She pulled her smart phone did some ‘tap tap’ and bingo she’s booked a doctor’s visit.
The next day, she visited the hospital and literally walked straight into the doctor’s office without, queues nor intermediaries as has been the situation of the past; thanks to a new health app called BookADoc.
“I had some funny symptoms and I didn’t really understand what was going on. I heard about this new app and decided to give it a try. So I booked a walk in appointment with a doctor on the app scheduled for the following day. It was pretty simple,” Miss Hansen Mensah said.
“I didn’t have to join any queue in any hospital as I often do. I literally walked in to the meetup location of the doctor and the appointment started almost immediately. I was in disbelief”
BookADoc is an on demand health care app built to make healthcare easier and simpler by connecting patients with licensed medical doctors in Ghana via a walk in appointment.
Users go on the app and request for the service of a doctor by booking an appointment based on their preference. Once appointment is confirmed, the location of the doctor is quickly sent to them.
All they have to do afterwards is to walk to the meetup location of the doctor and get sorted. It’s that simple!
“I have been at the receiving end before so I know how extremely frustrating it is when patients want to see medical doctors; they have to go through a lot of intermediaries before they get to see us,” says Dr Yaw Ofosu Ansong Snr, Founder and CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) of BookADoc in an interview with Business World Ghana.
“Even after all this hustle, they again have to queue and wait for their turn to see the doctor.” he added.
The platform has uniquely tailored features that allows users to book appointment with any licensed medical doctor, anytime, anywhere, without compromising on the schedule of the doctor.
How the App works
The app affords users the rare opportunity of booking a walk in appointment with a medical doctors without compromising on the schedule of the doctor.
Doctors on the app have a working schedule which they define. Patients are empowered to book any doctor any time and anywhere. Once booking is done, information about the doctor’s location is sent to the user.
“This improves access to health personnel and cuts down the ‘waiting hours’ ” says Dr. Sophia Yaa Ofosua Ansong, sister to Ansong Snr and one of the cofounders of BookADoc.
She adds that the average Ghanaian spends at least 3 hours to see a doctor which is quite frustrating.
“The time lost can be used to generate extra income or channelled into other useful ventures”
And for her, a mobile app designed to improve access to doctors and cut ‘waiting hours’ is essentially the solution to the problem.
For doctors on the app, it’s not just about a “locum-app” that helps them make extra money. It’s the convenience attached to an app like this that makes it unorthodox.
For instance the high doctor to patient ratio makes it not always possible for doctors to explain to patients about how and when to take their medications and also about the details of their diagnosis.
This can often lead to poor compliance to medication which often pushes patients to opt for other crude alternative treatments. With the inbuilt prescription reminder and health education feature, this issue has been squared off properly.
It additionally features an in-built electronic health records feature which securely saves clinical history to ensure continuity of care when the patient books another doctor.
Doctors are scrutinised and background checks are undertaken before being allowed on the platform to avoid imposters compromising the app.
Launched not too long ago, the platform which is in Open Beta covers two regions in Ghana; Accra and Cape coast with plans to scale up to the other regions.
How does money come through?
Patients pay consultation fees to the doctors. However, payments are monitored to ensure that no doctor charges exorbitant fees.
On how they intend to make gains from the platform while patients pay directly to doctors, Dr Ansong Snr said, “Of course every organization aims to make profit. While we have a detailed monetization strategy, the primary focus has always been to provide a solution to a problem.“
Improved consultation time
Dr Ansong Snr added, “Traditionally, when you visit any doctor, he needs to talk to you, examine you and then run some labs where necessary. The talking to you bit, is where doctors ask specific questions about your illness and this can take up to 40 minutes.
Knowing this, what we’ve done is, we’ve built this niche feature which is able to guide the patient to provide all relevant information as if being asked by a medical doctor. This information is then sent to doctor in the form of a clinical summary during booking. By doing this, we’re not only dramatically cutting down consultation time but doctors will for the first time ever, know what is wrong with the patient even before the patient makes the trip to see them. This should in effect cut down on the work load for the doctors who use the app.”
BookADoc, is however, ready to partner with the government and other private entities to offer ground breakings and tech inclined solutions in the healthcare space to make the lives of both patients and health practitioners better.
The triplet power
The founders of the BookADoc App are triplets and are all medical doctors.
Dr Yaw Ofosu Ansong Snr is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer while his two siblings that make up the set of triplets, Sophia Yaa Ofosua Ansong and Dr Yaw Ofosu Ansong Jnr are cofounders.
Dr Ansong Snr describes himself as a doctor by day and a programmer by night. He had an early grip on coding before entering the medical school and together with his triplet brother built computer games, desktop apps and websites. Their coding journey, he says began when they were barely 8 years old.
By Pamela Ofori- Boateng/ Business World Ghana