Safaricom is pushing further into healthcare with the latest pilot program in partnership with the Nakuru county government. The telco is testing an integrated electronic medical records program in the county.
Named Afya Moja, the program aims to help healthcare providers serve patients better by providing medical backgrounds. It was built by Safaricom, Savannah Informatics Limited, and IntelliSOFT Consulting Limited.
Think of Afya Moja as a “mobile-based digital health passport” that allows patients to store their medical records and easily share this vital information with healthcare providers. Patients can also access these records.
The portable medical records, according to Safaricom, will help doctors respond effectively to patient needs by factoring in one of the most important information – unique medical backgrounds – just when they need it.
Steve Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs at Safaricom, said Afya Moja would focus on diabetes patients during the pilot’s initial stages. Ultimately, the company plans to offer more patients “with other chronic diseases” a digital health passport.
“Mobile as an enabler for health is still largely untapped,” Steven Wanyee, Director of Biomedical Informatics, IntelliSOFT Consulting Limited, said. Wanyee says linking patients to information remains a challenge across the industry.
“Despite increased digitization of patient information, interoperability of systems is very difficult to achieve, so information remains sometimes siloed even within the same facility.” Afya Moja aims to fill the bill.
The scale of the program is being kept low as well in this first phase. Safaricom is partnering with only eight hospitals. These include PGH Nakuru Level 5 Hospital, Naivasha Sub County Hospital, Molo Sub County Hospital, and Keringet Sub County Hospital, in the initial phase.
Other hospitals include Soin-Mogotio Sub County Hospital, Kiptangwany Health Centre, Mirugi Kariuki Sub County Hospital, and Gilgil Health Centre.
Afya Moja will expand to more counties in the coming months, and hopefully, roll out the same across the whole country in the future.
Safaricom and Healthcare
Safaricom’s presence in healthcare is not new. The telco’s partnership with CarePay and PharmAccess gave birth to M-TIBA, a mobile-based service that allows customers to save, send, receive and pay for medical treatment.
The program was launched to help Kenyans easily set aside funds for health when the majority were paying for healthcare out of pocket. Launched in 2016, M-TIBA has over 4 million users, Safaricom said.