Smaart Health wants to “put a doctor in every pocket”, but of course, not humans. It is a new mobile App which hopefully will achieve this, making healthcare more accessible, and let doctors earn more money.
As Uvie Ugono, co-founder of Smaart Health describes it; the whole plan and strategy behind the App is to disrupt the health care system in Nigeria because it doesn’t work very well.
“So we are actually creating a virtual primary healthcare system. We believe that 90 percent of all the hospital visits in Nigeria at the moment would no longer be required, because the same level of help, advice and treatment that you need in 90 percent of the time, can be delivered virtually,” Ogono believes.
Downloading the App can be done through Playstore for Android devices, and then takes about three minutes to sign up and log onto the platform; provided one does the whole process at once. During testing which was done after the App was downloaded, it showed 100,000 free consultations were available till 2031. That is a lot, and it is doubtful anyone hopes to need as much medical consultations. But there is some curiosity about what is behind the answers provided to these free consultations.
Ugono was also able to clarify that the App uses a combination of artificial intelligence to give accurate diagnosis, and then transferred to a doctor for consultation, who would have seen this diagnostic report. The doctor attends to the patient via voice or video call, and from how he phrased it; the doctor/Smaart health incurs that communication cost.
When fully operational (with doctors) at the end of the first quarter this year, it is expected to take about 90 seconds to 2 minutes to get a detailed diagnosis. At that point, it now prompts if a user would like to speak with a doctor to discuss the health condition further. If the customer says yes, then a doctor is engaged. If the doctor feels there is a need to go to a hospital for some tests, further checkups or wants to give a prescription, he/she can do that.
The Apps developers think it will serve two main functions; making primary healthcare more accessible, and also serving as a platform for doctors to earn significantly more money than they currently get.
Ugono explained that once a doctor has provided a consultation, their performance can be rated on the app, and he/she can as well give their unique identifier number which can be given to friends and acquaintances etc.
“It is like their digital business card. So, the next time you need to see a doctor again, doctor-patient relationship has commenced so now you put in the doctor’s reference number and only that doctor gets that alert, and calls you. What that allows is for doctors to build up their own virtual healthcare centre. The doctor doesn’t have to find a clinic somewhere and set up,” said Ugono.
He added, “It is like having an Amazon shop or on eBay. They can actually have a virtual practice sitting on that platform, and each time there is a paid consultation, the doctor is in turn paid and can earn about a million naira a month just from doing this. And this can be done along with their regular job; no need giving it up, as this is just a way of earning additional income which is about five times what they currently earn.”
When fully operational, users who opt to be attended to by a doctor, will be required to pay N1,500. Cheap or not? TechTalks will of course appreciate feedback on this and other functionalities from the App itself.