- COVID-19 has seriously hurt the economy and is a landmark event for startups.
- Startups must transform their business models or digitize their services to adapt to the market requirements during the pandemic.
- Tech-startups in the medical field have flourished such as Blackfrog Technologies and TESSOL Solutions (vaccine storage and delivery technology), Doctor Anywhere and BuyMed (telemedicine application), etc.
COVID 19 – Modification
Over the past 2 years, the world has witnessed a series of unexpected events such as: global supply chain disruption, a serious decline in international trade, etc. due to the rapid and uncontrollable spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The more realistic consequence, easily seen, is that production activities are significantly reduced, causing not only SMEs to be affected, but also MNEs suffer great losses.
Experts liken COVID as a big test for businesses. The more flexible business model, the more diversified products and services, and the more proactive it is in the digital transformation process, the more stable a business will be through the pandemic. Innovative businesses often have this “genome” available, which allows them to easily adjust their operating processes, change products and services to suit the new situation.
Covid-19 is still sweeping the global economy, but it doesn’t mean the end of all activities. Even the changes in user behaviors due to the pandemic impact have pushed the development trend of many industries and fields, creating many start-up opportunities.
Technology startups in the medical field “rise to the throne”
Vaccine preservation technology in last-mile delivery
The typical name is Blackfrog Technologies, based in Manipal – one of the startups at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Through its Emvolio solution, Blackfrog has reduced the waste of both conventional and COVID-19 vaccines in last-mile deliveries, replacing ice boxes in remote, geographical locations difficult to move.
According to the WHO, more than 50% of vaccines are wasted globally every year during distribution, especially in the last-mile delivery. Poor temperature control during shipment is to blame. It is commonly known that vaccines are usually temperature sensitive and very susceptible to thermal deterioration after long transport.
For vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, to remain efficacious, requires a specialized cold chain, especially the last-mile. Blackfrog develops Emvolio solution – a portable temperature-controlled transport device to safely transport vaccines and other biological products such as serum, patient samples and drugs in the last mile.
Another featured name is TESSOL Solutions, which allows Pharmaceutical companies/Logistics companies to provide end-to-end transportation of vaccine packages. Their ‘Battery Heat’ technology provides desired temperature control (from -25°C to +25°C) on containers ranging from five liter bags to 20 feet (10 tons) trucks, which is another application for vaccine storage.
Remote healthcare application
Remote health care applications are the solution that many people look for, such as: Doctor Anywhere, eDoctor, Bookcarer, Dr.Oh, YouMed, Thuocsi.com… As long as the user has a smartphone connected to the internet, by sitting at home, the user can be examined and consulted about their health status via video, phone from a team of doctors.
According to the CEO of Doctor Anywhere Vietnam, the number of users visiting online has increased by 600% compared to before the epidemic. Before the COVID-19 epidemic, in Vietnam, Doctor Anywhere conducted about 60 consultations a day on average through the application, and this number increased to 350 when the epidemic occurred. Instead of focusing only on Internal Medicine as before, only during the pandemic 2-3 months, the startup has continuously opened 3 new specialties including Pediatrics, Otolaryngology and Nutrition to meet the needs of patients.
Along with changing people’s habits, buying medicine at pharmacies is also gradually being replaced by their online counterparts. Startups that allow people to buy medicines remotely like Medigo and BuyMed have also witnessed rapid growth during the pandemic. With 700 suppliers and 7000 retailers, BuyMed is the bridge between manufacturers and distributors. Meanwhile, Medigo is a platform that allows users to connect and receive advice directly from pharmacists, and download prescriptions to buy drugs online.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, Infomed (a member of Vietnam Medical Equipment Corporation – VMED Group) developed a 4.0 Technology Application Solution, including CLAS Healthcare electronic medical record software to help follow-up and monitoring Covid-19 positive cases on a centralized electronic medical record system, with real-time clinical data transmission software from treatment facilities to Support Centers and Command Centers, central PACS software to help transferring diagnostic imaging data, along with a video conference system and specialized medical equipment to directly monitor the patient’s vitals.
Reshaping the trend after the pandemic
COVID-19 has once again confirmed that businesses and especially technology-applying startups with flexible business models and the ability to capture market demand, will always find business opportunities despite the economic downturn. This has been clearly demonstrated in the medical field.
Digitalisation is not only a trend but also the key to ensuring growth. The epidemic has contributed to making this process stronger. Some key players are now also entering the digitalization race, therefore, the more startups are aware of this issue, the higher survivability.
Van Anh, Nhat Huyen