i-doc health club making medical care more affordableTuesday, August 03, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
MONTEGO BAY, St James — i-doc Concierge Wellness Services Limited, a group of western Jamaica health practitioners, celebrated last week's launch of their health club with the donation of 100 free membership cards which will see participants benefiting from a wide array of substantially discounted, and in some cases free, health services at participating practitioners.
Managing director of i-doc, Dr Sherridene Lee called the launch a health-care revolution, explaining that upon signing up with the health club a member will have access to an app as well as access to all the partners, including health practitioners and health-care entities.
“You're able to get... major discounts at each of the general practitioners office. You will pay nothing or very minimal amounts of money, you'll have access to three to four fitness sessions per week, you will have access to nutrition and coaching. Persons who are hypertensive and diabetic will go on our chronic management programme, and this involves a day-to-day monitoring of these hypertensive and diabetic patients,” the i-doc executive said.
She said that not all elderly patients will be able to use the app, which will provide virtual medical services, so a toll-free number will also be available to them.
“... Our little 70- or 78-year-old mother can call, even if she don't have credit, and speak to a nurse or our support centre rep and say, 'Hey, this was my blood pressure today, this was my blood pressure the next day,' so we can know – not just three months down the line – but what somebody's blood pressure is doing [currently]...,” Dr Lee said.
She disclosed that chronic management of diseases is high on the agenda of the i-doc health club, and that the short-to mid-term goal is to establish centres across the 14 parishes in the country where dialysis is among one of the services to be offered under one roof.
“... A lot of persons have gone into bankruptcy [and can] no longer afford dialysis [or have to decrease the number for the week]; if you need four or three dialysis [session] you have to go down to two. When the money is finished, that's it for you,” she argued.
“Under one roof also we will have cardiology [as] we know that's something that's very limited in Jamaica. I spent a few months ononcology and it was very heart-rending for me to see simple things like somebody not being able to get a scan or some special investigation, and you need that investigation in order for them to get the proper chemotherapy. Or they come and they can't afford the proper chemotherapy medications, and they die. This is a reality. So, our health club is supposed to be able to build all these different facilities in-house,“said Lee.
She added that i-doc health club has also partnered “with surgeons as well who decided to give discounts”.
The 33-year-old Dr Lee, who revealed that she made up her mind to become a doctor from the age of five, said she decided to quit her medical practice after seeing patients not being able to afford health care at private facilities and having to wait for long hours at public institutions before seeing a doctor.
She said she decided to bridge the gap after a director of i-doc, Dr Jacqueline Chambers, advised her that instead of giving up, she should instead be the change to bridge the gap between public and private health care.
“... I got very despondent because at that point, this is not what I wanted for myself in terms of being a doctor. I didn't want to have to send home somebody because they can't afford the service. I went to Dr Chambers and I said to her, 'I'm quitting medicine.' I broke down and she said, 'You have to be the change that you want to see,' and that's how we started off i-doc. We started in March 2019. But even this trial and error, the health-care business is very expensive and thankfully, we got other directors who actually believed in what we were doing along the way. So during those two years we opened four medical facilities and then we started to recruit partners – hospitals, pharmacists, general practitioners, labs and specialists. We have a good team working with us.
“... Then we decided on our health club, or i-doc health club.”