BY VICTOR OKEKE
Technology can play a very important role in improving healthcare services, while contributing to decrease its costs. That is the promise of the Yolo Health Kiosk. VICTOR OKEKE writes on this.
For Nigerians living in urban areas, there are many ways to gain access to quality healthcare services. However, a greater per cent of the population lives in rural areas where they may have to travel long distances to get the care they need.
And although rural hospitals do exist in some instances, often times, those facilities do not offer the same range of services available in larger urban-based hospitals.
At the forefront of the campaign to salvage the lives of the teaming populace lost due to the near-absence of healthcare facilities in rural areas is Springville Management Consulting Limited.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Springville Consulting, Mr Chuks Melville Chibundu, the company has a niche in delivering tailor-made solutions to identified challenges in private and public sector institutions like hospitals.
“Our quest to always deliver exceptional services has made us to constantly seek collaborations and partnerships with both local and international organisations that proffer and create value based solutions to unique challenges,” he said.
In an effort to bring practical solution to challenges in various development sectors in Nigeria, Springville Consulting recently introduced the Yolo Health ATM kiosk in Nigeria in partnership with one of India’s leading healthcare technology solutions providers to deliver easy, quick and affordable diagnostic healthcare services to urban and rural dwellers in Nigeria.
The Yolo Health ATM kiosk is an innovative integrated preventive care healthcare solution that offers various health screening capabilities for citizens’ medical benefits. The Kiosk offers three critical service options, that is- online data consulting with a doctor, health check-up and health history.
The Yolo Health solution is designed and created like an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) that dispenses medical diagnosis and reports. Basic vitals devices are integrated into the kiosk and synchronised to offer accurate diagnosis for real-time use by doctors or kept as medical records.
To support the Kiosk a medical attendant will be required to assist patients engage the devices. Otherwise the kiosk is automated with voice prompts for self-help.
According to Chibundu, the Yolo Health ATM Kiosk is targeted at helping small and large hospitals strengthen their health care infrastructure.
Commenting on the importance of the health technology, the Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu said the Yolo Health ATM Kiosk will improve access to healthcare services, including urgent care services, and meet unmet community health needs in isolated rural communities.
He said “This technology offers many new opportunities for rural residents to access healthcare services, communicate with the health personnel from home for clinical and administrative purposes, and manage their chronic conditions more effectively.”
Adopting health technologies like the Yolo Health Kiosk has proven to be an effective method toward achieving laudable success in rural healthcare service, further improving the level of service available.
Chibundu explains that when distance between clinics is a hurdle or where specialists are few and far between, the new technology can give health care providers instant access to information they need to make timely, vital decisions and save lives.
“It will decrease travel time for patients and their families, enable rural hospitals to utilize remote, facilitate efficient transfer to other facilities for vital services not offered locally and facilitate efficient local care after intense care in a tertiary hospital by enabling patients to get care near their families and primary care providers,” he added.
Dr Shreyams Gandhi, who is the Executive Director of Yolo Health, also explained that over 40 different types of medical tests, including cardiac checkup, reproductive and child health related tests, diabetes, infectious diseases, lungs and respiratory checkup services have been installed as part of the Yolo Health ATM service.
He said that the ATM connects patients with certified doctors using high-definition videoconferencing and web/mobile applications and also provides quick and convenient preventive health screening.
“The Health ATM is the first true integration of tele-health and personal healthcare. This will make treatment smarter and simpler. With a healthcare kiosk of its kind, a quick preventive health screening or a consultation with a healthcare professional face-to-face via video conference is now possible,” Dr Gandhi said.
Indeed, medical technologies like the Yolo ATM Kiosk holds lots of promise for rural healthcare services in Nigeria through the saving lives, improving health outcomes and contributing to sustainable healthcare delivery.
Experts believe that medical technologies benefit the lives of people in many ways. Through the use of such technologies, people can live healthier, more productive and independent lives. Many individuals who previously may have been chronically ill, disabled, or suffering chronic pain can now look forward to leading normal or close-to- normal lives.
For example, in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, the use of coronary stents – artificial tubes used in cases of coronary heart disease to keep the arteries open – have halved the number of those dying from heart attacks or suffering heart failure. Patients with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) – a small device implanted for those at risk of sudden cardiac death – now have a 98 per cent chance of surviving a cardiac arrest, compared with only five per cent without the implantable device.
For those who suffer from diabetes– a disease which is becoming increasingly common, and which places a substantial burden on health systems –now have access to very accurate blood glucose monitoring technologies. This means that they can monitor on a daily basis and control their condition much more effectively, sharply reducing the risk of suffering the common but debilitating complications of diabetes, such as blindness and peripheral nerve damage.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Health Expenditure Database in 2016 medical technologies have reduced hospital stays by an average of around 13 per cent and shift from in-patient to out-patient care provides substantial cost savings, as well as improving quality of life.
Cataract surgery, for example, which used to require a three to five day hospital stay, is now almost universally undertaken in day-care centres. Total knee replacements provide a cost-effectiveness ratio of around €14,000 per quality-adjusted life year (measure assessing the value for money of a medical intervention), by rehabilitating those people who would previously have required considerable home life support.
Therefore, just as technology in the health care industry is benefiting individuals living in emerging countries, Springville Consulting believes that more partnership with them will work in transforming the state of rural healthcare in Nigeria.