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Vodacom gets a prescription for e-health

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At the GSMA Mobile Health Summit, currently being held in Cape Town, Vodacom announced it entry into the public and private healthcare sector.
Vodacom announced its entry into the public and private healthcare arena with a first-time appearance at the GSMA Mobile Health Summit currently being held in Cape Town. This gathering of technology and health industry professionals is the first for the African continent and promises to break new ground in the field.  “As a  leading total communications services provider in South Africa we are well positioned to provide the infrastructure and technology solutions that will be required to make new health systems a reality for all our citizens,” says said Portia Maurice, Vodacom’s Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs.  “ Through public private partnerships, we see this extending to all aspects of the health sector – from pharmaceuticals to primary healthcare workers, medical professionals and private medical insurance providers across the country, and eventually outside of our borders.”

With 7 million citizens in private schemes and the other 40 million relying on the public health system, Vodacom, through its business services division, sees the future of successful and quality healthcare delivery to all providers being essential.

Vodacom has the ability to integrate and deliver current information  – whether about the actual patient, specific healthcare trends, treatments, drugs, technological advances – out to healthcare professionals, in major cities and rural clinics across the country.

Speaking about the infrastructure and technology, Chris Ross, Managing Executive: Commercial Development for Vodacom said: “The centralisation of information on patient records alone in a single repository such as a data centre, allows for 24×7 access by GPs, specialists, primary care workers and emergency workers,” says Ross. “This in turn, brings many benefits to health and medical insurance providers and for the patient, accurate and personal information no matter where the information is required.”

A central repository of all research and clinical trials for example, can, when authorized, provide professionals with information in real time and allow for collaboration. Mobile access to government departments for supplies, reports, incidents and more will bring remote field workers into direct contact with suppliers and providers, and ultimately, mobile consultation with specialists.

Vodacom’s business division will offer mobile or fixed connectivity over a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to a hosted database, delivering a centralised, client specific management service for all current and future medical device and service companies. In addition, Vodacom will soon be presenting market-ready mHealth solutions specifically designed to bring mobility to the service offerings of healthcare providers. mHealth services enable the delivery of a range of tele-medical services and are used to make the healthcare provider’s service more efficient, extend the reach to their patients or reduce time to market and delivery times.

In addition, Vodacom is utilising existing global mHealth and eHealth solutions from Vodafone already in use in parts of Africa and other countries around the world. This collaboration between the two companies allows Vodacom to use proven and best of breed solutions for local adaptation.

“We see our role, initially, as an enabler through the development of a common health infrastructure platform to give healthcare providers authorised and easy access to critical  information and data, and as providing the infrastructure to deliver the requirements that go with a 21st century healthcare sector,” Ross concluded.

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