According to Mayo Clinic, Telehealth, also known as e-health, is using digital information and communication technologies to access healthcare services remotely and manage your health. Also, Telemedicine is referred to as the use of two-way voice and visual communication to provide medical services to patients remotely where the doctors and patients are in separate locations. This is done through computers and mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. In this article, we explore how Remote doctors 4 Africa is implementing telehealth and telemedicine to provide quality healthcare services remotely and in rural communities.
Remote doctors 4 Africa (RD4A), is among the e-health startups that contribute to implementing many solutions in the healthcare industry using technology. The uniqueness of this company is that it offers hospital-quality primary healthcare in countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe where doctors and specialists operate in real-time but from remote locations.
The services rendered are by Remote doctors for Africa are , a digital consultancy management suite for doctors in general practice and medical specialists as well as healthcare support services. Additionally, it generates full access and participation to remote care units out in the field.
Their service is done through the use of a Cloud-Based Health Ecosystem and the use of an application called “OKdoc”. This application allows doctors to work on patients virtually regardless of where they are. This is beneficial for patients, especially those that live in places with few qualified medical doctors.
Currently, Remote Doctors 4 Africa being one of the top 30 startups that were selected as part of the healthtech challenge , has an office within Norrsken House Kigali, an entrepreneurship hub that aims at offering community, capital, network, and advice to entrepreneurs that have problem-solving startups.
Norrsken House Kigali in partnership with the Novartis Foundation initiated the Health Tech Hub Africa, an investment push to revolutionize the development of health technologies designed by Africans for use in Africa.
More so, The Novartis Foundation aims to improve the health of low-income populations by working with local authorities and partners to bring about the improvement of health in low-income populations.
“Remote Doctors 4 Africa is actively working to address the challenges faced by African citizens like the lack of supporting telemedicine frameworks and policies, the digital barriers, as well as patient and healthcare personal biases. To effect change, you have to take the first step, you have to toil the soil and plant the seeds one by one.
This is our strategy; to address the challenges through partnerships, building the foundation for engagement to bring health services and educational awareness programs for the public, thus improving access to digital platforms and affordability,” says Ernest Mhlongo, CEO of Remote Doctors 4 Africa.
Benefits That Come With Being Part of Remote Doctors 4 Africa Health Ecosystem & Using OKdoc.
With OKdoc, patients can book and attend healthcare consultations, which cancels missing appointment possibilities, provides ease of obtaining prescriptions, and manages repeat prescriptions. Also, Patients get to have one on one attention from a skilled and vetted healthcare giver without the need to be in overcrowded clinics. That is, it improves the overall healthcare consultation experience by providing patients with private, efficient, effective, and well-targeted treatment sessions.
Most importantly, the medical history is in an encrypted information vault that the patient at that time can access via a live video conference. Therefore, complete treatment records are automatically added to their digital medical history thus reducing the amount of time needed for patients to fill out their forms. This whole process contributes to time management and automatic Privacy Legislation compliance.
OKdoc application makes it possible for people living in rural places to access good treatment centers since most doctors or medical specialists reside in urban areas. This cuts down on traveling expenses. The only requirement is to have an internet connection which allows interaction with online healthcare givers regardless of where they are and can save those who need immediate treatment.
For this to take place, RD4A partners with mobile clinics and other infrastructure providers that enable access. Clinics that lack adequate medical personnel benefit from having the services of trained and qualified professionals.
Last but not least, It prevents infection possibilities that can occur to healthcare givers as a result of being in close proximity to patients. This is crucial, especially in seasons of outbursts of pandemics and epidemics.
To conclude, RD4A promises to bridge the gap in healthcare by solving challenges associated with infrastructure and healthcare services inequity in rural communities while at the same time improving access to digital platforms and affordability.
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Tunga Elsa Ndibwami
Tunga Elsa Ndibwami is a dedicated professional and a continuous learner, with experience in research, and project management. Tunga holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Rwanda, where she studied Biotechnology, where her passion for scientific research grew. Currently, Tunga is the project manager at Smolleys, a digital bank for kids fostering financial literacy, and an intern at Cue Africa, developing her research, leadership, and project management skills. Prior to joining Smolleys and Cue Africa, Tunga was a professional intern at Rwanda Standards Board assisting in the laboratory analysis of samples to ensure compliance with Standard Specifications. In all her work, Tunga is always looking for ways to merge her various passions to create something new that will positively impact people’s lives for the better.