GrameenPhone Ltd is working in cooperation with Telemedicine Reference Centre Limited (TRCL) to launch an electronic health information and service known as Healthline.
The new service will be open to all GrameenPhone subscribers. What is intended is an interactive telephone consultation between the GrameenPhone caller and a licensed physician who will work from a medical call centre.
The centre will initially be able to take 15 calls at any one time although the capacity for more calls will be there. Emergency and non-emergency advice will be on call. Physicians will be in place to take calls at any time of the day or night, 24/7. They in turn will be part of a database of 250 diagnostic centres, more than 800 hospitals and clinics, and more than 8,000 registered doctors.
In support of the new system, subscribers will be able to find information on various drugs and pharmacies, on medical facilities and the doctors attached to them, and results from laboratory tests and recommendations, not to mention the standard form of medical consultation and advice.
TRCL Managing Director Sikder M Zakir has valued the current market value for the new telephony-based service at US$50 million along with a 6%-7% growth rate.
GrameenPhone's Deputy Managing Director Frank Fodstad estimates that almost 10 million of his company's subscribers will benefit from the new facility: all that is required is for them to dial 789 from a GrameenPhone mobile.
A tariff for GrameenPhone mobile subscribers has been established:
- subscriber one-off application processing fee - US$2.82;
- subscriber annual membership fee - US$4.22;
- subscriber call charge for the first three minutes - US$0.21;
- subscriber call charge for any subsequent minute - US$0.07; and
- subscriber charge for receiving radiology/pathology tests to mobile by SMS - US$0.14.