Crystal Martin at Wathupitiwala, employing close to 1,000 sewing machine operators,
recently became the 10 th factory in Sri Lanka providing free 24/7 doctor services to its
workers and their families.
They join the company’s Katunayake facility and other innovative factory operators like Ahlers AG, Hela Intimates, Royal Fernwood Porcelain and Service Shoes Lanka, who work with oDoc, Sri Lanka’s pioneer telemedicine company, to solve healthcare problems faced by employees and reduce production delays caused by illness.
In June, the oDoc service marked its overseas expansion with its first client in India –
Khadkeshwar Farms, just north of Bangalore covering 450 workers with scope to
expand to over 2,000.
Mr. Mark Muller, the Divisional GM at Crystal Martin, noted: “We are always looking for
new ways to solve old problems. Our employees can now consult a doctor within three
minutes at work, or even in the middle of the night from their homes. The positive
impact of this on their lives has been immediate.”
“Easy access to good healthcare is a basic human right. Our lower income employees
and their family members had difficulty reaching doctors for various economic and
social reasons. This was resulting in avoidable health issues for them. Of course, this
has an impact on factory operations as well. So, from a human and business
perspective we have been wanting to help our employees solve this problem. oDoc has
used technology to make video consultations viable medically for all our employees at a
price we can afford,” he elaborated.
The affordable pricing model highlighted by Mr. Muller is a monthly subscription of Rs.
35/- per month covering each employee and their family members. The subscription
gives covered individuals unlimited free consultations with the over 200 SLMC-
registered GPs and specialists on the oDoc service. Conditions treated include
everyday issues like the flu and stomach bugs and more complex mental health,
dermatological, paediatric and gynaecological issues as well. Preventive care like
weight management is also available.
The service has secured an annual utilisation rate of over 40% – 4 times the global
average. This has been achieved through efforts by oDoc to work closely with doctors
on the platform on clinical safety and excellent bedside manner. “We noticed the
employees are not only cared for, they also feel they are speaking to a doctor who
genuinely cares for them. They love this standard of service, become repeat users and
appreciate us for providing it to them,” said Mr. Muller.
Telemedicine services like oDoc, which offer video, audio and text consultations, have
seen wide adoption in the private and public arenas globally in countries like the US,
India, Japan, Rwanda and Singapore. Following the consultation, doctors are able to
issue valid prescriptions over the platform if medically required. What’s unique in the
model introduced by oDoc, is that upon launch, the service is provided from the sick
room at the factory in collaboration with the existing nurse using a tablet device. The
nurse plays a key role, helping employees to understand how the service works and
what it can be used for. Employees are also able to download the oDoc app on their
own phones or their family members’ phones and use it from home.
Dr. Janaka Wickremesinghe, the Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of oDoc stated,
“We have found that building a strong and caring community in the workplace and
battling attrition are drivers for adoption. Our clients also benefit as they are able to
exceed workplace compliance standards set themselves and by the international brands
they sell to. This will definitely help uplift the image of Sri Lanka as a responsible export
manufacturer by providing high quality healthcare to workers.”
IA Insurance, PickMe, Daraz and Commercial Bank are some of the other companies
offering the service to their employees and partners or clients providing reliable
healthcare to over 100,000 covered individuals.