Without a doubt, the impact of technology has reshaped various spheres of human activity, fundamentally changing our global experience. In the healthcare sector, this impact is profound.
From a global perspective, there are several technological innovations that are revolutionising the healthcare sector such as the Internet of Things, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, electronic medical records, and Artificial Intelligence. As per the reports of Acumen Research, the global market of AI in the healthcare industry is expected to rise to US$8 billion by the year 2026.
Perhaps, one of the most extraordinary transformations is how technology can connect patients and healthcare professionals, improving access to care. This is timely, considering the challenges of delay in accessing health care which impacts patient satisfaction and timely care.
According to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), about six out of ten Nigerians lack access to quality primary healthcare services, a situation that is worsening disease outbreaks and out-of-pocket expenditure. Consequently, the need to harness technological advancements to improve access to healthcare in Nigeria has become increasingly evident. Mobile and digital technologies which are spreading like wildfire and with disruptive power can contribute to changing this situation. Reports have shown that the rapid spread of mobile phones and the internet in emerging economies can be leveraged to provide digital technology solutions in healthcare and harness the many opportunities in this sector.
A prime example of leveraging technology to facilitate healthcare access is Novo Health Africa, a foremost Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO). The organisation recently launched Novo Apoyo, a ground-breaking solution to enhance enrollees’ healthcare experience.
This support-service initiative is accessible through its Ijele on-line platform. It drastically reduces challenges in accessing care, particularly wait time by up to 90 per cent, amongst other benefits.
Novo Apoyo eliminates the inconvenience of unforeseen out-of-pocket payments, ensures patients receive needed prescriptions, addresses the risk of errors in hospital records and most of all empowers the enrollee for better health outcomes.
Furthermore, the solution creates a seamless avenue for interaction between clients and HR partners. HR partners can now receive real-time utilization data analysis of their staff which will help the organization to plan better towards their health care budget and specific health programs/activities for health promotion and staff well-being. By this Novo Apoyo contributes to increasing productivity of human resources and by extension profitability of the organization.
Through Novo Apoyo, enrollees are given real-time, practical end-to-end support at the point of access. This minimizes uncertainty and guarantees hitch-free hospital visits. This process can be likened to self-check-in at the airport during air travels. Imagine visiting a hospital and getting instant access to care like a VIP, without the tedious back-and-forth phone calls with HMO partners for verification codes, fumbling through schedules or waiting In lengthy queues.
Novo Health Africa is not slowing down on its innovative approach to healthcare delivery. Its E-Registration service is pioneering in nature, enabling enrollees to seamlessly onboard the health insurance scheme via an online platform. Aiming to mitigate onboarding delays, this initiative empowers new members to promptly access healthcare services, commencing from day one of registration. Simultaneously, hospitals receive enrollees’ details in real-time.
In response to the imperative of adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols at the time, Novo Health Africa introduced Electronic ID Cards accessible through their mobile application. This strategic shift eliminated the need for physical card exchanges between enrollees and front desk personnel, contributing to the mitigation of virus transmission risks.
Acknowledging the varied communication preferences of enrollees, Novo Health Africa introduced a real-time feedback platform – an Electronic Feedback Service facilitating direct engagement with client service managers and 24/7 Call Centre Agents. This feature accommodates written communication, catering to those who prefer not to engage in direct phone conversations. Additionally, the documented feedback plays a pivotal role in substantiating productive service review interactions with healthcare providers.
Novo Health Africa’s innovative approach extends to pharmacy access, providing registered enrollees with a network of nationwide pharmacies. This network ensures the prompt delivery of quality medications to their doorsteps, mitigating concerns associated with medication quality and accessibility.
Through technology, a new chapter in healthcare delivery has been opened, one where convenience, accessibility, and quality converge in harmony. As we witness this technological symphony unfold, one thing is certain – the future of healthcare has never looked so promising, and Novo Health Africa is one of the firms at the forefront of this drive.
Temidayo Kaffo is a Health tech expert