On 19 January 2018, South Africa’s first dedicated digital health accelerator, Digital Health Cape Town (DHCT), announced their top finalists for their inaugural Accelerator Programme designed to foster local eHealth innovation.
The selected finalists have each developed innovative eHealth solutions that address real-world problems. The successful participants are:
· Petrus Van Niekerk: Udok – Online Booking – Udok has digital solutions that allow doctors to interact remotely with patients, facilitate treatment and monitor care.
· Dr William Mapham: Vula Mobile – Vula is a referral platform which links health workers to specialists in tertiary hospitals.
· Dr Anuschka Coovadia: HealthAtHome – HealthAtHome aims to provide high quality, affordable, patient-centric care to patients in the convenience of their homes.
· Brighton Khumalo: ConnecTB – ConnecTB is a web tool allows administrators, supervisors and directly observed therapy (DOT) providers to register and monitor TB patients.
· Nicole Van Der Merwe: GeneCare Molecular Genetics – GeneCare’s platform will deliver high-quality exercise programmes, educational video-coaching, and access to customised diet plans.
· Dr Musaed Abrahams: Aviro Health – The Aviro ART Treatment Mentor app helps nurses in primary care settings to efficiently treat HIV patients.
· Suretha Erasmus: GC Network – GC Network’s Pregnancy Screening app informs individuals of their risk for a chromosome abnormality in their pregnancy, provides detailed information of available prenatal tests and empowers them to make informed decisions.
· Vere Shaba: RAR Group VRHEALTH – VRHealth is a safe, virtual environment where those admitted in rehabilitation centres for substance abuse can develop new behavioural patterns in a realistic, immersive virtual world.
The eHealth startup finalists will take part in a 10-week programme starting on 23rd January 2018. As part of the programme, they will receive mentoring and in-person sessions with eHealth systems experts and engage in product design discussions with key opinion leaders. The sessions will focus on digital health problem and solution development; strategic planning and alignment to the healthcare environment; defining and marketing a value proposition; stakeholder’s analysis, building a sales pipeline and pitching a business plan, as well as the execution of projects and operations.
“We are excited to be part of the DHCT Accelerator Programme which brings together great minds to shape the future of the African healthcare landscape. Such programmes provide the collaboration and thinking that are the ingredients to creating a new healthcare innovation ecosystem, where we do anything but business as usual,” said Dr Niri Naidoo, Clinical and Operations Executive at Bankmed and Corporate Mentor in the DHCT Accelerator Programme.
“Africa, in responding to its unique healthcare challenges, will benefit from innovative approaches as it is a populace eager for progress. It is an opportune time to explore digital health where the internet, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are going to make a significant impact on healthcare,” concluded Richard Gordon, Executive Director: Grants Innovation and Product Development at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and Judge in the DHCT Accelerator Programme.