The healthcare system in Nigeria is going through dramatic changes due to rising demand for healthcare. This has compelled healthcare service providers to deploy digital technology more than ever.
Today, no fewer than 10 digital health startups are in the country attending to the public. Their services are aimed at restoring patients’ confidence in hospitals and other health facilities.
The startups bridge the gap between caregivers and members of the public through technology, making access to prompt medical attention easier and providing an affordable plan as well as keeping records of the users. The healthcare startups, in no particular order of importance in this context, are listed below.
eClat Healthcare Limited, an innovative health-tech solutions provider and a subsidiary of the Interswitch Group, operates an eClinic designed to effectively address challenges associated with medical records management.
The eClinic is a specially designed patient-focused healthcare service product that transforms the familiar analog system of record-keeping into a digitalised process, where patients’ records are secured for easy access.
The eClinic platform centralises all records of patients, ensuring that their data is within the reach of health workers, opening avenues for swift analysis, efficiency and thoroughness.
While speaking about the eClinic at a media parley, recently, the Chief Executive Officer, Interswitch eClat, Dr Wallace Ogufere, said that introduction of the improved health-tech solution to Nigeria would facilitate efficiency and enhance trust between patients and their healthcare providers, as patients are guaranteed their safety and the safety of their medical records.
He added, “The infusion of technology into the healthcare system in Nigeria is one that will certainly increase efficiency, save costs and deliver trust between patients and their healthcare providers. Ultimately, this is the goal of eClinic, among other benefits.”
Medismarts is a healthcare startup that specialises in leveraging technology, data and foresight to identify and create viable and innovative healthcare solutions to both obvious and hidden challenges that sabotage or limit access, quality, efficiency and growth in the healthcare sector. Through the deployment of its expertise, experience and innovative solutions, it has continued to facilitate more efficient service deliveries for healthcare providers and greater access for healthcare service receivers.
Other services in the healthcare sector, which the startup digitally provides, cut across Hospital Management Systems, Health Insurance/Claims Processing Software and Self-Service Portals that automate claims submission and patient management, and more.
Speaking on the startup’s aspiration in the sector, Obinna Osuji, one of the co-founders, said, “Our biggest aspiration is to consistently and significantly contribute to the overall advancement of Africa’s healthcare industry. To achieve this, we consistently engage diverse stakeholders of the healthcare industry to better understand their challenges. We extensively invest in research and development to generate valuable initiatives. We also have continued to unreservedly deploy our intellectual and professional resources to ensure the delivery of noteworthy technologies and robust solutions that will make this happen.”
Beyond the aforementioned startup in Nigeria’s healthcare system is Kangpehealth, which started as a telemedicine provider that allows patients to ask doctors health questions and get answers in less than 10 minutes. With its present status as an insurance company, it uses software, data science and telemedicine to make health insurance delightful, affordable and easier to access.
Beneficiaries can use Kangpe through SMS, mobile app or on their website at any time of the day. The startup, which is in partnership with over 1,500 hospitals across Nigeria, provides health benefits that cut across general and specialist consultations, secondary care (eye and dental care), emergency services, surgeries and lots more.
Another startup in the healthcare sector, SaferMom, leverages the power of cost-effective technologies to provide accessible, scalable and affordable mobile health services to pregnant and nursing mothers through SMS and voice calls in the preferred languages of the user. The platform is easily accessible irrespective of location, type of phone (whether smartphone or basic phone) and language.
Stakeholders count benefits of medtech
Given the development, particularly when appreciated from the perspective of the consumer services in the healthcare system, Ambrose Uwaleke said, “With continuous migration of Nigerian doctors abroad in search of greener pasture, leading to a reduction in the number of doctors in the country the unprecedented evolvement of healthcare startups will, no doubt, bridge the gap between patients and doctors.”
According to Kennedy Abagun, a health service worker, the embrace of digitech has impacted positively on the health sector.
He said, “There is no doubt that healthcare continues to be influenced by progressions in digital health technologies, jettisoning traditional healthcare systems and practices, which are phasing out in this computer age.
“With digital technology, not a few services like drug purchases, telemedicine, health insurance and medical consultations have been made easy. With healthcare-related technology, consumers in the healthcare sector can now access and enjoy these services from the comfort of their homes and offices.”
Recently, the CEO/Co-founder ofa tech firm, Avancee Pinnacle, Tolu Oluyemi, advanced reasons healthcare providers, particularly hospitals, in Nigeria should digitise their payment systems.
With Nigerian subscribers on broadband, it is time hospitals explored the possibility of technological penetration and adopt technology in all aspects of their operations to achieve efficiency, he asserted.
Oluyemi added that with the dire situation of the Nigerian health sector, digitalising hospital operations is the way to go.
He claimed that since the country’s healthcare sector has been left desolate and in a pathetic state for so long, adopting technology might be the game changer.
According to him, the low technological adoption is the reason the health sector is in a sorry state.