Doctors in Kenya go Tech with Tele and E-Consultation Services

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By AHIN reporter
Technology is increasingly changing the way health care is delivered in Kenya. A recently launched service ‘Call-a-Doctor’ initiated by a mobile phone service provider Safaricom which has partnered with clinicians to provide a tele-health consultation service,  provides patients with a chance of calling a doctor to seek medical advice from anywhere 24 hours a day.
This service is one of the many Tele-Health services that have seen substantial growth in Africa and comes after the hugely successful store and forward E-Consultation service ASK-A-DOC .

A health Informatics professional Steve Magare commented – “This kind of innovativeness is allowing many African countries to break the mould by locally improvising solutions and adapting it to meet the needs of the local market, ensuring these technologies are fit for purpose.”
With a shortfall of more than 35,000 doctors and a fledgling primary care service, these initiatives fill a gap by providing first line clinical advice. This move will undoubtedly be welcome by remote and deprived populations in the first instance as well as the urban population who may now benefit from cheap and easily accessible clinical advice.
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“Even where intended for patients, it can be extended to community health workers and clinicians in the field who can receive real time guidance to deal with more complex cases at the point of care.”  said Steve.
“The benefits of  providing real-time clinician to clinician decision support  has the potential to reduce clinical errors and increase the quality of care.”
While it would be interesting to see how these new initiatives scale up and the kind of requests received, the outlook for these technologies to improve outcomes remains positive and would definitely be one to watch as it matures.

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