EDITORIAL: Everyone should have access to hi-tech medical care

With the ever-growing competition, the only way Oshen King Faisal Hospital can keep a step ahead is embracing digital healthcare.

King Faisal hospital, the country’s premier reference hospital for many years, has changed names as people change their shirts. The names were due to the several management companies that came and went.

Many came in with promises to move heaven and earth to turn the hospital into a world-class establishment with the highest level of medical care and equipment. It turned out to be hot air; all they needed was making a quick buck.

Today it has a new additional name; Oshen, who come in to try and succeed where previous partners failed.

With the ever-growing competition from Rwanda Military Hospital Kanombe, as well as other smaller private practices, the only way Oshen King Faisal Hospital can keep a step ahead is embracing digital healthcare.

Already one player, Babyl, has hit the ground running by introducing hi-tech medical care. One can get a diagnosis without visiting a doctor, book an appointment, manage prescriptions and get access to laboratory services – via mobile phone.

Oshen King Faisal Hospital is taking a similar route though theirs will be an app that would have to be downloaded. AmakuruDoctor will help patients interact with their doctors online any time of the day, will have a symptom checker and doctors will be able to give necessary advice.

All the above are new and welcome innovations, but they need to be taken down to the grassroots level in order to make the needed impact. Operators could pick a leaf from the community health mobile phone initiative where health workers are able to send health data real time using their mobile phones.

That has revolutionised healthcare, reduced mortality and malnutrition, but above all, it has been the best data bank any government could wish for in order to plan ahead. Otherwise, all new innovations are welcome, but they should impact on the common man and cease putting on an elitist jacket.