Digitising Indonesia’s Healthcare
Inside Out – An Interview with Ms. Soetikno
T. Robyn Soetikno
PT Global Urban Esensial (PT GUE)
Driven to make an impact in Indonesia’s healthcare landscape, Robyn founded PT GUE, an Indonesia-based digital health startup with a social mission, in 2015. Her goal is to optimize collaboration between doctors and patients to achieve improved patient management and provide greater access to healthcare.
In 2019, she was listed in Forbes’ 30 under 30 Asia - Healthcare and Science category.
Robyn earned her Master of Science degree in International Health Management from Imperial College, London, and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Public Health and Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College, New York.
We had a chance to speak with this patron with a passion and find out what inspired her to embark on this trailblazing journey, her vision for Indonesia’s healthcare sector and how businesses can embrace sustainability with DBS Foundation (DBSF).
Influence & Inspiration
Where does your passion for the healthcare industry stem from?
Healthcare is a human right. However, addressing and solving the many challenges faced by patients, healthcare providers, and institutions to deliver quality healthcare require multidisciplinary approaches.
Having been raised in a family of healthcare providers and in the pharmaceutical family business, has given me an insider view on the intricacies of the industry, which has helped me to appreciate the salience of multidisciplinary views and expertise, and the importance of collaboration over competition to provide far-reaching benefits for society.
What are your views of business and its ability to connect / create impact to society, and what were the influencing factors in your life which contributed to this?
To conceive and scale a business that can create wide-scale value and cause a rippling effect throughout its environment – from the employees to partners, to the customers and various stakeholders in the ecosystem – requires a lot of effort and hard work, but it is aligned with my belief that the effort we put into what we do will ultimately result in the betterment of ourselves as individuals and as a society.
The advent of technology and the increasing scrutiny on ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues by today’s consumers have dispelled the outdated concept that financial growth and social impact are mutually exclusive. This makes it crucial for all businesses to consider the social impact it is making to stay relevant and sustainable.
Social impact drove me to start a company, not the other way around. Facing the brutal fact that financial health plays an important role in sustaining that social impact has challenged the way I envision our strategies and operations as a business. However, this awareness has enabled me to strike the balance between pure social impact and pure revenue growth to ensure that PT GUE truly reaches its beneficiaries while maintaining positive financial health.
Causing Positive Change
What is the impact you are seeking to achieve in the Indonesian healthcare sector?
We aim to deliver much-needed quality healthcare for the Indonesian people with innovative and accessible platform technology.
The journey starts from understanding the users. From there, we strive to create more value through collaboration with like-minded players, be it well-established companies, the public sector or startups, to reach our users through platform technology and our ecosystem. At its core, PT GUE has created an ecosystem of multiple platforms that have deep relationships with over two million patients, half of the doctors in Indonesia, and 1,800 pharmacies.
It is very inspiring that you and your team are trying to create an impact in the Indonesian healthcare sector. How does this social impact relate to your financial goals?
Social impact is at the heart of PT GUE’s work, and we started with a vision of social impact, before venturing into building a business. The setting of financial goals is imperative to ensure that we are equipped financially to bring value to our beneficiaries, and remain sustainable in the long term. Financial goals also challenge us to refine our strategies and sharpen our operations to be even more meaningful to beneficiaries.
How has PT GUE supported the Indonesian healthcare sector as it continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic?
PT GUE's main priority during Covid-19 is to support our users and we have adopted a multi-pronged approach to answer the various needs of our users. For example, we have worked with public and private partners to distribute masks and PPEs, including face shields to thousands of babies across Indonesia. We have also produced numerous webinars to keep our doctors up-to-date with the latest developments in the pandemic.
The pandemic has caused financial uncertainty and income loss for many parents and doctors. In response, we have launched new features in our platforms to support them in accessing new streams of income to maintain financial security during these uncertain times.
How has DBS supported you in your journey to scale up your social enterprise to enable more collaborations?
Collaboration is one of our core values at PT GUE and we are always open to connect with like-minded SEs in the same space. Through a conversation with DBS Private Bank, we were introduced to DBS Foundation who works with many SEs across Asia and connected PT GUE with two SEs in Singapore who are expanding into Indonesia - Stratificare and reach52. We explored potential synergistic opportunities including manufacturing medical test kits and last mile healthcare delivery to reach those without access to medicines.
We hope to see more interconnections between SEs to create wide-scale value to make a greater impact on our beneficiaries and society.
The Future Ahead
How can Asian businesses embrace sustainability?
I believe it is key that Asian businesses recognize that social sustainability and financial sustainability are imperative to generating long term outcomes. Organizations should first reflect on their purpose and evaluate whether it creates positive social impact and if it is financially sustainable while benefiting its customers and the ecosystem. Once the organization has made a commitment to doing social good, review its strategies, operations and culture to ensure that goals are achieved in a sustainability responsible way. Lastly, make sustainability a part of the discussion within the organization and its strategy to make it a reality.
There are many paths for businesses to embrace sustainability. Adopt a growth mindset, learn from social enterprises, take a leaf from well-established businesses that have or are going through the same process as yours. Organizations like DBSF can also facilitate the convergence with like-minded companies and explore synergistic opportunities for short- and long-term business goals that not only generate financial returns, but also benefit the environment and society.
About PT GUE
Consists of various platforms that enable patients, doctors and pharmacies to digitally collaborate towards improved health outcomes. PT GUE aims to address power asymmetries between healthcare players, namely doctors and patients. PT GUE has also established various partnerships with medical associations, hospitals and clinics, FMCG companies, and pharmaceutical players.
Doctor to Doctor (D2D) – An application designed specifically for doctors in Indonesia, Philippines, and Cambodia to collect points for license renewal, continuing medical education (CME), as well as professional networking and patient management.
Teman Bumil – The largest pregnancy and parenting mobile application, with over 2 million users, offering informative features, an interactive forum, and online health classes.
Teman Diabetes – A diabetes management app with a unique collaborative approach that enables diabetics to work closely with their doctors and caretakers to monitor and manage their condition. Currently with over 45,000 users.
GoApotik – An online marketplace with over 1,800 pharmacies to increase supply of healthcare products including medication and prescriptions.
GueSehat – An online media provider offering health-related content targeted to the millennials.