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Vodacom unveils first public healthcare solution

JOHANNESBURG – HEALTHCARE services in the Northern Cape province will be more accessible after Vodacom created an end-to-end technology solution for the sector.

The solution, which includes a computer-aided emergency services dispatch system, is hailed as a first for South Africa’s public healthcare sector.

Vodacom believes this highlights how public-private partnerships can spearhead innovation and ultimately save people’s lives.

Evah Mthimunye, Managing Executive for Vodacom Central Region, said the company and the Northern Cape Department of Health had since 2019 committed to make the province’s healthcare services more accessible and to raise the standard of public healthcare.

“Using technology as an enabler, our patient engagement solution is the first of its kind in the South African public healthcare sector. I believe it will be a game-changer for not only the Northern Cape but for the whole country,” Mthimunye said.

In 2019, the provincial government pronounced the idea for the end-to-end technology solution, which includes a smartphone app and intelligent emergency medical services (EMS) dispatching functionality.

“As the Northern Cape Health Department, we continue to value the philosophy of partnerships, because only if we work in unison – as one body with a common goal, will these goals be achievable,” said Acting Head of the Northern Cape Health Department, Riaan Strydom.

The solution includes SmartPatient, a smartphone app for patients needing provincial, municipal, or community-based healthcare where they can log a medical assistance request on their phone.

There is the SmartDispatch, a computer-aided emergency services dispatch system enabling users to make an emergency service request via SMS, USSD, e-mail, phone and SmartPatient app.

Northern Cape nurses care for up to 40 patients each yet global standards mandate it should be five to eight in a general ward.

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital – the province’s only tertiary hospital – has experienced severe water interruptions and broken lifts.

Technology is thus key to cutting manual processes, tracking efficiencies and improving service delivery.

– CAJ News

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