There are apps out there that can simulate stapling papers, help you avoid making phone calls when you are drunk and even make a marriage proposal for you. At the other end of the spectrum, there are apps out there that are actually useful such as SpotDokter, which has a thorough listing of doctors, hospitals, lab clinics and drugstores.
This free app is available for BlackBerry, Android and soon iOS. SpotDokter also offers a complete profile of hospitals, doctors what they specialize in, and even general health articles.
With the help of GPS, the app enables location-based searches for health services, complete with a map. You can hunt for a doctor’s working hours, so in case of an emergency, the app will only show you those who are available at that time. But if you just need to make an appointment, SpotDoktor can also list medical experts who are available.
SpotDokter is a Bandung-based startup started by Mendy Candella, Pascal Christian and Jaka Pradipta, three medical students at Padjajaran University.
CEO Mendy came up with the idea for the app while assigned to work in West Java.
“I saw that people went through a lot of trouble just to see a doctor or go to hospital,” he said.
“They also didn’t know of alternative places to go.”
Pascal is a medical student who is fond of coding. Last year, he won the first prize at SWAStartup 2011 for Fonaja, an app that he built. Fonaja is a cloud-based phone system for offices that allows them to have numbers and extensions for staff members at a fraction of the cost.
Impressed by Pascal’s abilities, Mendy suggested that they team up to build a medical information app so that it would also apply to their studies.
Pascal became the chief technology officer and spent two months building the app while juggling study and work. Meanwhile, Mendy and Jaka collected data.
SpotDokter only covers Java and Bali at the moment, but Mendy said their target is to grow their database until it covers the whole country.
Doctors are forbidden by the Indonesian Doctor Association from promoting themselves, Mendy said. Even doctors’ signs are standardized, and not allowed to be bright and colorful. .
“But at the same time, most patients don’t know where to seek information, so we hope this app will be the bridge between them,” Mendy said.
This is also the reason why doctors can only be viewed under hospital names in SpotDokter applications. Mendy said SpotDokter tries to get hospitals to advertise with the app under a premium listing option. Premium listings display a list of health facilities, the names of doctors and their schedules, while the free listing will only show addresses and phone numbers.
Mendy said the app doesn’t provide one-on-one consultations because that would be too personal, but it does allow doctors to include their phone number and personal Twitter accounts.
Mendy says the focus of the app is to serve as a directory, and not as a forum for patients to exchange information.
“We would like for this app to be available on other platforms, and not just smartphones,” he said. “At the moment, we only have the mobile Web site ready.”
The address for the mobile Web site is m.spotdokter.com.
Applications can be downloaded at spotdokter.com/app.