The current status of the African health environment reveals a disconnect between hospitals and doctors regarding the medical history of the patients. Physicians are struggling to provide care, or to act promptly, due to an information deficit and in some cases they need to restart some of the exploration procedures, which not only increases health costs for the patient but also increases the hospital mortality rate. Without access to a unique patient identity and verifiable medical history, individuals are likely to face challenges proving their eligibility for health insurance schemes or other health-related entitlements, which are often a prerequisite for accessing public health services or treatments. According to a 2018 report by the World Bank, where health information systems are fragmented and patients seek care at multiple facilities, there may be instances of double charging, double payment or patients not being reimbursed.
The start-up, Kea Medicals, is addressing this problem by providing a single database, Kea’s Hospital Information System (HIS), which facilitates the management of patients’ medical information and aims to increase access to healthcare and health micro-insurance.
In November 2018, the Benin-based venture received a grant from the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund to deploy a mobile-enabled (USSD and mobile apps) integrated health system that allows doctors to scan a patient’s universal medical ID and to access patient medical information from any hospital location across the country.
The success of the platform has allowed Kea Medicals to build strategic partnerships with the Health Ministry in Benin, as well as with international organisations such as Sanofi, Pierre Fabre foundation, Mercy Ships, NSIA Group, Caretech Group and the Tony Elumelu foundation. Kea Medicals has collaborated with MTN in Benin to integrate their mobile money application-programming interface (API) to offer patients a simpler and more efficient method to pay for services via mobile money.
As of June 2019, Kea Medicals has now reached 1,000 monthly active users. The start-ups tackles no less than four local challenges:
- Connecting over 125,000 potential patients in Benin to 16,000 healthcare providers, and interconnecting 781 hospitals by the end of December 2019;
- Revolutionising healthcare practices by offering an opportunity for every doctor in Benin to become an independent medical entrepreneur, through Kea Medicals’ online consultation platform;
- Establishing a digital healthcare network and facilitating access to a better quality of health care for Beninese citizens no matter how remote their location may be from big cities; and
- Making medical insurance affordable for patients in Benin.
The Ecosystem Accelerator programme is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Government, the GSMA and its members.