Around the world healthcare systems are transforming to keep up with demand increases and rising supply constraints.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, technology can play a vital role in cutting manual processes, tracking efficiencies, and improving patient care. As a result, we’re seeing digital health services becoming more popular, particularly in Africa.
In fact, research found that 41% of internet users in Africa are regularly using their mobile phones to search for health information.
Yet while, South Africa has the highest standard of healthcare in Africa, with roughly 400 public hospitals and 200 private ones, the majority of the population relies on the public system, which can leave some services overwhelmed.
One such example is in Northern Cape, the largest and most sparsely populated province of South Africa. Here, nurses care for up to 40 patients each, global standards mandate it should be five to eight in a general ward.
An app for accessibility
Together with the Northern Cape Department of Health, and under the leadership of the acting Head of the Provincial Health Department, Riaan Strydom, Vodacom has created a solution to make the province’s healthcare services more accessible.
The cutting-edge Patient Engagement solution includes SmartPatient. This mobile phone app allows patients who need provincial, municipal, or community-based healthcare to log a medical assistance request on their phone.
It also features SmartDispatch, a computer-aided emergency services dispatch system enabling users to make an emergency service request via SMS, USSD, e-mail, phone, and the SmartPatient app – a first for South Africa’s public healthcare sector.
Connect for a better future
Providing real-time communication between the patient and call centre, as well as tracking and engaging with paramedics responding to the scene of the incident, this solution will not only make ambulances more accessible, but it will help streamline patient engagement and the delivery of healthcare services.
Available on any SMS enabled devices, the best experience is via a smartphone, as the solution can use the internet and other live tracking to see the location of the responding paramedics.
Supporting our wider ambition at Vodafone to drive more inclusivity, the launch of Patient Engagement highlights how public-private partnerships can spearhead innovation and ultimately save people’s lives.
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