Healthy Directions
    Category: Healthcare By : Maryska Mayagita Read : 1481 Date : Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 10:55:56

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    What differs health articles on’s blog section from those on any Indonesian health news portal? The site gets real doctors to write them. Recently a young woman posted a question on the konsultasi gratis (free consultation) section. She was getting sick after eating instant noodles. The doctor on the site immediately diagnosed it as a possible allergic reaction to MSG, a common ingredient in instant noodles. He then gave her some recommendations to cure the problem.

    “We urge doctors to write and get their medical opinions published,” says Irwan Hartanto, founder of PilihDokter. “Through PilihDokter, I hope doctors can gather and write their medical opinions.” The konsultasi gratis feature was started as a way to reinvent the traditional experience of visiting a doctor. Instead of hassle of travel to a doctor’s office, the cost and long waits, visitors can get advice directly from doctors from the site. “Of course it is better to see patients in person. But patients are often reluctant to pay, concerned with privacy issues, and embarrassed about their symptoms. So it serves as a platform for them to obtain medical advice although they are more often than not still urged to go see a doctor,” says Cindy Annathasshia, one of the resident doctors on PilihDokter. 

    Henny Hassan, another general physician on the team explains, “We often offer suggestions on what kind of specialist to see and which care to seek. What’s really important is we suggest them to have the courage to see and consult a doctor, but at least through online consultation people will have general picture on what may be the cause and what to do.” Users can ask anonymously, as they are not asked to verify their identity, which allows them to ask about sensitive issues, such as sex-related queries, the most-asked topic on PilihDokter, along with those on feminine hygiene and skin diseases. Normally, questions PilihDokter receive are answered within 30 minutes after being submitted. The doctors will answer around 30 questions daily (between the hours of 9 am to 5 pm).

    By giving this online consultation and being a virtual consultation room, PilihDokter is not aiming to replace traditional healthcare systems, only to supplement them. “What differentiates us from other portals is that we are the first and so far the only one providing cek gejala or symptom checker, and doctors are registered and featured freely on the site,” says Irwan. The symptom checker asks visitors to fill out a questionnaire to determine their risk for certain conditions. The information can be used by the site to tailor its recommendations on doctors, treatments and supplements.

    PilihDokter launched in December last year, and is growing fast. “There are around 15,000 unique visitors per day,” he says. Irwan feels optimistic that their daily visitors could easily reach 35,000 in the next couple of months. “This number keeps rapidly climbing,” he says. About 1,000 doctors are registered on the site as well. Other features currently available on the site include job postings on medical-related professions, a hospitals database spanning Indonesia, an online pharmacy—in partnership with YourClinic, a recently established clinic and health services provider in Jakarta. The site was founded by Irwan, along with Grace Tahir, director of Mayapada Hospital and her husband Ronald Kumalaputra, chief executive of the express convenience store Bao Bao Express (Bao Bao, YourClinic and Mayapada Hospital are all owned by billionaire tycoon Dr. Tahir, who is also the majority owner of the license to publish Forbes Indonesia. Grace Tahir is his daughter). Irwan runs the site on a daily basis and is the majority owner.