We talked to Ayo Adebamowo, CEO and Founder of MyMedicalBank, about their vision to revolutionise access to healthcare across Africa through creating digital solutions that connect consumers with healthcare providers, health information, and their health records from any location. This is what he said:
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ayo Adebamowo: Thank you very much. We are all fine. The pandemic induced lockdown has brought lots of disruptions to social life, notwithstanding we keep forging ahead.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MyMedicalBank?
Ayo Adebamowo: I am a Nigerian-British techpreneur passionate about leveraging on ICT to solve healthcare problems in Africa. I was born in Lagos and grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. I am married with 2 children. I enjoy movies, music, and football.
I studied for and obtained my Master’s degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) with Remote Sensing at the University of Greenwich, London in 2007, as well as a Certificate Programme in SQL Database Management at City University, London in 2011. I have been working with the U.K’s National Health Service (NHS) in the field of Health Informatics at senior management level for 12 years now. In the period, I have been opportune to handle some assignments, some with findings reported in the British media. These include analysing and co-authoring six reports on the retrospective review of cancer care at Colchester Hospital in Essex.
The idea to start MyMedicalBank came in 2015 when I visited my mum in Nigeria during her period of illness. My siblings and I got a doctor to care for her. In the course of the consultation, the doctor asked several questions in an attempt to establish her medical history. Unfortunately, my mum at that instance could no longer talk, and my family members around her didn’t have answers to most of those questions either. There and then, I thought it would be a good idea if there was a digital platform the doctor could log in to at that instance to access mum’s health information. This was where the MyMedicalBank idea came from.
While Africa has experienced significant progress in the deployment of ICT to various sectors like banking, commerce, and education, the same could not be said of the critical health sector. The desire to bridge this gap was an additional motivation for starting MyMedicalBank.
How does MyMedicalBank innovate?
Ayo Adebamowo: Most African countries have an inefficient and disjointed healthcare delivery system that works in silos. This results in the lack of a coordinated approach to identifying and tackling health inequalities at national and sub-national levels. Worse still, conventional health information on individual patients is largely held by healthcare providers in paper-based medical records or, in a few instances, in an electronic platform that can only be accessed from a single point of location. This hinders timely access to essential patients’ health information by healthcare professionals, particularly across multiple care settings. Medical interactions often become problematic across the health space owing to a lack of coordination among providers, increasing the risk of medical errors and reducing the success of treatments.
At MyMedicalBank, we have created a number of cloud-based solutions that connect consumers with healthcare providers, health information, and their health records from any location.
These include HomeCare, Telemedicine, Health Market, EMR/PHR, Health Job, and Clinic Visit. The platform functions as a bridge between healthcare providers and their patients, helping the healthcare providers to provide their services online. Interestingly, our platform allows Africans in the diaspora to book health services for their loved ones in Africa as well as monitor and access their health records.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ayo Adebamowo: In compliance with Government’s directive for a complete lockdown, we worked completely remote for over 12 weeks. Even though it was very challenging at first, our team stood up to the challenge and delivered effectively.
Before the pandemic, we were primarily generating revenue from our Homecare platform that allows consumers to book health care providers for domestic consultation and the training of home care assistants to support clients with personal care. Both revenue sources were severely cut down by 70% based on the lockdown and movement restrictions. As an innovative company, it was the best time for us to launch our Telemedicine and Clinic Visit platform. While Telemedicine allows health consumers to book virtual consultations with medical practitioners, the Clinic Visit allows health consumers to book appointments before visiting a medical establishment. We are currently witnessing an increase in the number of subscriptions to these platforms.
With the advent of the Covid-19 vaccine, domestic consultation, especially for the elderly and home-bound patients, is returning to normalcy. However, it triggered the need to digitize our Homecare Attendants Training course. Currently, we not only provide classroom-based training for our Homecare Attendant trainees but also an online-based teaching. This is helping us reduce cost as well increase our revenue.
Did you have to make difficult choices and, what are the lessons learned?
Ayo Adebamowo: Even though the pandemic was unforeseen and fueled with uncertainty, it reaffirmed the need to remain dynamic, agile, open to changes, and innovative. As always, we focused on efficiency and effectiveness, but this time around, we removed wastes to the minimum. In the end, our goal is to revolutionize access to health care in Nigeria and Africa, and there is no one road to reach our goal, but instead, there are different ways to go about it. This is what the pandemic has stuck in our minds.
What makes your product/service different from other competitors?
Ayo Adebamowo: As much as we’ve carefully identified our competitors, we’ve been able to distinguish our services based on our offerings and tractions. Our platform currently hosts the largest network of licensed healthcare professionals in Nigeria, from medical doctors and nurses to medical laboratory scientists to physiotherapists. Also, our interoperable platform is the one-stop digital marketplace for healthcare services, including but not limited to home care bookings, clinic visit bookings, Telemedicine, diagnostic tests booking, and personal health records. In addition, all our solutions, including patient health records, are cloud-based and can be accessed from any location or care settings. Finally, our platform facilitates continuity of care as we house multi-providers and promote multi-disciplinary collaboration.
Your final thoughts?
Ayo Adebamowo: We have seen a significant increase in the deployment of digital technology in different sectors from banking and education to transportation and social engagement across Africa in the last two decades. However, the critical health sector has not enjoyed the same digital transformation. This is a gap we are seeking to close – to revolutionize access to healthcare through leveraging digital technology. Although the journey ahead is long, we are already seeing rays of light that further strengthen our resolve to forge on. The capacity to connect consumers with healthcare providers at the click of a button has been truly gratifying.
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