SA’s EMGuidance scaling e-health platform across Africa

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South African startup EMG Technologies is readying to scale its EMGuidance clinical facilitation platform across Africa after releasing slimline versions in 11 additional countries.

Initially launched in July of last year, and last week named the winner of the South African leg of the Seedstars World competitionEMGuidance provides a centralised, digital access point for locally relevant clinical guidelines on behalf of a wide range of medical institutions, and detailed medicines information, equipping doctors with up to date information that can help to reduce inaccurate decisions at the point-of-care.

Its proprietary, interactive and consistently updated Medicines Section guides medical professionals in providing the correct prescriptions. This resource has been put together by an in-house team of doctors and pharmacists, working with a national network of specialists.

The startup claims the EMGuidance Medicines Section is South Africa’s first, free, interactive and consistently updated mobile medicines resource available. It currently has over 800 active ingredients listed, each with full prescribing and dosage information, and plans to have around 1,200 active ingredients by the end of August.

“The platform is geo-location enabled, and we are therefore able ensure that our users see the most relevant content to them. The geo-location aspect also enables us to roll the platform out to new territories,” chief marketing officer (CMO) Howard Moodycliffe told Disrupt Africa.

“Our vision is to improve patient care globally by providing medical professionals free, instant access to locally relevant clinical guidelines and medicines information.”

The platform – which is accessible via Android and iOS apps – has seen over 5,000 medical professionals register and use the platform since its launch, with at least 80 per cent of this user-base growth via word of mouth. More than 20 medical institutions, as well as the South African Department of Health, publish their clinical guidelines through EMGuidance.

Moodycliffe said the startup is currently focused on South Africa, but has released a slimline version of the platform in Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Rwanda, Sudan and Zambia.

The problem which EMGuidance solves is that of information access.

“Medical professionals, to date, have had no single, digital point through which to access point-of-care clinical and medicines information. Traditionally they have had to trawl websites, run Google searches and rely on medicines information sources with are either incomplete, or are non-digital and only updated every two or three years, or are of an international nature and not accurate for the South African region,” Moodycliffe said.

“We have been very careful to ensure the integrity of the platform. A lot of effort, thought and strategy has gone into ensuring that the clinical and medicines information is 100 per cent inclusive, and that any paid engagement and value add opportunities taken up by pharmaceutical companies are supplementary – and clearly marked as coming from a 3rd party.”

He said EMGuidance, which has raised two funding rounds thus far and is in the process of raising a further one right now, provides the platform and app to medical professionals and clinical guideline content producers for free.

“We generate revenue through providing highly contextual opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to add value and information to medical professionals – when they are looking for it. We currently have five clients, including a number of multinational, ethical companies. It is important to point out that this bringing together of medical professionals and the pharmaceutical industry can only be done effectively within the context of a highly trusted and inclusive environment. Industry engagement must add value to our users,” Moodycliffe said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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