The Nairobi Hospital has partnered with an international digital health company in a deal that enables it to offer patients real-time SMS updates on their ailments and appointment reminders.
US-based firm access.mobile Inc will use its mobile and cloud technology to connect the hospital’s patients to their healthcare providers.
However, the firm reassured customers that it would use high data protection standards to safeguard sensitive patient information as well as seeking individual consent before sending the messages.
“We use an extra level of cloud security and in instances when the message is sensitive then the patient can be shown the type of message which will be sent so that they can give consent,” access.mobile chief executive officer and founder Kaakpema Yelpaala said on Thursday.
Nairobi Hospital CEO Gordon Odundo said a pilot of the new system in two of its clinics showed that it was a viable idea worth venturing into since patient feedback has been positive. “SMS is extremely reliable because not all Kenyans can download Apps. We have pilot at the Executive and the Anderson Centre clinics and I believe that hundreds of thousands of our patients would benefit greatly.”
Mr Odundo said the deal with the Colorado-based firm was prompted by cases of patients not turning up to see their doctors, saying it was a hindrance to provision of proper healthcare.
“Patients failing to attend hospital appointments contribute to inefficient use of resources. Missed appointments create loss of revenue,” he noted.
According to him, data collected from Nairobi Hospital shows that after six months of the pilot, missed appointments reduced by 84 per cent and increased patient uptake by 220 per cent.
He added that the SMS would also include vaccination due dates and that the hospital would be willing to look into having interactive sessions between doctors and patients on the platform.
Mr Yelpaala said that they have over 300,000 patients a year whom they have interactive messages that are tailored for their needs.
“We have different demographics and what we do is have the messages tailored to the demographics such as age and sex. This makes them feel like the hospital is engaging them personally,” he said.