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Telemedicine’s Advantages for South African Young Doctors

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Vusi Melane
Vusi Melane
Staff Writer

In the midst of a demanding environment for doctors in South Africa, telemedicine is emerging as an appealing alternative for young doctors aiming for a sustainable career. Expanding on this, providing telemedicine as a managed service to businesses not only enhances employer and employee experiences but also guarantees a stable work environment for doctors, as noted by Guardian Eye MD, Rodney Taylor.

IoT Med Device for Doctors


Guardian Eye provides businesses in South Africa with an asynchronous IoT medical device and telemedicine platform called AVA. According to Taylor, this managed service is crafted to be cost-effective, easily accessible, and available around the clock. With the expansion of the service and its support for numerous pharmacies via a sustainable stream of medicine scripts, Taylor asserts that the company is in a strong position to understand the present environment and requirements of doctors and pharmacies.

Taylor says, “It’s a challenging environment out there at the moment for doctors. Many, who can, are leaving for other countries such as Canada, and if they aren’t currently in the process of moving, many are watching developments closely as they seek to protect their careers. However, going to Canada is not easy and an expensive exercise.”

“On the other hand, there are many doctors who, once they finish their community service, can’t find work in the private sector, and as Health Minister Joe Phaahla has said this year, finding budget for doctors’ salaries in the public sector is proving to be a challenge. Starting a practice is out of reach for many as it involves bank loans, leases, staff hire, marketing, expensive health insurance and much more. Telemedicine as a managed service provides an alternative, sustainable and attractive career option for the country’s doctors,” he explains

Onsite operations

While numerous telemedicine providers worldwide and in South Africa typically adopt a platform model, wherein doctors—often those with a few hours to spare—remotely log on when available, a managed service like AVA necessitates its doctors and medical professionals to operate on-site in Johannesburg.

“This is important when offering a fully managed service to businesses. Much like any other service, it is saying to businesses that the doctors are not only well-trained to be adept at virtual consultations but are managed correctly to ensure efficient service delivery. For doctors, it provides an environment where they work alongside likeminded professionals in a positive and stable environment.” says Taylor

He says that when doctors apply to work at a managed service provider such as AVA, the process involves more than just signing up to a platform. “We have an academy to train young professionals to become effective virtual doctors.”

Value for money

Taylor says that it has become clear that small, independent pharmacies often struggle to keep the lights on in the current challenging situations. “Now, it can be anywhere in the country… if AVA services a large manufacturer, for example, with thousands of employees, it channels scripts to independent pharmacies in that area. And, through scale, the pharmacies can keep the average cost of scripted medicine down ensuring businesses and their employees get value for money.”

This implies that, similar to other industries where technology has disrupted the established order, the objective is not merely technology for its own sake, but to tackle key challenges throughout the supply chain.

“Essentially, what this technology has enabled is the democratisation of quality medical access, no matter where you are in the country.” concludes Taylor

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