Let’s talk about Telemedicine in Kenya.
It is safe to claim that 2015 was Kenya’s “year of telehealth.”
However, when did telehealth actually begin? For background, the world’s first instance of an electronic medical record transfer involved radiological images being exchanged. This was via a telephone line 24 miles between two townships in Pennsylvania in the 1940s. In the 1950s, a Canadian physician constructed a teleradiology system that was used in and around Montreal as a result of this technology. Motion images also became increasingly popular as these procedures did, and as contemporary film technology emerged, real plans for video medicine emerged.
Clinicians from the University of Nebraska were the first to employ video communication in the medical field. The institution built up a two-way television system to broadcast information in 1959, the university established a two-way television setup to transmit information to medical students across campus, and five years later linked with a state hospital to perform video consultations.
By 2018, when SASAdoctor was launched, the concept of telehealth was fairly unrestricted, but not paid for and not covered by any insurance. Since then, there was a pandemic that made helped Telehealth to be paid for, covered, and continues expanding to a wider Kenyan audience.
Kenya’s initial foray into telemedicine.
In order to improve access to better healthcare for the rural poor and the marginalized, Kenya started its first telemedicine program. The goal of the telemedicine program was to create a platform for patients and healthcare professionals in rural areas to use video conferencing to communicate with medical professionals at Kenya’s primary referral hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
The Kenyan Ministry of Health and the German corporation Merck Group collaborated in the project. The goal of the telemedicine project was to connect Kenya’s Machakos Level Five Hospital to the Kenyatta National Hospital in the country’s east.
Since 2015, Kenya’s telemedicine industry has undergone a significant transformation. Many hospitals are now employing telehealth to connect with patients in far-off places. The recent rapid advancements in technology are to account for this.
The evolution of telemedicine
The field of telemedicine is evolving more quickly than ever nowadays. The affordability and accessibility of basic telemedicine technologies are increasing dramatically as technology progresses at an exponential rate. For instance, a large portion of Kenya’s population is familiar with utilizing online video chat apps (like Skype, Facebook, or WhatsApp) and has access to a computer or mobile device to utilize them. We also now have the capability for live video telemedicine.
The lack of many overworked medical professionals (particularly primary care practitioners) and the expectation for more convenient care have resulted in the rise of telemedicine companies in Kenya like SASAdoctor, BYON8, HealthX and others. SASAdoctor, for instance, offers patients 24/7 access to medical care with an on-call doctor contracted by the company.
SASAdoctor is a HIPPA Accredited Social Enterprise, end-to-end healthcare company licensed by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Council (KMPDC), Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB), and Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board (KMLTTB) that specializes in telemedicine, using a hybrid of in-person and virtual support through the SASAdoctor Application on Android, iOS and USSD to enable patients to access quality, affordable and convenient healthcare.
SASAdoctor is not only a telemedicine provider but rather a full-service Medical Centre that uses technology to provide quality primary medical care.
In the SASAdoctor model, patients are treasured, and therefore SASAdoctor takes a keen and holistic interest in their health outcomes.
The Promise of SASAdoctor is to practice good medicine by following four pillars.
- No overprescribing: Their doctors recommend only the necessary medications. There is no incentive for them to over prescribe.
- No over-testing: Their doctors order only the necessary tests. There is no incentive for them to over test.
- Quality Assurance: they only used Kenyan accredited Practitioners that are rigorously vetted and continuously subjected to quality assurance standards and training.
- On demand healthcare: Patients access healthcare services online in real-time, via the SASAdoctor mobile app (Android, iOS, USSD, and Safaricom MiniApp). And their services cover a broad range of services, from scheduling appointments to follow-up appointments, labs, and diagnostics.
Increasingly, telemedicine is becoming a way to give medical practices an edge in a competitive healthcare landscape where it is difficult to stay independent or maintain a healthy bottom line.
The goal of SASAdoctor is the overall wellness of clients with a service that combines:
- 24Hour SASAdoctor Telemedicine
- 24Hour SASAdoctor Physical Clinics
- SASApharmacy with medication delivery countrywide
- SASAlabs – mobile labs with partners countrywide
- Prepaid Medical Program/Subscription for as low as 995 per year
- Chronic Disease Management Program
- Affordable Fee for Service Program
- Wellness Webinars/Health Education
- Capitation Program
- SASAclinics – Inhouse Clinics at selected corporates
- Partner facilities/providers
- SASAwellness App
SASAdoctor Solution for Quality, Affordable and convenient healthcare
There are three major items that sasadoctor has focused on to improve the quality of care and at the same time make it affordable and convenient. Below are some of the solutions that SASAdoctor has focused on
Real-time tele-medicine consulting
SASAdoctor can provide primary care, follow up visits and management and refill of medications and chronic illnesses management services in lieu of a trip to the hospital/clinic.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Through tele-monitoring SASAdoctor practitioners can monitor to track the vital signs of our high-risk patients or those recently released from hospitals.
Also known as asynchronous telemedicine, through SASAdoctor’ s in built-sophisticated security features they can share a patient’s clinical history with specialists while maintaining confidentiality at the same time saving on diagnosis time and monitory resources.
Five obvious benefits of using SASAdoctor
SASAdoctor solution is innovative and unique for Kenya, it is common in developed countries, in that it is based on the premise that people will achieve good health outcomes if they have a regular family doctor who is reliable and consistently available.
Another unique aspect is that, to control cost and ensure quality, SASAdoctor provide all services inhouse to the greatest extent possible as we are a licensed medical clinic, licensed pharmacy, and licensed lab.
SASAdoctor own all our IP so we can enhance the offering, customize, and create bespoke solutions for different market segments especially reaching segments at the lower ends of the economic pyramid.
Telehealth has been shown to overcome barriers to health services caused by distance between patient and provider, access to reliable transportation, fragmentation of care due to gaps in time between appointments, and lack of available providers.
SASAdoctor increases access to care
Access to care may be hampered by distance and travel time between patients and healthcare professionals. Fortunately, telemedicine can help healthcare professionals access patients regardless of their location, particularly primary care and specialist doctors. Patients in medically underserved populations and those living in remote areas with a shortage of clinicians can benefit especially from telemedicine.
SASAdoctor improves quality of care delivery
Telemedicine can improve the quality of care for patients with both medical and mental health conditions. A recent study showed that with telemedicine, patients had:
- 38% fewer hospital admissions
- 31% fewer hospital re-admissions
- 63% more likely to spend fewer days in the hospital
SASAdoctor reduces healthcare costs
Telemedicine can increase efficiency of care delivery, reduce expenses of caring for patients or transporting to another location, and can even keep patients out of the hospital. In fact, one study showed that telemedicine care had 19 percent savings over inpatient care cost.
SASAdoctor enhances traditional face-to-face medicine
A strong doctor-patient relationship is the foundation for high-quality patient care and reducing health care costs. Telemedicine should support, not replace, traditional care delivery. With telemedicine care providers can continue to care for patients in-person care while still providing the flexibility and convenience of seeing patients remotely for follow up visits, check-ups, and education when appropriate or necessary.
SASAdoctor improves patient engagement and satisfaction
Telemedicine makes it easier and more convenient for patients to stay healthy and engaged in their health care. Patients love the convenience, flexibility, and real-time care with their providers.
SASAdoctor improves provider satisfaction
Being a healthcare provider today can be challenging and stressful at times. Telemedicine can improve job satisfaction by making it easier to meet with patients. Providers can use SASAdoctor to make it easier to balance their work and family life.
To experience the benefits of telemedicine, download the SASAdoctor APP today.
Make SASAdoctor your family doctor