Being healthy can be difficult and my attempts at it led to my desperate search for health apps to inculcate some form of, I don’t know, good habits? As I searched on, I realised something.
HealthHub is ranked #2 in Health & Fitness in the App Store while Health Buddy is ranked #1 in the same category. With both having similar app descriptions, it’s normal to ask, what’s the difference between HealthHub and Health Buddy ah?
What’s the difference between HealthHub and Health Buddy?
From the looks of it, you probably realised that the two apps are created and managed by 2 different entities. HealthHub is managed by the Ministry of Health (MOH), while Health Buddy is managed by Singapore Health Group (SingHealth). As a result, while they appear similar functionally, they still differ.
Their differences can be summarised by their relationship, which is that SingHealth is a subset of MOH. For those who struggle to draw Venn Diagrams (like me), this means that SingHealth is part of MOH and not the other way around. So that would mean differences between their apps, including;
1. Booking Coverage of Hospitals and Clinics
2. Access to Health Records
3. Management of Family and Friends’ Appointments
4. Articles and Health-related Information
5. Additional Features of HealthHub & Health Buddy
Booking Coverage of Hospitals and Clinics
Using HealthHub, you can book appointments for all public hospitals and clinics in Singapore, except the National Skin Centre, regardless of the cluster they belong to. However, for Health Buddy, you can only book appointments for hospitals and clinics under the SingHealth cluster, which are usually located in the East. This would include:
Singapore General Hospital
Changi General Hospital
Sengkang General Hospital
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
National Cancer Centre
National Dental Centre
National Heart Centre
National Neuroscience Institute
Singapore National Eye Centre
Bukit Merah Polyclinic
Marine Parade Polyclinic
Pasir Ris Polyclinic
Access to Health Records
HealthHub allows you access to your medical records, including the immunisation, lab tests and vitals that you have done in hospitals. It can even inform you of your Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) status. Accessing this information is now convenient and secure if you also have the SingPass app. You can even access the health records of your loved ones’ after linking them to your account.
However, please bear in mind that the COVID-19 test results, as well as the medical reports requests, only apply to some institutions. You can learn more about the corresponding relevant information here and here.
Management of Family and Friends’ Appointments and Prescriptions
Here’s the part where it is neither better nor worse, just which is more suitable. Both apps offer access to your dependents’ and children’s appointment but it is how that differs. For HealthHub, you just have to enter their NRIC number as your caregiver or ask them to enter your NRIC number under “Family & Friends”.
However, for Health Buddy, you would only be able to do so after presenting both of your original Identity Cards (IC) at their clinics’ registration counter to verify and activate the link.
For all of us who are more technologically savvy, HealthHub may seem like the more convenient option. However, this is a case of different folks, different strokes. In my opinion, Health Buddy would offer better convenience when your elderly folks struggle with their smartphones. If your parents are like mine and have locked themselves out of their SingPass & Facebook, then you would appreciate this. The technological gap between generations can be rather wide and I thought that this was factored in the decision process.
For your children, HealthHub has the more convenient option of entering their NRIC number to link up. For Health Buddy, you would need to present their Birth Certificate at their registration counter.
Articles and Health-related Information
Both HealthHub and Health Buddy have their own feed of articles. Health Buddy uses articles from Health Xchange, which has a team of dedicated writers, assisted by SingHealth’s experts. For HealthHub, articles are contributed by different stakeholders. This includes MOH, Health Science Authority (HSA), Health Promotion Board (HPB), the 3 healthcare clusters and their respective members. I found both feeds helpful.
Aside from the articles, both also have resources for users to access, in the form of a glossary. For the Health Buddy, it is the Conditions & Treatments tab while for HealthHub, it is under the “A-Z” tab. In my opinion, while HealthHub’s interface is more aesthetically pleasing, I found Health Buddy more intuitive. Upon opening the “A-Z” tab in HealthHub, one would be greeted with a list of articles, which is unexpected to me. “Categories” and “Index” tabs would appear upon scrolling.
However, for Health Buddy, I thought that the search bar for medication is a bit too far down. You can also search by body parts but I did not find that particularly useful.
Additional Features of HealthHub & Health Buddy
Money Matters Tab
HealthHub allows you to give consent to MOH for the Medical Claims Authorisation Form (Multiple), or MCAF(M), to withdraw MediSave . This allows you to claim using MediShield Life/ Integrated Shield Plan for approved treatments received at participating institutions. You can also give consent to IRAS, CPFB, public healthcare institution and insurance agencies for healthcare schemes and subsidies. It only takes 2 taps after pressing “Give Consent”. You can also find out the fee benchmarks after clicking “Bill Size Estimator”.
By now, you might think that HealthHub is a better app, which I would not personally disagree. However, if you visit the clinics and hospitals in the SingHealth cluster, perhaps downloading the Health Buddy app is still not a bad idea.
There was another tab called My Medical Diary and I wanted to see the difference. Turns out, Health Tracker, in my opinion, is a lot more important. It offers clinical assessments for those invited, and trackers including In-Vitro Fertilisation and Pregnancy. No more dodgy apps for these purposes since these trackers are made by a trusted source.
Rather self-explanatory. I thought this is a pretty good feature due to the convenience that it can give. Imagine waiting responsibly while getting food. You can avoid the fate of waiting miserably in the clinic when you can be drinking and spilling tea in Coffee Bean in Tan Tock Seng Hospital. I believe that is something that many can benefit from, especially if they have to make multiple visits to the clinics.
I know this seems odd but this is something that you would appreciate. I had the honour of admitting myself into a hospital with the anxiety of ridiculous hospitalisation fees. You can avoid that by just checking it, which would give you the much-needed assurance. More importantly, you and your loved ones can communicate and plan early and reduce the stress needed.
Payment using Invoice No.
This is another quality of life improvement that you can enjoy because this would allow easy payment of the bills of your loved one’s. SingPass is convenient, but if your parents are not able to keep up with technology, this is an easy solution to pay for them. Master, Visa and eNets are accepted.
Here’s a summary of differences between HealthHub and Health Buddy:
HealthHub was conceived much later than Health Buddy, which was released in 2012, and naturally, it would score in the aesthetic department. Also, HealthHub allows easy and safe access to not only your medical information but also your loved ones’. However, do not mistake that Health Buddy is worse.
It would be suitable for you if you or your loved ones a SingHealth clinic or hospital regularly due to the convenience.
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