The Bisa Health Application connects patients with doctors – without having to meet in person. Patients receive initial diagnoses and information about diseases directly on their smartphones. 2016 the innovation made it into the final of the Aspirin Social Innovation Award.
Many patients in Africa have no access to medical care. There is often a shortage of doctors. Information about diseases and how to prevent and treat them is also not available to many.
Ghanaian company OASIS Websoft, a finalist in the 2016 Aspirin Social Innovation Award, has developed the Bisa app to bring patients with acute medical problems together with doctors by smartphones.
The app enables users to pass medical problems straight to a specialist and receive expert advice from a doctor directly onto their smartphone.
Bisa has been downloaded more than 21,000 times.
Smartphones are part of Africa’s everyday life, as is the case almost everywhere in the world. Unlike most industrialized countries, however, there is a shortage of doctors in many places in Africa. People who are ill often have to go without medical care. “If we can provide people with enough information and support them in their treatment, we can prevent the spread of many diseases,” says Raindolf Owasu. The founder and CEO of OASIS Websoft wants to improve the health of as many Africans as possible without them having to rely on local doctors. Therefore, OASIS, based in Ghana, got together with African doctors in 2015 to develop the free smartphone app Bisa Health Application.
“Bisa means ‘ask’ in the Ghanaian Twi language,” explains software developer Owusu. “The app enables users to ask our doctors and health specialists questions about acute medical issues, either in written form or as a spoken message.” They can also send a photo or video showing an affected area of skin, for example. Every message goes straight to a specialist. Within 24 hours, the patient will receive a private message with potential treatments and advice for his problem.
users receive a response directly to their smartphone.
Staff members of Bisa are able to identify the most frequent, overarching problems and concerns of users based on the inquiries. “Our specialists and doctors regularly create informative articles about current treatment and health trends,” says Owusu. “They explain about infectious diseases and ways of preventing their spreading.” Of course, Bisa does not replace seeing a real doctor. But the app offers patients fast help for acute problems until they are able to see a physician.
Bisa users currently have access to
25 volunteer specialists
At present, Bisa is working with 25 volunteer doctors and specialists from Africa, but Owusu has a clear goal: “We want to involve specialists from all around the world. That way we can improve the health many people, including those of countries with similar problems.” Making it to the final of the Aspirin Social Innovation Award and access to Bayer's global network will help them achieve their goal.
Bisa’s doctors and specialists have already responded to
more than 28,000
medical inquiries since 2015.
Every user receives a personal patient file. This simplifies the work of the doctors greatly, as they have a better picture of the patient’s health condition.
A relaunch of the app, with premium user content, is planned for fall 2017. For the price of one Ghanaian Cedi (about €0.20) per month, premium users can use the app to buy the medication they need and have it delivered to their home.
The creators of Bisa are convinced that everyone has the right to good healthcare. Their app is a first step towards making this reality.