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EXCLUSIVE: New telehealth solution delivers essential services to rural areas

Remote Doctors 4 Africa (RD4A) is a new application bringing hospital-grade diagnostic equipment to the citizens in remote corners of South Africa, Botswana, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. With the value proposition set at being a platform to help doctors and nurses operating in rural areas gather and process critical data, Remote Doctors 4 Africa is set to be a unique entrant into a busy telehealth market.

Remote Doctors 4 Africa is bringing access to digital telehealth services to rural citizens, and better access to critical data to healthcare professionals

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The business is built around three pillars: to provide connectivity to rural communities so people can access healthcare online; to educate those communities on what they can do with this access to empower themselves; and delivering the entire digital healthcare ecosystem to those communities.

“Our key differentiator is that RD4A works to connect the unconnected through digital services, offering actual interaction and services from local General Practitioners and specialist healthcare providers that can assist with basic medical consultations, to expert medical diagnostic healthcare equipment and services; bringing primary healthcare closer to those who are forgotten in the villages across South Africa,” explains company CEO Ernest Mhlongo.

The South African ICT veteran brought over 20 years of experience to RD4A when he joined as co-founding CEO in 2019. Mhlongo provides strategic leadership, channels the expertise of co-founding Chief Operating Officer Swys Kotze and Chief Technical Officer Chris Mulhall to drive forward the critical healthcare interventions needed in the remote regions of Africa.

RD4A CEO Ernest Mhlongo

Unique service offering

RD4A offers a full digital consultancy management suite to doctors in normal general practice as well as medical specialists and the healthcare support services, while automatically complying with legislation. It also offers doctors full access and participation to remote care units out in the field.

“Hardware is sourced from our networked partners, where equipment is supplied through a reputable European OEM with back up support as needed, and through the provision of the primary care services we offer ourselves,” says Mhlongo.

The current hardware offering includes:

  • The primary care cart: built to accommodate multiple specialties, the cart system allows you to start with your basic needs first and then expand your clinical needs as you go.
  • The Advanced Vital Signs Monitor: used in telemedicine applications to quickly spot check, measure and capture a patient’s vital signs including pulse oximetry, blood pressure and temperature measurements.
  • The Multipurpose Camera and Scope: simplifies clinical telemedicine patient exams and workflow processes and integrates directly with the AGNES Connect telemedicine platform, delivering a seamlessly integration to capture and stream your medical images to the remote provider.

Healthcare workers purchase the hardware when registering with RD4A and then do reverse billing for the solutions they offer. Senior Project Manager Nobatembu Jilingisi is collaborating with partners, stakeholders and patients to educate and inform about the benefits of telehealth and the solutions RD4A is offering.

“Most doctors in rural village clinics and communities do everything on a piece of paper which gets filed somewhere. If a patient visits another physician, there is no medical history to fall back on,” says Mhlongo. “By pushing for all this information to be stored in the cloud, we are making sophisticated analytics possible that can help healthcare providers and governments identify where best to allocate resources.”

With analytics and insights provisioned by the Remote Doctors 4 Africa software, universal and up-to-date patient data across the network of healthcare professionals is available to make informed decisions based on individual patient histories.

The company is hoping to raise capital through seed funding to realise its goal of addressing the healthcare challenges in the rural communities of South Africa.

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