AUTHOR, techpreneur and speaker, Ayo Adebamowo is passionate about leveraging digital technology to solve healthcare problems. In 2019, he was named one of the 70 Most Outstanding Nigerian Healthcare Professionals in the UK at the NHS @70 Excellence Awards organised by NHCPUK.
Founder and CEO of MyMedicalBank, a revolutionary health-tech platform that connects consumers with healthcare providers and facilitates access to patient health records via an app, his educational pursuits have taken him through Nigeria, United Kingdom and Spain beginning at St Mary Catholic Primary School, Ondo and Unity Secondary School, Ikere-Ekiti. His tertiary educations were at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, University of Greenwich, London, and City University, London culminating in the award of a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and a Master’s degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
His expert knowledge of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Constitution enabled him to undertake several critical assignments at hospitals across London, Essex, Hertfordshire, and West Sussex regions of England. These include co-authoring six national reports widely reported in the British news media in 2014 on the retrospective review of cancer care at Colchester General Hospital as well as leading cancer informatics at UK’s largest hospital Trust – Barts Health in London.
Adebamowo is equally passionate about helping people achieve outstanding success in their personal and professional endeavours through offering principle-based training and motivation delivered via publications, coaching, and speaking engagements. This has inspired him to write four books on management to date namely: Success Power (2003), A Life of Impact (2010), Maximizing The Journey (2013) and the latest, Accelerate (2023). He also maintains a blog at www.ayoadebamowo.com.
In this interview, Adebamowo talks about his wealth of experience in telemedicine and how he has worked extensively both in the UK and Nigeria, including starting MyMedicalBank in Nigeria in 2016. With over twenty years work experience including fifteen spent at managerial level in the UK’s National Health Service and seven running MyMedicalBank, Adebamowo is committed to adding values to healthcare delivery through digital innovations.
What inspired the establishment of MyMedicalBank?
I started MyMedicalBank in 2016 upon discovering significant gaps in the African health ecosystem that could be readily bridged through the deployment of information technology. The idea to start the company came about a year earlier around February 2015 when my mum became critically unwell in Nigeria. The doctor attending to her was unable to access her health information with which to establish her medical history and facilitate timely continuity of care. Sadly my mum passed away shortly afterwards. The idea I conceived at the time was to create a mobile digital platform that would enable healthcare providers have access to essential health information of patients in any care setting at the click of a button.
The platform will also enable users – patients and non-patients to store their own health information and access a wide range of healthcare services from the convenience of their mobile phones. Think of MyMedicalBank as Uberizing healthcare. I thereafter began doing some research and validating the idea through surveys and consulting with several healthcare professionals. I also shared the idea with a group of friends and partners that later metamorphosed into the team that launched the company officially on June 12, 2018. Since then the company has remained committed to pursuing its vision of digitizing healthcare access for the common man in sub-Saharan Africa through creating digital solutions that connect consumers with healthcare providers, health information and access to their health records from any location or care setting.
How does the App help to bridge the gap between patients and medical personnel or how does the App make accessibility to healthcare easier?
Answer: MyMedicalBank is a one-stop digital health platform that exists as an app and a web application (www.mymedicalbank.com). As a data aggregator, MyMedicalBank brings together both the healthcare providers and consumers on the same platform. Facilitating this connection makes it easier for users to find and access a wide range of health services from the convenience of their mobile phones and at competitive costs. Users can find, book and pay for doctor’s consultations, diagnostic tests, drugs, home nursing, health insurance, ambulance service and many other healthcare services available from thousands of clinics, hospitals, medical laboratories, pharmacies, HMOs and other providers on the platform. These services can be delivered to the consumer in any care setting – on site (for instance in clinic or lab), in the comfort of their own home or virtually (telemedicine).
Not only that, medical records and tasks generated in the course of these healthcare encounters including clinic letters, test reports and images, vaccination records, medical history, appointments, medication reminders and others can be safely stored, recorded or automated on the platform. Creating this solution eliminates unnecessary waiting times. It brings the user’s health records to the mobile space. By overcoming geographical barriers it opens up the users to a wider range of healthcare providers beyond their immediate vicinity making it possible to get second medical opinion on health conditions they are being managed for.
By enabling users to access healthcare services from their phone it becomes possible for a user who resides in one part of the country or even outside Nigeria to conveniently arrange for hospital appointment, doctor’s home visit, ambulance service, supply of live-in carers or enrolment in a health insurance plan for their family members who reside in a different location – all through the platform.
In the case of health emergencies, how handy is MyMedicalBank App?
