In Sri Lanka, high broadband adoption and smartphone penetration present an opportunity to use mobile app-based services to address some of the country’s challenges with the provision of healthcare. These include rapid growth of the elderly population, increased prevalence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and higher levels of healthcare-seeking behaviour due to increased prosperity. Digital health tools help to improve efficiencies and drive cost savings for both healthcare providers and patients.

Doc 990 is a mobile-based digital health platform operated by Digital Health (DHPL), a joint venture partnership between four entities: Digital Holdings Lanka, a subsidiary of mobile operator Dialog Axiata, Asiri Hospital Holdings (Asiri), Nawaloka Hospitals and Durdans Hospitals in Sri Lanka. This joint venture is the first cross-sector partnership of its kind in Sri Lanka’s healthcare industry.

Doc990 supports digitally enabled appointment management for both patients and hospitals. In Sri Lanka, the process of identifying or searching for a relevant doctor or specialist and booking an appointment remotely via a digital channel is referred to as doctor channelling. Patients can access Doc990 through interactive voice response (IVR), web and app platforms or Doc990 agents. To date, patients can book appointments with over 90 hospitals and 2,500 doctors across 270 medical specialisations. DHPL has expanded the Doc990 offering to include several complementary services, such as Tele Doctor Service, Medicine to Your Doorstep, Healthcare to Your Doorstep, My Health Records and Lab Reports.

Although Doc990 was late to the digital health sector, it rapidly gained over 40 per cent of the doctor channelling market share and over 158,000 customers. This case study presents the success factors that allowed Doc990 to become a market leader in digital healthcare in Sri Lanka.