Tanzanian e-health startup Medikea has launched a platform that allows patients to find and book appointments with doctors at their preferred clinics, for free.
Launched in October, the Medikea app allows users to search for doctors by name, speciality, location or accepted insurance, and compare them by availability, rating and reviews. They can then book an appointment using the service.
While booking is free for patients, the startup charges doctors and clinics a monthly subscription fee for helping clinics go digital.
“We provide a software as a service tool for doctors and hospitals to help them go online, add their availability and manage their appointments. They can also send automatic email and SMS appointment reminder notifications to patients, reducing no-shows and minimising staff time spent on the phone,” Dr Elvis Silayo, Medikea’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) told Disrupt Africa.
Silayo said he launched the company in order to reduce hassle for people seeking doctors in various specialties, and having also discovered that doctors have significant near-term availability due to cancellations and last minute rescheduling.
“In fact, 30 to 40 per cent of their appointment slots go to waste,” he said. “We call this the “hidden supply of care”. Our technology makes this hidden appointment inventory available in real-time for last minute bookers. This dramatically accelerates patients’ access to care and improves systemic inefficiencies.”
Medikea, which is currently bootstrapping with no outside investment, has seen strong uptake with the number of bookings growing at 45 per cent week-on-week. It is currently only operating in Dar es Salaam, but aims to scale to other major cities in Tanzania before expanding to other African countries.
“Today, there are 3.5 billion appointments booked annually in Africa, this is a US$60 billion market opportunity and four times bigger than hotel booking in Africa. And while patients are now looking for healthcare services online, less than one per cent of doctors and clinics have any form of online booking,” Silayo said.