Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Government support aiding ehealth growth in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana

Steve Rogerson
September 27, 2016
 
Government-backed ehealth tools are set to revolutionise healthcare in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan.
 
Ehealth is disrupting healthcare delivery in Africa by offering governments and vendors a way to curb low resource issues and expand the reach and affordability of healthcare. Governments, says the report, are bolstering the capacity of the healthcare workforce by using mhealth, video telemedicine and healthcare IT.
 
Kenya, South Africa and Ghana are ahead of other African nations, with Kenya leapfrogging ahead as local start-ups dominate the digital health market. Establishing partnerships, either through public-private partnerships, between two local vendors, or between a local vendor and a key international vendor with a strong global foothold, will prove to be a game-changer in tapping into upcoming opportunities, says the report.
 
The report also looks at population health management, health information exchange, hospital cyber security, mobile computing applications in integrated care, business analytics in life sciences, and telehealth.
 
Mhealth and video telemedicine are being deployed to create awareness, improve lifestyle, and offer guidance towards better healthcare outcomes. Gradually, ehealth will reduce investment towards hospital bed strength as more patients receive care within, or close to, their homes without hospital admission.
 
"The total ehealth market for South Africa, Kenya and Ghana is in a nascent stage with expectations of high long-term growth," said transformational health research analyst Aditi Bhalla. "Vendors offering quick and effective healthcare outcomes will gain a tremendous advantage. To enable this, public-private partnerships and integrated businesses will be apt business models."
 
Novartis, Sanofi, Vodacom and Safaricom are already exploring opportunities in ehealth. Tools such as mPesa, introduced by Safaricom in Kenya, are extremely useful as digital wallets for quick and easy payments for healthcare related emergencies. Similarly, companies such as Merck, Tech4Life Enterprise, Telemedicine Africa, VSee, CenHealth, Connected Care and Dimagi are offering more than one ehealth technology to provide patients with integrated services and singular platforms to store their data.
 
"Technology interoperability, strategic functioning as well as nurturing start-ups will drive the greatest opportunities in the ehealth business of South Africa, Kenya and Ghana," said Bhalla. "Stakeholders, however, must have a clear roadmap to ensure that their business keeps pace with evolving technologies."
 
The global telemedicine market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 16.76 per cent from this year to reach US$49bn by 2021, from the current estimate of $19.3n, according to a report from Research & Markets.