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Why you don’t have to go to hospital to consult a doctor

By JOSPHAT THIONG'O | Published Mon, March 20th 2017 at 14:31, Updated March 20th 2017 at 14:36 GMT +3

NAIROBI, KENYA: Patients may no longer need to physically meet with their doctors for consultation and treatment following the launch of a web-based healthcare system.

ConnectMed which is an online healthcare platform was on Monday launched in Kenya and aims at making healthcare accessible anywhere, anytime. It has been implemented in South Africa successfully and now seeks to revolutionize healthcare in the country.

Kenyans with an internet connection will be able to schedule appointments, consult licensed doctors through live chats for as long as 15 minutes, get a prescription, get referral letters and have medicine delivered to their residences on request.

"Healthcare in Kenya is given by a few doctors and is inaccessible due to high cost, location and limited available hours but we are looking to make health accessible and at an affordable price which is cheaper than that in hospitals," said Melissa McCoy, Connectmed chief Executive officer.

On visiting the connectMed website, patients will be able to book an appointment and time they want, directly video consult with doctors who will then give a summary report and recommend a prescription to be made available by the healthcare partners.

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She said that patients would have to pay a Sh1, 200 consultation fee which was cheaper compared to charges in private hospitals which stood at approximately Sh2, 000. Payment can be made through mobile money transfer, Visa, Debit cards, pay-pal and Pesa-pal.

The CEO revealed that 40 percent of Kenyans visited healthcare centers seeking treatment on minor illnesses ranging from flu, diarrhea, coughs, allergies and urinary tract infections among other illnesses which could be cured without necessarily meeting up with the doctors physically.

"This will help patients save up on fuel and other charges that are incurred while seeking treatment," said McCoy.

The executive said that connectMed had already been in use in Nairobi, with frequent users being new parents, young professionals who did not want to wade through Nairobi traffic and students who wished to discuss sexual and mental health challenges privately.