Opportunity AreaHow might we improve data systems for healthcare delivery?
The proposed title of your ideaImproving Access to Healthcare Services using Smart Phones
Please describe your idea.A mobile phone app that help users identify, locate and make an appointments with healthcare service providers nearest to their location
What problem does your idea solve in the market?This app provides a cost-effective and efficient way to overcome the barriers to healthcare access created mainly by socio-cultural environment and gender while maintaining quality of services provided. Using mobile phone and GIS technology, the app with provide relevant health information that will help bridge the gap between patients and medical practitioners/healthcare service providers by facilitating the decision making process of patients and influencing their health seeking behavior.
Briefly explain how you identified the need or opportunityI once had some acute and severe pain which kept me up all night. On visiting the hospital, i was told i possibly had acute recurrent appendicitis and was referred to a surgeon who gave me an appointment 3 days after i visited the hospital. My condition then was managed using pain killers and antibiotics till i met the surgeon. At this point, my condition could have worsened, but fortunately it didn't. I felt that the hospital did not care enough for my possible fate. It was as if there was only one doctor who could see me in the country. So i thought, isn't there a way to find different medical practitioners providing specific services without necessarily passing through the hospitals?
Who are the beneficiaries of your solution and how will they benefit?The potential beneficiaries are smart phone users with regular internet access. The will be able to access a directory of healthcare service providers (clinics, hospitals, ambulances, pharmacies, laboratories, dental services and medical specialists). The providers will be ordered from the nearest to the user's current location and can be filtered further by services provided, location (district), specialty (in case of specialists). this will facilitate their decision to seek medical care.
Why are you convinced your solution will solve the problem?Lack of access to health information has been identified as a major barrier to access of healthcare by many studies. This has widened the gap between patients and service providers. This app will provide the relevant information necessary to help patients easily access healthcare service and enhance the communication between patients and providers.
What other initiatives like yours exist out there? How will you differentiate your solution?Currently, there is "Musawo App". It is the one in Uganda to some extent similar to mine. It has a limited directory of healthcare service providers (clinics and hospitals only) and emergency services. It mainly helps users make orders for drugs in pharmacies. Daktari App will map all Government facilities (Health Centre III and above) and private facilities by district. It will also facilitate communication between the app user and healthcare service provider; provide for customer satisfaction expressions; and sharing of health messages and communications. A standard source of health information is needed and we shall be looking to partner with organisations that can provide this. However, the other data requirements can be got from publicly available data.
What have you done up-to date to test your idea with potential users? What learnings do you have to share?I have shared the idea with different colleagues with mainly medical and public health backgrounds. There is a general concern on the continued use of the app by users. What happens after one accesses the healthcare service provider? Does the apps use end there? Another major issues is the sustainability of the app. How will the maintenance costs of the app be met? The use of the app will naturally be occasional. It will only be needed when the user is in need of medical services for whatever reason. However, we can make the app continually relevant to the user using additional features such as health news (which can be regular) and personalized health information, possibility of a prolonged in-app patient-doctor interaction and many more. For financial sustainability, the team proposed the levying of an annual subscription fee to private healthcare service providers. However, we are still exploring more solutions and are open to suggestion.
How will you financially sustain your business?We plan to charge an annual subscription fee to private healthcare providers depending on the category of the services they provide (medical services, dental services, rehabilitation services, emergency services, pharmacy, laboratory and medical specialist). This charge will be for the services offered by the app which shall include; inclusion on the healthcare service provider directory and management of appointments. Users of the app shall not be charged. Government facilities included in the apps directory will also not be charged since they provide free healthcare services.
Please share a link to a 3 minute online video that best describes your idea and teamN/A
Please tell us about each founder and their roles on the team. How do you know your founders and how long have you worked together?The team comprises of 2 members namely; a) Masete Ivan (team leader); Degree in Environmental Health Science and currently concluding a Masters of Public Health specializing in Epidemiology and Bio-statistics from Makerere University. Knowledgeable of the dynamics of the Uganda Health System; health research and data management; documentation and information management. Will provide support in the collection, management and sharing of health information; and general managerial duties and leadership of the app team. b) Haron Gichuhi; Degree in Software Engineering. Knowledgeable in app development, database management and general IT services. He will be responsible for the app development and maintenance including development of updates incorporating user issues.
Please tell us about other team members that are not cofounders.a) Obira Daniel; Degree in Bio-systems Engineering. Knowledgeable in GIS/MIS/GPS systems and database operations. Will provide support in the mapping and development of the database of the healthcare facilities for the app.
Which members of your team will attend the program full-time?Masete Ivan and Haron Gichuhi