Virtual clinic promises to help firms cut insurance premiums

science fiction

Health X, a digital healthcare provider is helping corporates and manufacturing companies set up virtual clinics set to help them reduce insurance premiums and increase employee productivity.

The idea is to be attended to not by a physical doctor, but a virtual one.

The virtual clinic is operated by a nurse and comes with up to nine Bluetooth-enabled medical devices such as blood pressure machine, stethoscope, weighing machine, glucometer, pulse oximetry and thermometer, and the entire machine integrated to Health X system.

The virtual clinic cost from $2000 (Sh233,476).

“When a patient comes in, the nurse will triage them out and then connect him or her to a doctor. The doctor may ask for temperature where the nurse proceeds to take and data fed to the system and to our doctor in real-time,” said Qaizer Manji, CEO, HealthX Africa, and one of the three investors in the health firm.

“Once it’s done you print out the consultation and leave. The idea is much cheaper than setting up an actual hospital or clinic. It goes all the way to a digital stethoscope where on one side the nurse puts a stethoscope and the other side the doctor can feel the heartbeat.”

The data also synchronises to patient’s mobile app, which also supports electronic medical records.

The installation is targeting underserved remote areas without clinics, corporates, schools universities and construction sites.

The digital system is expected to save on claims which could help reduce premiums paid by companies for their employees, help in sick leave management and employee productivity.

“Corporate clients that have an on-site clinic need this because we did an analysis with one of the clients and the data for a month shows about 58 percent cases were fed to a hospital. This kind of clinic would save people from traveling to hospitals and taking many hours back,” said Mr Manji.

Health X has also been leveraging on technology to offer health care and wellness services for people at home, working with partner pharmacies and diagnostic companies to arrange for medication delivery and at-home lab testing.

The digital hospital created last year has been running with five doctors – general practitioners including a family medicine specialist, clinical and community nutritionist as a wellness advisor and a clinical psychologist to help with stress and mental health.

The digital innovation target to close gaps in the different quality of services offered across facilities, access and affordability.

Data from Kenya Primary Healthcare Strategic Framework for six years to 2024 show delivery of the service have not been optimal in the country.

About 52 percent of Kenyans have to travel within a radius of five kilometers to access health facilities as availability and access to services are constrained due to inadequate equitable resource distribution and allocation.

“The only way to tackle those three problems is leveraging technology. When we started this my biggest worry was where was I going to get doctors from because it is a different operating model, but actually what I found was it wasn’t that tough,” Mr Manji said.

“All the doctors we have here are all driven by the need to help people that can’t get this help. This is the only way you can get to one of the doctors here to assist a patient for instance in Turkana. “It is also the only way to also keep the cost low because it is not the same as building a hospital.”

The digital healthcare provider works on a subscription model at Sh495 for a month or Sh3,500 annually with access to a doctor and unlimited consultations.

For wellness and psychology, a member pays Sh795 per month or Sh5,000 per year.

“The subscription gives people unlimited access and takes all costs out of the equation because we always get pushback with people saying why would they subscribe and yet they are not getting sick every month? The subscription allows you to call in anytime, therefore, helping drive wellness and not just treatment.”

Health X plans to collaborate with insurance companies to include digital healthcare services as part of benefit.

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