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MAKING A DIFFERENCE

A digital platform for patients' healthcare needs

Jaga-Me goes the extra mile to bring medical and caregiving services into their homes.

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Sorting through a patient's prescriptions and flagging out expired medicine are part and parcel of what Jaga-Me's nurses do on the job. The platform has about 500 freelance nurses and 20 full-timers.

Singapore

A HEALTHCARE professional's job doesn't end with the patient leaving the hospital with the advent of digital healthcare platform Jaga-Me.

The company goes the extra mile to bring medical and caregiving services into the homes of patients.

Sorting through a patient's prescriptions and flagging out expired medicine are part and parcel of what Jaga-Me's nurses do on the job.

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"I want to give all my care to patients but in hospitals, we have very little time with them. At Jaga-Me, I can do my best, since we work one-on-one with our patients," said Shukrie Jumahat , a full-timer who has been with Jaga-Me since February last year. He is part of a lean team of 20 full-timers led by Jaga-Me's co-founder and chief executive Julian Koo.

Together with another co-founder Kuah Ling Ling, Mr Koo came up with the concept for Jaga-Me, bagging the third prize in the MIT Hacking Medicine@SG hackathon held in 2015.

While Ms Kuah was a trained nurse, Mr Koo came from a life sciences background and left his job at the Economic Development Board to develop Jaga-Me from a "side project" into a full-time gig.

Jaga means "to guard" in Malay, and with the 500-strong freelance nurses, Jaga-Me hopes to serve out its mission.

"Nurses at the front line of our operations are supported by visiting doctors, therapists as well as dieticians - these can be easily booked through the Jaga-Me platform," Mr Koo told The Business Times. He added that customers can stock up on medical supplies and nutritional supplements as well on Jaga-Me's web-based app.

Tallying up the cost for nursing procedures, caregiving and medical escort services is a breeze with the app's built-in calculator. Patients can also call upon home doctors for certain medical procedures and when escalation from nursing becomes necessary.

A medical procedure performed by a nurse starts from S$95, with each additional procedure performed during the same visit going at S$25.

About 70 per cent of Jaga-Me's patients are more than 65 years old, with the platform primarily serving patients with chronic and age-related diseases. Of these ailments, stroke and cancer are the most common. To date, Jaga-Me has served 2,000 patients and partnered 20 healthcare institutions.

One of its existing partnerships is with the Lien Centre for Palliative Care to train Jaga-Me's nurses in managing the symptoms of its palliative care patients.

Such training opportunities enable nurses to chalk up Continuing Professional Education credits which go towards renewing their licence.

The lack of training opportunities for its freelance nurses was one roadblock Jaga-Me faced but which it has since addressed. The biggest draw for its freelance staff is the flexibility they find at Jaga-Me, said Mr Koo. There is no minimum number of hours that freelancers must fulfil.

An average freelance nurse working a five-day workweek can make about S$3,000 per month.

Sometimes, freelancers come on board as full-timers, like Mr Shukrie, who made the switch in January this year after having experienced "good support" and "communication with the Jaga-Me coordinators".

Full-timer nurses can expect salaries in the ballpark of S$2,800 to S$4,500 subject to their level of experience.

Incentives are also doled out based on patient reviews and good performance.

Mr Koo shared how freelancing keeps Jaga-Me's team nimble and responsive.

"Instead of operating out of a clinic which is at one location, we have an islandwide presence of nurses. That responsiveness is key," he said.

  • This article is part of a biweekly series highlighting social enterprises in Singapore. Social enterprises provide business solutions to address unmet and emerging social needs and gaps. Visit www.raise.sg to learn more about these socially impactful companies.