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Improving medicare with technology

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Nigeria’s healthcare industry is faced with tremendous challenges such as high cost, low access, inadequate facilities, personnel and equipment, less funding and investment, medical tourism convergence among others with less budget allocation to it.

As the quest to improve the country’s health system intensifies, technology experts have considered a move in adopting a technology-based approach.

They opined that the health industry could overcome some of its challenges by progressively adopting cutting edge innovative technologies to enhance value propositions to patients.

Nigeria’s healthcare industry is faced with tremendous challenges such as high cost, low access, inadequate facilities, personnel and equipment, less funding and investment, medical tourism convergence among others with less budget allocation to it.

Others include: inadequate and less functional surveillance systems to track system to monitor the outbreak of communicable diseases, bioterrorism, chemical poisoning among others.

While various reforms have been put forward to address the wide-ranging issues in the health care system, they are yet to be fully implemented.

According to the technopreneurs, the breakthrough of technology is driving disruption and re-shaping the future of industries, as it creates an enabling platform for both the providers and the end-users, with various soft wares that provide an elaborate online real-time electronic payment services, analysis and reporting, thereby reducing the cost of healthcare services.

On the move to digitalization, the Director General and Chief Executive of Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC), Dr. Ben Nkechika who spoke to The Guardian at the Interswitch Connect conference involving stakeholders in all the sectors, with the theme: Digital Transformation Imperatives: Innovative Evolution or Disruptive Innovation”, said deploying technology to healthcare would improve the sector, provide solutions and easy access to healthcare.

He added that as part of measures to improve the state’s health system, there have been a Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) to deploy ICT platform using Interswitch software and infrastructure, to provide an elaborate online real-time electronic payment systems as well as an identity and health insurance management solutions that will ensure payment of premium for the scheme through several options that include Quickteller, POS, ATM, Cash at bank, and Webpay, as well as provider payment services, analysis and reporting.

Nkechika, said to further enhance diversity in registration options, the commission has commenced deployment of customized desktop computers that will be solar powered to 165 healthcare facilities.

“This system will provide Electronic Medical Record (EMR) services and registration option for the vulnerable group members and will also have a treatment protocol software that will assist nurses and Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) at the PHCs in their service capability and a seamless referral system between the PHCs and the Secondary facilities.

He added that the commission has also incorporated the MTN Y’ello Doctor Mobile Medical Intervention Scheme to enhance access to healthcare service in the most rural communities, noting that the MTN Mobile Clinic would be deployed to rural communities currently disadvantaged in terms of access to healthcare services.

Speaking at a panel session with the topic: “Digitalization for Smarter healthcare Delivery in Emerging Markets”, the Senior Director, Technical Strategy, FLO Corporation, Bayan Qandil, said to address the primary health issues, which have the bigger burden of the health sector challenges, adopting technology is key.



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