Rocket Health successfully completed the implementation of the Making More Health (MMH) Acceleration Project, where it piloted the use of the telemedicine model to deliver healthcare for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The pilot project which was implemented from 1st August 2021 to 30th March 2022, was funded by Ashoka Innovators Africa and Boehringer Ingelheim (BI).
BI also provided professional support and mentorship across a number of areas, including refining our business model, value proposition, market sizing approaches, building strategic partnerships, and scaling.
Rocket Health was part of the 3 start-up finalists in the 2021 MMH Cohort that received Є 50,000 seed funding to pilot the innovative telemedicine model and last-mile medical services delivery to improve access to quality and affordable healthcare for NCDs.
The burden of NCDs in Uganda is rising with conditions like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, stroke, cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases, causing up to 33% of all deaths annually.
This is compounded by an already overstretched healthcare system with a low doctor-to-patient ratio (1:25,000), a lack of access to credible and reliable health information for informed decision-making, and a shortage of patient-centered models of healthcare with almost no post-facility followup.
The Covid-19 pandemic crippled the economy and exacerbated the situation in the health sector owing to the measures introduced to curb its spread like movement restrictions and curfews. These restrictions made healthcare costly and inaccessible, thus the need for innovative and disruptive models for healthcare access.
Innovation: Telemedicine and Lastmile medical services delivery
Rocket Health provides a 24/7 telehealth center operated by qualified and licensed medical professionals offering remote teleconsultations countrywide, last-mile deliveries of prescriptions from the pharmacy, and lab sample pick-ups without patients moving to a health facility.
Beneficiaries access the medical professionals remotely via text, video, or voice and encounters get to be recorded in an electronic medical records system.
Where further medical assessment is recommended like laboratory tests and pharmacy prescriptions, users get these done at their place of convenience through our last mile logistical medical service delivery model.
To create empowerment and drive the adoption of positive behavior, we develop and customise content on a variety of non-communicable illnesses which gets to be disseminated via mobile text to clients.
Reminders (automated mobile messages and routine voice calls) are done to ensure timely refills, improve treatment adherence and reduce the risk of developing complications as a health outcome.
Services offered under the program
- 24/7 telehealth center manned by qualified health professionals that offered convenient access to quality and reliable NCD care such as teleconsultations via voice, video, or chat platforms
- Mobile laboratory sample pickups from the comfort of a client’s preferred location, i.e., home, place of work, etc.
- Periodic refills of medications for chronic patients.
- Awareness and promotion of chronic care and management through information dissemination via mass media, SMS campaigns, and social media platforms.
- Personalised health care subscription packages.
- Customized NCD product packages.
Following the success of the pilot, Rocket Health received additional funding to scale the innovation, increase efficiency in service delivery and create more impact in communities.
Key activities to increase access to quality, affordable and reliable NCD care will include;
- Strategic collaboration and partnerships with new partners including organised patient groups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and Rotaract clubs among others.
- Targeted marketing and promotion of the NCD care program.
- Intensify community/home-based screening campaigns and outreaches.
- Increase behavioral change communication/education and awareness creation by leveraging new channels.