MD Hyperlink brings telemedicine to the Caribbean

Dr. Che Bowen was ahead of his time.

In 2018, the Trinidadian doctor created a telemedicine platform that connected doctors with people who did not want or could not leave home for medical services.

Today, as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates the development of digital solutions in the Caribbean, Dr. Bowen, MD Link, asked.

“When the coronavirus emerged, we saw a need for it and started expanding across the region. We are now in the Bahamas, St. Lucia, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, the British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbados, ”he told Loop.

MD Link was originally founded in Jamaica where Dr. Bowen studied medicine and is now working.

“What got me thinking about this concept was working at Kingston Public Hospital in one of the busy clinics and there was a patient called George who came to the clinic for his high blood pressure medication. One day George was frustrated and said why I have to come here every other month, my blood pressure is fine, I check it at home with my device, I’m fine and every time I come here you have the same prescription Do you have a better solution for me?

“I thought there had to be a better solution. I found that telemedicine was being done overseas and that gave me further confidence that it was a concept that could work, ”he said.

Dr. Che Bowen, CEO and Founder of MD Link

MD Link is a platform that enables users to book an appointment with a doctor, be diagnosed, and treated via video, audio, or text message.

“After seeing the doctor, you can fill out the prescriptions electronically, depending on the conditions, and make laboratory or radiology inquiries. We also make health insurance certificates, ”he explained.

People with emergencies such as chest pain, head injuries, broken bones, brain injuries, cuts, vomiting blood, and pediatric ear disorders are recommended to go to a hospital. The platform also does not contain prescriptions for controlled substances.

“We are working to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for all,” said Dr. Bowen, noting that there is a fee for the doctor’s visit that is less than an office fee.

Tori Haber, General Manager of MD Link, showed us through the platform.

“When booking with a doctor, you can select a date and time and will be asked to select a doctor with your preferred specialty. You will see a list of available doctors and can choose the one you want. You can also choose your preferred pharmacy. Everything is segmented by country as well and you will be asked to choose where you are now, ”she explained.

Haber said once a doctor is selected you will be asked to pay by debit, credit and Pay Pal. She said in some cases, patients give their bank details and make a direct deposit.

At the doctor’s end, Haber said registration was free and their credentials would be checked and verified to make sure they were legitimate.

“We need misconduct insurance, an ID card, a medical degree … we actually check everything. Once they’re approved, we’ll go through a demo process to see how tech-savvy they are. Every doctor goes through a small training process, nothing difficult. The platform is very easy to use. “

Tori Haber, General Manager, MD Link

Before the onslaught of the COVID-19 virus, MD Link had around 40 registered doctors. That changed when the virus took root in the region.

“Corona came and they realized it was necessary, so every five minutes we had a huge influx of doctors calling Tori. In one day, I saw about 20 doctors sign up. We have registered 200 doctors across the Caribbean and we are in the process of registering more, ”said Dr. Bowen, who found the platform helped smooth the curve as patients did not have to leave the house to see a doctor.

The team emphasized that the platform also has advantages for the region in the event of natural disasters such as hurricanes.

First of its kind in the region, MD Link does not have the Caribbean telemedicine support regulations of which Dr. Bowen hopes they will be corrected in the near future along with improved pharmacy regulations. MD Link currently follows international standards.

Haber said they had encouraged various pharmacy councils to recognize telemedicine as a broader, more legitimate area where they can accept electronic subscriptions to doctor’s letters, as many still require physical copies.

Health insurance remains another challenge. Haber said they don’t currently accept health insurance forms, but that could change as some insurance companies have started recognizing telemedicine services.

Dr. Bowen was excited about the opportunities to be explored in digital space and said there are many digital health solutions that he plans to implement over the next few years.

“I got fed up and obsessed with it and the more I read the wow, why isn’t that in the Caribbean? Our next big step is to monitor patients remotely for those concerned about how we check our chest, heart and vital signs. This will seal the entire patient experience. It is the way of the world. “

MD Link is available via desktop and app.