The trend towards value-based healthcare is picking up steam and will be challenging to reverse. On the plus side, healthcare providers are inventing new strategies to manage the system. This is a clear area where the technology may improve outcomes while lessening expenses.
With several industries, such as education and finance, moving to digitize their services to improve remote access and relevance, the health sector has yet to follow suit.
Currently every country in the world has signed on to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global agenda aimed at enhancing humanity’s well-being and the planet’s ability to maintain it. The SDGs for global health aim to eliminate unnecessary child deaths and significant diseases and achieve universal health coverage.
The SDGs are perfectly possible, notwithstanding their lofty goals. We merely need to make use of the opportunities provided by the Internet, mobile devices, and other digital technologies, which are already boosting healthcare access and quality in hard-to-reach areas.
Consider Rwanda for instance. It has made significant progress in digital health as a result of government partnership with a variety of rapidly growing healthcare start-ups, including Zipline, a drone supply chain tech startup, and Babylon Health (operating as Babyl in Rwanda) a telemedicine app among many others.
Rwanda’s Digital Health Revolution.
Experts have identified the digitization of healthcare services as one route to increasing healthcare access while keeping costs to a minimum. To build on Rwanda’s strong roots in healthcare and technology as well as accelerated progress towards the country’s long-term development goals, the government inked a ten-year collaboration agreement with UK-based remote consultations provider Babylon Health, enabling Rwandans around the country to gain healthcare services via their cell phones. Since its inception in 2016, Babylon Health has delivered over 1 million consultations and enrolled around 2 million users.
The digitization of healthcare services allows patients to conveniently communicate with medical service providers remotely without visiting their facilities. This, among other things improves the number of people who have access to healthcare and limit trends like over-the-counter self-medication.
Another noteworthy example is the pharmaceutical industry, governed by the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) article 9 of 2019, which established legislation controlling online pharmacy practice, and the government has permitted online pharmacies to operate since then.
So far, a handful of pharmacies have been granted online operating licenses, including Kasha and Afia Pharma, to name a few.
Rwanda’s high-tech achievements also include using unpiloted drones to deliver blood to geographically inaccessible locations, spraying mosquito habitats to prevent malaria, improving blood services by ensuring safety and using advanced tech to provide patients with the blood components they need.
A bright & healthy future for Rwanda.
According to medical professionals, there has been development over the years in areas such as universal health coverage, internet access, and more significant mobile phone usage, all of which pave the way for quick adoption and growth of digitized healthcare.
This is an excellent opportunity for Rwanda to expand on its previous accomplishments, such as access to health insurance and other technological advancements. Rwanda has a lot to build on, and now is the time to do so. The government has made deliberate attempts to go digital to facilitate service delivery and has lately used its own digital health prowess to respond to the continuing Covid-19 outbreak.
The success of healthcare digitalization is dependent, among other things, on patient trust in platforms and systems. Trust can be gained by establishing well-defined standards and monitoring them.
Healthcare digitization could also aid efficiency in the face of a low doctor-to-patient ratio, which was predicted to be at 1:15,000 in 2015. According to experts, cases are referred to doctors via a triage system after being assigned a degree of urgency, ensuring that complex situations receive specialist treatment.
According to a 2019 study titled “The Future of Healthcare: The Impact of Digitalization on Healthcare Services Performance,” healthcare systems are increasingly facing various challenges, including a growing population that necessitates the design of digitized services and changes in healthcare delivery paradigm.
It is clear that Governments must do more to integrate digital-health activities across ministries and, where possible, work with private- and nonprofit-sector players to create an optimal environment for digital innovation.
Alestide Kabogo is a motivated young Leader with an exceedingly motivation in harnessing the potential of young people on the continent. He is on a mission to create, design, and advocate for youth-friendly solutions as a platform that can easily address the most pressing health challenges and economic opportunities worldwide through a wide range of innovations. He is a more vigorous advocate for youth empowerment programs in sustainability concepts. He believes in the power of young people and what they can achieve when they are provided with the opportunities, skills, and tools. He gets to enjoy digging deep into the difficulties of healthcare in Africa and how they might be addressed. He is highly interested in leveraging his writing skills to communicate scientific, medical, and health-related trends to a broad audience, and the vibrant Africa-wide tech ecosystem. Alestide is straightaway pursuing an honors degree in Global Challenges at the African Leadership University.