.

Edited by Annette George