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Mobile health

The future of access to healthcare is mobile

Technological innovation is disrupting virtually every industry across the globe.

 

The mobile phone is one of the biggest social equalizers on the African continent. More than 90% of people use a simple mobile phone. We believe that mobile technology is on the verge of disrupting healthcare in Africa in a way that none of us can fully imagine yet. The mobile revolution in Africa offers huge opportunities to tackle Africa’s poor health statistics through new forms of pre-payment and risk pooling.

Developing and applying mobile technology to make the healthcare market more inclusive has become an increasingly important part of our approach. We have been developing and applying mobile payment innovations in real‐life settings in Kenya since 2013, when we first tested the concept of the mobile health wallet: a personal wallet on the mobile phone, dedicated exclusively to healthcare‐related expenses. The mobile health wallet uniquely combines demand and supply innovations with the potential to revolutionize healthcare and financing of healthcare on one digital platform.

The digitalization of data and financial flows allows us to strengthen and accelerate our tools and services, and to reach and support a growing group of healthcare providers seeking to improve their care and business. This benefits patients and improves the attractiveness for investors, donor organizations and governments to work with and invest in these providers.

 

Among others, we have co-initiated a digital platform that connects all players in the market – bringing transparency, accountability and direct access to and for end-users. This mobile technology makes it possible to connect people, healthcare providers and payers such as family members or donor agencies at close-to-zero transaction costs, building trust and a new kind of solidarity. It empowers consumers, improves their financial protection, supports better quality of care and generates local and international financing for health. The transparency of this technology helps build a new kind of healthcare solidarity. It allows us to take our approach of stimulating demand and supply with the aim of attracting healthcare investments to a new level.

In Kenya, this technology was rolled out in 2016 under the brand name M-TIBA (see below). We are currently working with a growing number of public and private partners to develop digital services and products in the different countries where we work.

Health payment platform CarePay

While developing this innovative technology, PharmAccess and its partners realized the need for a solid, back-end infrastructure to facilitate payments and support a network of clinics where patients can utilize their wallets for treatment.

Kenyan company CarePay was established in 2015 to develop, manage and own a health payment platform, locally branded as the M-TIBA platform. CarePay is an independent Kenyan company. It manages and provides the platform that powers M-TIBA. This platform technology can integrate with any prevalent digital payment system in a country, including banks, online payment systems and mobile money operators.

The M-TIBA platform in Kenya

Kenya has had a head start on the rest of Africa in terms of mobile penetration and boasts the world’s leading mobile money transfer system, M-Pesa. This made the country a logical place to develop our first mobile health activities. After extensive groundwork in partnership with Safaricom and PharmAccess, CarePay developed, tested and launched a mobile health exchange, branded in Kenya as the M-TIBA platform.

 

 

M-TIBA provides a service on the mobile phone that allows anyone to send, save and spend funds specifically for medical treatment. Money stored in M-TIBA can only be used to pay for treatment and medication at our partner clinics and hospitals. Healthcare facilities on M-TIBA also have access to loans as well as a quality improvement path using the internationally recognized SafeCare standards.

The M-TIBA dashboard

Many patients and clinics in Kenya have already registered on M-TIBA. The M-TIBA dashboard provides daily updates on the people and clinics that are connected to the platform, as well as on the healthcare services that are provided to the M-TIBA users, ranging from treatment of HIV/AIDS or malaria to maternal and child healthcare.

HealthConnect:

Peer-to-peer funding

 

Digital technology makes it easier than ever to transfer money from A to Z without boundaries. Literally. PharmAccess has initiated the HealthConnect platform that connects people, organizations and companies, offering a form of international solidarity in its most elementary form. Fundraising organizations can use this open platform to give their donors the opportunity to directly, financially support people in their own programs with the aim of supporting access to basic healthcare. Individuals (currently Netherlands only) can easily transfer money, straight into the mobile health wallet of those who need it in Africa.

Latest news on mobile health

CarePay Named Technology Pioneer by World Economic Forum

CarePay is today being recognised as a Technology Pioneer 2018 by the World Eonomic Forum. Launched in 2000, The Technology Pioneer community recognises companies that are designing, developing and deploying new technologies that can have a significant impact on business and society. Read more

Jun 21, 2018 pressrelease
How mobile technology helps us understand what matters most to patients

In Kenya, a PharmAccess partnership pilot project with the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM) is using digital solutions to develop an understanding of how the principles of value-based healthcare in low and middle-income countries can be applied. Read more

Jun 21, 2018 news
Technologies That Transform Healthcare and Empower People - PharmAccess' panel session at the European Development Days

At this year’s European Development Days PharmAccess hosted a panel session on technology and the power it has to improve healthcare for women. Every day around the world 830 women die from preventable pregnancy related causes and it is a common experience for women in developing countries to be excluded from quality healthcare. The panel discussion centered on how to harness the tremendous technological progress that is happening all around us for the benefit of those currently left out. Read more

Jun 12, 2018 news

Interested in working with us or learning more about our mHealth activities?

AHTC, Tower C4 • Paasheuvelweg 25
1105 BP Amsterdam • The Netherlands

T: +31 (0) 20 – 210 3920
E: info@pharmaccess.org