BY VICTOR OKEKE
The healthcare field, like so many other industries in today’s world, has advanced by leaps and bounds, thanks to technology. In this piece, VICTOR OKEKE writes on how a health ATM kiosk offers great promise for Nigeria.
Technology today, affects every single aspect of modern society. Whether we are talking about transportation, communication, security, banking or healthcare, they all rely on technology in one way or another.
But nowhere is this immense impact more apparent than in the field of medicine and healthcare.
Technological breakthroughs are revolutionising the way healthcare is being delivered. Modern technology has changed the structure and organisation of the entire medical field.
From widespread adoption of electronic medical records, to advances in bio-medical engineering and technology, modern healthcare and its delivery methods are changing at an ever increasing rate. But what impact will these changes have on medicine and overall care delivery?
Without doubt, medical technology is indispensable to people’s health and improved quality of life with potential of generating public revenue.
There are many benefits that innovative technology brings to the table when it comes to healthcare.
For example, diagnostics have never been easier and more accurate, especially due to advancements in areas like nuclear medicine. Nowadays, numerous methods of imaging allow for technicians and physicians to examine a patient’s anatomy without needing invasive procedures to form a diagnosis. The demand for MRI technologists and radiologists has also increased as a result of rapid advances in imaging technology.
Minimally invasive surgeries, especially within the disciplines of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, have also become more common in recent years. The development of better instruments and more advanced technology have allowed surgeons to perform procedures in minimally invasive ways that just wasn’t possible a few years ago.
To bridge the seeming gap between technology and healthcare delivery in Nigeria, Springville Consulting, a private-public sector resource consulting company, fueled by passion to identify resource gaps with high impact economic effects, and to provide effective proven and sustainable intervention strategies and solutions, recently launched the Yolo Health ATM Kiosk in Lagos.
As part of their continued quest to bring practical solutions to challenges in various development sectors in Nigeria, Springville is partnering with one of India’s leading healthcare technology solution providers to proffer easy, quick and affordable diagnostic healthcare services to urban and rural dwellers in Nigeria.
According to the chief executive officer of the Company, Chuks Melville Chibundu, effective primary healthcare delivery in Nigeria has remained largely unachieved since the establishment of the Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) in 1992.
“It is our opinion that several interventions of government to get appropriate healthcare resources and infrastructure to the grassroots have failed to achieve the desired goals. Various reasons often adduced include lack of trained medical manpower, inadequate medical resources for diagnosis and treatment, ineffective referral system, and a poor healthcare data management and monitoring mechanism,” he said.
Available statistics indicate that over 60 per cent of Nigerians live in the rural areas where there is a dire need for an effective medical infrastructure to support healthcare delivery.
Yolo Health ATM Kiosk is an innovative integrated preventive care healthcare solution that offers various health screening capabilities for employees’ medical benefits. The Kiosk offers three critical service options, that is- online data consulting with a doctor, health checkup and health history.
The Yolo Health solution is designed and created like an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) that dispenses medical diagnosis and reports. Basic vital 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 machine will serve as healthcare kiosks across all local community health centres that will function as end user equipment when it becomes fully operational. “These kiosks would be manned by trained local health workers and patient requirements are managed by this person. Once the clinical tests are done, the patient is referred to a doctor,” he said.
He added that after this process, the patients then consult with an available doctor as the clinical tests are been carried out in real time by the system. As results are generated by the machine, the doctor prescribes medication or referrals to the appropriate personnel based on the information provided by the machine.
On his part, Dr Shreyams Gandhi, who is the executive director of Yolo Health said that the new technology stands to provide numerous benefits for patients and the healthcare industry in Nigeria.
He said “Deploying Yolo ATM Machines in major PHC Centres will provide easy and immediate access to health checks or doctor consultation thereby helping to decongest waiting areas,” adding that the machines will help reduce overall cost of providing health care for citizens of the state through quick DIY health check services.
“The machine ensures patients, the Ministry of health and the state bureau of statistics are up to date with basic health records of state employees and also citizens of rural areas, thereby helping to curb diseases before they become full blown epidemics,” he said.
Other benefits of the technology include increasing employee productivity when installed in government secretariats or schools by cutting down time spent on outside clinic visitation for simple symptoms without sacrificing quality and privacy.
It also enables prompt referrals to appropriate local and international hospitals and as well be used for pre-employment and basic fitness checks for employees.
The machine comes with an integrated mobile application and affords citizens the convenience of booking consultation with designated doctors at the various government hospitals or beyond.
For Chibundu, “the solution brings a whole new pragmatic dimension to managing Primary Healthcare needs and wellness for a healthy nation. Let us work with you to disrupt the status quo and guarantee significant healthcare delivery system.”
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