Arriving at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital at precisely 7 am, Dr John rushed into the call room to put on his lab coat before rushing out to see the patients in the emergency ward. As his routine was, he spent the entire morning visiting the patients and checking their vitals.
He then spends the rest of the day consulting and diagnosing ailments of the lucky few that arrived early enough to queue. Some days, Dr John sees an average of 90 patients a day at his Nigerian clinic, where the doctor-to-population is at 0.4 per 1000 patients. The shortage of doctors gives rise to long queues, increased waiting periods in hospitals, and a crippled healthcare system.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the ideal doctor-patient ratio should be a doctor to 600 patients. Dr John, although a fictitious character, is one of 35,000 doctors attending to more than 200 million people in Nigeria.
The scenario depicts the difficulty in accessing primary healthcare in public hospitals. Generally, the healthcare situation in Africa is in a deplorable state. It was on this note that a team of four came about a means to pass health information across to patients.
Wale Adeosun, a medical doctor and healthcare management consultant; Ayomide Owoyemi, a public health physician; Segun, an Oracle certified software engineer; and Moshood Abdulateef, a computer scientist, founded Wellvis. We invited Wale and Moshood to the office to learn more about the Wellvis solution.
What is Wellvis?
Wellvis is an on-demand health information and service platform that connects individuals with verified and licensed health practitioners in real-time for the purpose of offering health care advisory and consulting services. Consulting physicians and healthcare practitioners are available to attend to patients on the website. Counsellors also address relationships, careers, as well as mental health issues.
Wellvis is different from Google and any other search engines. Most of the results from search engines are mostly predictive, extreme and wrong. On the other hand, Wellvis is the platform where you get to know if you need to run a test, physically visit a doctor or change your feeding habits. Wellvis is more like a health technology for social impact.
How it Works
“Patients can use the service of experienced doctors on the platform to access initial diagnosis and recommendations. They will get informed about the nearest labs to run tests, clinics to visit, and the total cost of treatment,” said Dr Wale Adeosun. He also spoke about an option for users to mask their identities when asking these questions.
“If the doctor thinks there is a need for further conversation, they ask patients to chat privately,” he explained. Users can decide the gender of the doctor they prefer, whether male or female. The doctor then suggests the steps to be taken to attain wellness.
These conversations are made in real-time from anywhere, with the assurance that communication is in swift succession. Also, because there are several doctors from different continents and time zones, a doctor is always available around the clock to respond to queries.
The base cost of one-on-one interaction with medical personnel is N500. A token, when compared to the cost of treating the damages caused by treating an unconfirmed medical condition without professional advice. Wellvis does not only cater to the needs of those who cannot afford quality healthcare but is also for those without subscription-based medical services. It is a one-stop-shop for people in search of health and wellness specialists.
Wellvis COVID-19 Triage Tool
To help identify those infected by coronavirus for prompt medical intervention, Wellvis developed the “COVID-19 Triage Tool” to identify potential carriers and to further prevent the spread of the disease. It is a risk assessment and self-reporting tool for COVID-19, developed in support of the National Centre for Disease Control’s initiative to assess the pandemic in Nigeria.
The COVID-19 Triage uses responses provided by users to clinically and epidemiologically ask relevant questions to group users into low, medium and high-risk categories of infection. The users in each category are then advised on the appropriate steps recommended by the NCDC.
The tool has helped to reduce the number of unnecessary and curious callers to disease control hotlines, thereby allowing persons at risk to reach the disease control authorities faster.
Users are able to carry out a self-assessment exercise over the internet and then proceed to self-report either to the NCDC or any relevant state public health authorities for follow up, in cases where there is a high-risk result.
The tool has been used by over 380,000 people across the world. Most of the users mostly carry out the assessment from Nigeria and Ghana, and a significant number from the US, UK, Canada, South Africa, and Germany.
The tool has also been adopted as a part of the outpatient management protocol for University College Hospital, Ibadan (the number 1 public hospital in Nigeria). It was a finalist at the #COVID19InnovationChallenge by Ventures Platform and has been officially adopted by the NCDC via https://selfassessment.ncdc.gov.ng/
The COVID-19 Triage has been used more than 700K times since this write up.
In addition to carrying out the COVID-19 self-assessment, more people are visiting Wellvis for answers and advice from health workers about their general wellbeing. Wellvis has recorded over 10,000 people across Africa visit the site for information, advice and medical consultations within the past two weeks.
A Scaled Wellvis
We asked the guys their vision of a scaled Wellvis, and they had this to say:
“A scaled Wellvis is the go-to platform for solutions to all health issues. We hope to impact and aggregate specific demand in the health sector. A Wellvis that, for instance, offers discounts on surgical operations in partnership with hospitals,” said Moshood.
“We seek to create support groups for people that have diseases in common illnesses. For instance, there will be different groups for people to share thoughts, solutions, and encourage one another. There will be doctors assigned to each group.”
Essentially, Wellvis plans to provide access to 360-degree health services for Africa.