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SA health-tech startup launches chatbot for high-risk patients

A new automated Chatbot system has been developed to ensure the safety of high-risk chronic patients with the delivery service of necessary medication for chronic patients in the Western Cape.

Aviro Health, a health-tech startup has partnered with The Western Cape Government Department of Health to create an automated Chatbot application system that utilises Whatsapp to confirm the delivery of chronic medication to patients’ homes.

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The automated Chatbot application can be accessed through Whatsapp

The Chatbot platform allows users to confirm existing appointments with their healthcare professionals or facilities, reducing the risk of vulnerable patients waiting in long queues.

The ‘soft launch’ of the Chatbot took place in May with 700 users accessing the platform and over 500 successfully receiving chronic medication orders.

Mohamed Sonday, Pharmacist at Mitchells Plain Hospital explains that the Chatbot system offers benefits that are two-fold, both assisting patients and healthcare workers.

“The Department wanted a system that would respond to high-risk chronic patient queries timeously and to give people peace of mind that their medication will be delivered to their homes. The system also allows our high-risk healthcare workers the opportunity to assist clients with their queries without placing their lives in danger as well.“

Due to the positive user experience, the number of users of the Chatbot has grown through word-of-mouth from existing users. Existing users have placed orders from all over the Cape Town Metropole from Mitchell’s Plain, Plumstead, and Edgemead to the CBD.

Lyanne Mapani, Product Manager at Aviro Health, says that there have been lessons on how the platform can better accommodate users who are requesting deliveries on behalf of patients.

“Together with the Department, we are looking at ways to improve the chatbot so that it can be responsive and better serve users who are accessing it to make requests for their loved ones and fellow community members. The tool is clearly of value, but we want to make sure that we are reaching patients where they are. We are looking forward to launching additional features in the future such as, offering the service in multiple languages and supporting users in booking appointments,”

Supported by TuksNovation, the University of Pretoria’s technology incubator and accelerator, Aviro Health focuses on designing and implementing health interventions. The interventions designed to address the challenges at the between patients and health workers.

TuksNovation provides product and business development support to tech startups. Their programme helps tech startups commercialise innovative technology with a positive social and economic impact.

How does the Healthbot work?

Data collected by Aviro Health and the Western Cape Department of Health has found that individuals with co-morbidities including diabetes, hypertension, TB, HIV/Aids, cancer, chronic lung disease and heart disease are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill if infected with Covid-19.

Potential users of the Chatbox platform can simply join by adding the following number, 087 240 6122 to their mobile phones and send a message saying “hi” to start the WhatsApp Chatbot conversation.

Users must have their ID, folder number, the name of the attending health care facility, and home address before accessing the Chatbot.

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Featured image: Supplied 

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