It is common to see hundreds of people sitting in our public hospitals waiting for hours on end for absent doctors . Such delays in accessing prompt health-care are often fatal, and are blamed on an inefficient public health delivery system or simply an inadequate number of doctors.
Pre-eminent among reasons people still prefer to go to public hospitals while private hospitals rarely attract more than the odd person is the perception that private hospitals are just too expensive. But according to Iyke Owoh, CEO of FindHospitals, a Ghanaian/Nigerian healthcare startup, this is simply not true and is just a matter of wrong perception.
“90% of the Ghanaian populace go to public hospitals and we’ve all heard the horror stories about public health delivery. There are lots of excellent private hospitals that provide affordable and quality healthcare which people don’t know of and we want this information to be freely available so people can take their health-care back into their hands,” he said.
FindHospitals is a web (and mobile friendly) application that enables Ghanaians find excellent private hospitals that are closest to them and which they can afford. On the website, patients can choose the specialty, location and budget that suits them and the application displays a list of hospitals which patients can choose from.
The most innovative thing about FindHospitals, according to Iyke, is the ability for people to book hospital appointments online. This, he says will help private hospitals make patient administration more efficient and increase patients’ access to prompt health-care because it completely eliminates waiting in long queues.
There are a number of websites that provide information about private hospitals already in existence, but FindHospitals is a far better option. “Most of those websites just provide general information about private hospitals, basically just listings. What we are providing is rich information which includes how close the hospitals are to you, how much they charge and best of all, the ability to book an appointment online and this is to help people make better choices,” states Iyke.
Healthcare startups are rare in Ghana, and Iyke and his 3 co-founders namely Cassandra Sarfo, Jerry Akanyi-King, and Innocent Udeogu are all Entrepreneurs-in-training at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, located in East Legon, Accra.
They are hopeful about the prospects of their startup in the local ecosystem and have plans of expanding to Nigeria after their product kicks off in Ghana. Nigeria is an attractive market for tech startups as it has one of the highest internet penetration rates in Africa and has a thriving tech ecosystem.
“As a team of Ghanaians and Nigerians, we want to help make quality healthcare accessible to all of our countries and that is one of the reasons we want to expand to Nigeria as soon as we get off the ground in Ghana. Healthcare in these two countries face similar challenges and our product will be useful in these two markets,” he said.