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Technology

App links patients to doctors

Man uses phone
Medbit plans to cash in especially on recurrent consultations. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Medbit, an e-health mobile app and web platform co-founded by Richard Okenye, is rapidly gaining popularity. Through the app, patients can book appointments with doctors in Nairobi and its environs to reduce overcrowding and long waits in health facilities.

The app features a map that shows doctors’ locations, their profiles, the time slots available as well as a messaging feature where patients can chat with doctors. Medbit also has a platform which prompts patients to pay for consultation in advance via M-Pesa, debit card or credit card.

“If you have a complication there is a map that comes up which shows you doctors that are nearest to you.

“You can also search for the doctor that you want or a specific clinic or hospital,” said Mr Okenye.

Since its inception in January, over 4,500 users have downloaded the application. Sixty doctors are active and 1,000 users have made bookings through the application.

. Once you have clicked on that doctor you can see their profile. If that is the fit doctor for you, you book directly from the platform,” says Richard Okenye, one of the founders of Medbit.

Both patients and doctors can sign up for Medbit and Medbit Pro respectively using their social media or email accounts. However, doctors must first submit their license provided by the Kenya Medical Board to the team. The team then approves the license through the Ministry of Health portal.

“Once doctors are on the platform they write down their profile that is a short bio statement, what specialty do they have and where they practice. They also provide a Google pin location and create time slots. They also list all the services that they offer so that the patients can book whatever they want,” says Mr. Okenye

After completing a two-month trial, doctors pay Sh2,499 monthly and an additional Sh100 for every booking made through the platform.

Medbit plans to cash in especially on recurrent consultations.

“Big hospitals already have a type of digital system that they are using to manage their services and they have enough revenue but patients are not able to know whether a doctor is booked,” says Mr. Okenye

“With Medbit, if I am coming at 1p.m., I know I am the only one the doctor is going to see so I don’t have to come and second guess whether he is around or he is at lunch or on a medical leave,” he adds.

Medbit says both doctors and patients are anxious about privacy, especially because of the application’s messaging feature.

“Our privacy policy and the technology that is on the application does not allow us to see what goes on in the application. Medbit does not see anything that goes on the platform except notifications on transactions that are going through the platform and the bookings that are going through there. We don’t see user profiles. Whoever the user books or where they are, we do not know,” says Mr. Okenye.

He adds that Medbit uses the same encryption key as many technological companies such as Google, Twitter and Instagram which ensures they do not see anything that goes on in the platform.

Apart from having launched the web platform this month, the Medbit team plans to launch its iOS application within the next two months, and introduce a technology into the platform that allows users use the application to book appointments in low or no internet.

“There is an SDK application that we will introduce on the application. It is actually ready. It is just that we are still following around the legalities and the partnerships with the guys operating networks,” says Mr. Okenye.

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