How Medbook Africa is digitizing the health industry

Oscar Ng'ang'a, GM-Business Development, Medbook Africa

A health technology firm is tackling a huge challenge in Kenya’s health sector; paper-based medical records

 At a time when technology is disrupting every facet of our lives, health care records in Kenya and in most of Africa are still paper-based. It’s not hard to see why service providers are coming in with technology-based solutions for digitizing medical records. Rising to the hilt is Medbook Kenya, a six-year-old joint venture between Strathmore University and I-Lab Africa.

In 2014, Medbook nosed a gap in the local healthcare sector; most medical records were analogue and offline. By providing telemedicine, and digitizing medical records, Medbook enables patients with a tool to track their own medical records, and share them with practitioners anywhere. Redundant testing could be eliminated, hand written prescriptions could become a thing of the past, proper drugs could be administered, and efficiencies between doctors and patients could be increased.

Medbook is an innovative universal health platform that allows you to securely store, access and share your medical records at the touch of a button. Anchored on technology, it offers safe access to health records management to patients, doctors and insurance companies.

The health tech company allows health care providers to create and maintain Electronic Health Records, a key part of medical informatics that’s been deployed by developed countries to improve health care systems. 

While access to quality health care is a constitutional right in Kenya, millions of Kenyans cannot afford to pay for health services in both private and public hospitals. World Bank data points to grim statistics; only 20% of Kenyans have some form of medical insurance, translating to as many as 35 million people whose medical records are either jumbled up in some file cabinet, or are nonexistent.  But this is changing, thanks to Medbook’s transformative technology.

With Medbook’s software, physicians and healthcare administrators can easily manage medical records, appointment bookings, medical billing, and prescriptions.

“More importantly, Medbook offers a better healthcare and insurance plan,” says Oscar Ng’ang’a, Medbook’s General Manager for Business Development.

With your digitized medical history standardized to a universally accepted format, Medbook plugs you into an extraordinary diverse pool of medical practitioners as well as pairing you with an insurance provider who will meet your precise needs.

To enable more people to get access to quality healthcare, Medbook designed and launched four practical solutions; the Medbook mobile App, Med360+, Flora and Mediclaim.

Using the Medbook mobile App, users can maintain and manage personal health data, access a doctor as well as a range of personal health management tools.  In the same light, Medbook’s Med360+, a Health Management Information System targeting healthcare facilities allows hospitals and clinics to track patients and billing, greatly increasing their efficiency.

Flora by Medbook, a sexual reproductive health solution targets young women. With it, they can easily track their menstrual cycles, fertility and ovulation. Additionally, users can get access to in-App consultation with doctors and gynecologists.

Medbook’s fourth solution is dubbed MediClaim, targeting insurance underwriters. It allows them to authenticate, process and manage health related insurance claims.

For a long time, medical insurers in Kenya have struggled with a spike in fraudulent claims. Medbook’s MediClaim addresses this challenge by replacing flawed billing systems, translating to increased efficiency.

Given the existing gaps in the health sector, it’s not surprising that the four solutions were well embraced in the industry. “Currently, over 2 million patients, 1000 doctors and over 500 providers use some form of our solutions across 7 countries in Africa,” says Ng’ang’a.

In Africa, where most healthcare systems are underfunded and lack adequate infrastructure to serve burgeoning populations, Medbook could be the game changer. It allows every person with an internet enabled mobile phone to get access to quality healthcare, conveniently.

The mobile phone is at the heart of Medbook’s ambitious plan to transform healthcare systems in Africa.

Luckily, Kenya has one of the best mobile and internet penetration rates in Africa and most remote villages have internet access.

With Medbook solutions, people in rural and urban settings can now access medical care through remote consultations. “They do not need to make long journeys to hospitals, which do not have the patients’ medical records and have to retest, re-diagnose and retreat patients,” he says.

Despite the benefits that Medbook offers, its idea met some resistance at launch. However, as patients started seeing the benefit of having their medical records at the touch of a button, they warmed up to it. Ng’ang’a says the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the healthcare industry as many patients are afraid of accessing health facilities.

Medbook appreciates the ever important role that Medical Informatics plays in analyzing health trends, especially at a time when the world is tackling the Coronavirus pandemic. That’s why their App has a built-in data analytics tool that allows healthcare managers to study and analyze specific diseases like COVID-19.

“Once you extrapolate the data and  take a big picture view of millions of records, insurers, drug companies and hospitals can not only react efficiently to the challenges of today, but they will also be able to predict and respond more efficiently in the future.“

As health technology gains traction in Kenya, Medbook is already transforming the healthcare sector, enabling more people to get access to certified doctors, medicine and health facilities.

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