MyMedicalBank app allows users to record their emergency health information such as their contact information and that of their next of kin, allergies, underlying medical conditions and prescription drugs. The user can give a pre-approval for this particular component of their health information to be shared with healthcare providers and other relevant government agencies like FRSC in the event of an emergency. As far as we are aware, MyMedicalBank is the only app in Nigeria that currently offers this solution.
How would you rate the innovation as an improvement in the health sector vis-à-vis the way Bolt and Uber have disrupted taxi-services across the globe?
One area Nigeria has experienced massive improvements in the last two decades is in the adoption of digital technology in sectors like banking, commerce, transportation, entertainment and education. Even the political landscape is catching up quickly with the introduction of BVAS, iRev and electronic voter verification.
However, the health sector has been very slow to jump on this trend. For instance there is currently no health app that can be adjudged as a household name in Nigeria in the class of the likes of Uber, Bolt or oPay. Aside that how many of the 42,000 clinics and hospitals in Nigeria have an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) platform or even a simple website?
This gap is the kind of narrative MyMedicalBank is working hard to change through the various solutions we have introduced in the country some of which represent the first of their kind. These include MyMedicalBank HomeCare – reputed to the first digital platform that allows users to book home care services from home care providers nationwide and MyMedicalBank Health Market – Nigeria’s first digital healthcare marketplace.
This is why it is not all doom and gloom in the health sector. During the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown of 2020, with many patients unable or unwilling to go the hospital there was a surge in demand for telemedicine leading to the emergence of many telemedicine startups. An increasing number of providers are embracing digital technology as well particularly those in large cities. More health facilities are embracing digitization, EMR, Hospital Information Management System (HIMS), telemedicine, and appointment scheduling software.
One of the biggest factors responsible for the low rate of adoption of digital technology by health facilities in Nigeria relates to Cybersecurity concerns. In the absence of assurances protecting the confidentiality and security of patient health records, health managers have been reluctant to embrace digital transformation. The cost and reliability of infrastructure particularly internet connectivity is also a notable concern. For providers who are willing to spend money on adopting digital technology, they have often expressed concerns about the lack of skilled ICT manpower to implement and support these technical projects. Regardless of the challenges there are solutions that can be implemented to support healthcare providers and consumers alike to embrace digital technology in ways that offer assurance and deliver maximum value. Through the MyMedicalBank platform we are contributing to transforming the health sector in Nigeria by digitizing and democratizing access to healthcare.
Would you say the App is a must-have for everyone? Why would you say so?
Certainly! I would say MyMedicalBank is for everyone not necessarily because I am the founder but because it is a product that caters for a need that touches all of us – healthcare. Pertinent to say that MyMedicalBank is not just designed to help users access the services they need only when they fall ill but to also access benefits designed to prevent them from falling ill and to maintain good health.
As a one-stop health platform, MyMedicalBank offers users unique access to healthcare services on demand. MyMedicalBank delivers a range of solutions in ways no other app currently does in Nigeria. It is best for users to think of MyMedicalBank as their personal assistant as far as healthcare is concerned. This is why we have adopted the motto: Think Health, Think MyMedicalBank. The platform helps users to connect instantly with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, carers, diagnostic centres, HMOs, rehabilitation centres and other providers offering them options to access the service they need where they need it whether on-site, at home or via video call.
MyMedicalBank is designed to help people save time and healthcare costs by enabling them automate their health tasks. For instance, through the app they can set up medication reminders which ensures they don’t miss a dose again. They can find over 42,000 clinics and hospitals across all 774 local government areas of Nigeria and record a schedule of their appointment with these facilities. No health app in the country does this.
Everyone has some health records and information they need to keep and access at critical times including in emergencies. MyMedicalBank is currently the only health app in Nigeria that allows users to securely store, access and share their health records with any healthcare provider they choose. MyMedicalBank does more than allow users to store their health data it also allows them to generate useful insights and health intelligence from the same data. For instance, it can accurately calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI) and advise if their Blood Pressure or other health vital is too high and what they can do about all.
Life could be unpredictable. While we may not be able to predict the future, we can prepare for it. MyMedicalBank app helps users prepare for life uncertainties. The app comes handy in the event of an emergency with authorized doctors, paramedics and other healthcare professionals being able to utilise a user’s ‘Emergency Health Information’ to attend to them in those critical times when they may even be unconscious.
Above all onboarding on MyMedicalBank is free for all users both for the app and the web application. Users only pay when they are booking a service for example to see a doctor or buy a drug. Users can also chat with customer service team via the app if they need any help.