How GPNow helped give rise to the success of telehealth in the Asia Pacific region with Twilio

Users with a heart symbol


consultations per month

Healthcare hards


patients served

Medical icon in a magnifying glass


physicians engaged

Robert Hicken, founder and CEO of GPNow, entered telehealth after a close friend suffered a spinal cord injury. He witnessed firsthand the limitations of traditional technology, and set out to build a new telehealth platform.

GPNow was established in 2017 with the vision of improving patient care and offering telehealth services in ways that’s not been done before. In just a few years, their focus on a patient-centric approach to crisis care has made inroads and changed the perception of what the future of healthcare could look like in the Asia Pacific region, and their success is in part due to their early partnership with Twilio.

Now operating in four countries—Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore—with plans to roll out in additional regions in the near future, GPNow provides telehealth services across multiple spectrums, including supporting victims of bushfire in Australia through the BushFireCare Program, quadriplegic and paraplegic patients through the Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) initiative, and those potentially infected with COVID-19 through the initiative. GPNow is also engaged with Aged Care facilities and Aboriginal groups.

“Historically the health care system has focused on protecting the doctors rather than putting the patients’ care first. But GPNow is helping to change that because it’s simply the right thing to do,” Hicken said. “Twilio’s solutions are a game changer, and were the only viable options to help make this happen, and it’s truly been the best decision we have made.”

The 2019–20 Australian bushfire season, also called the Black Summer, was a period of intense bushfires throughout Australia. Thanks to Twilio Programmable Video, GPNow was able to launch immediate mental health support via video consultation into the communities impacted.

The initiative is aimed at helping to reduce the challenges in seeking mental health assistance due to the fires, and offers 10 free private consultations with a qualified psychologist.

COVID-19 represented another opportunity for GPNow to help. When the virus hit, GPNow launched a contact-free, private telehealth video consultation using Twilio Programmable Video, with medical professionals for anyone who needed advice and support anytime, anywhere.

Leveraging this same concept, GPNow has also recently moved over two thousand quadriplegic and paraplegic patients onto their telehealth platform to provide them with contact-free therapy from over 50 therapists who are now part of the program.

Bringing choosing Twilio to offer high definition, diagnostic quality video under low bandwidth, GPNow can access underserved communities that were previously not reachable. Skin cancer specialists can see rashes and determine if a patient needs to travel from afar to treat potential cancer. A psychologist can see body language and eye movement and assess what the patient needs remotely. That level and quality of service has unlocked limitless possibilities with Twilio, Hicken said.

“Twilio’s solutions are a game changer, and were the only viable options to help make this happen, and it’s truly been the best decision we have made.”

Robert Hicken Founder and CEO

While GPNow’s platform has been extended and applied to many other areas to offer services, such as private tutoring or legal consultations, their platform today is primarily focused on lifesaving and life-enriching health efforts.

One exciting initiative GPNow is exploring is the possibility of bringing a hospital crash team “into the ambulance” that is en route to a hospital, in order to brief the team on a patient’s critical situation ahead of time. This allows the crash team to be fully informed and well-equipped to immediately address the incident upon arrival. The hope is to shave off critical minutes when those minutes could mean life or death for a patient.

GPNow is also exploring a multi-screen option for their virtual clinic. Traditionally these telehealth meetings are private one-on-one consultations, however there may be a need for a specialist to also be “in the room” which would require an additional screen. Consulting with both doctors simultaneously bypasses the need to give and wait on a referral, which saves the patient precious time when there is a critical need and time is of essence. Twilio’s Programmable Video solutions allow GPNow to extend to multi-screen capabilities in the near future, Hicken said.

After all, it is GPNow, not “tomorrow” and because of Twilio’s architecture, GPNow sees no roadblocks to the numerous possibilities ahead.

“Twilio has great products, it’s not marketing hype, it’s real, it’s tangible, you can see the results and you will believe it. It feels like you can put your hands into the screen and touch someone, on any mobile device, anywhere anytime. Our best demo was during a U2 concert in Perth where we gave a demo to a psychologist. Thirty thousand people couldn’t receive Whatsapp messages but we, GPNow were able to successfully demo Twilio, and it was amazing!”

Robert Hicken Founder and CEO

Ready to get started with Twilio?