How Ghana’s InstantRad cuts radiologist wait times with on-demand platform

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Ghanaian startup InstantRad is cutting the time people have to wait for urgent scans via an on-demand teleradiology platform that connects hospitals and patients to radiologists. 

Launched in 2018 after co-founders Seth Quansah and Ernest Appiah both lost loved ones due to extended wait times for urgent scans, InstantRad offers a radiology-in-a-box software solution to both hospitals and radiologists. 

“Now hospitals can demand interpretation of medical images for their patients from radiologists in record time while radiologists have the power to extend their services to as many hospitals as they wish,” Quansah told Disrupt Africa.

InstantRad currently has over 100 African radiologists engaged on its platform, a number it hopes to increase in a bid to fill a gap Quansah said is “difficult to ignore”.

“Ghana, for instance, has about 80 radiologists serving a population of 32 million people. Nigeria, with a population of about 210 million people, has less than 300 radiologists. In some African countries, there is only one radiologist for every five million people,” he said.

The issues go further than just a shortage of radiologists, however.

“We identified a poor radiology infrastructure for both storage and archiving of medical imaging data in most healthcare facilities. Also, the well-known issue of interoperability is a major healthcare albatross in Africa. Also, there is a demand for an interpolating system because so much information is sitting neglected in various hospitals needed by radiologists to access previous cases for quality reporting,” said Quansah.

InstantRad sets out to solve all these problems, and investors have backed it to do so. In September of last year, the startup raised an undisclosed, six-figure amount of pre-seed funding from investors including Microtraction, Magic Fund, LoftyInc Capital Management, and Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company. This cash is being used for the on-boarding of new talent, as well as InstantRad’s expansion into new markets and product lines.

Quansah said uptake has been “highly encouraging”, and that it was now being more aggressive about gaining new users after early word-of-mouth growth.

“We realised that most facilities do not know we exist so we are heavily investing in marketing InstantRad across states and regions to recruit more customers,” he said.

“We are currently active in Ghana and Nigeria. We have pipeline arrangements with Ethiopia and Malawi coming up in Q2. We are in the process of scaling up and are currently looking for grants and investment to help us expand from two to 10 African countries by the end of 2022.”

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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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