Babylon will support the Government of Rwanda in their latest project to digitize their healthcare system by introducing digital tools, such as digitally enabled triage, to over-stretched government healthcare centers. These digital tools will help patients access the care they need faster while also reducing the burden on health centers. The project is being funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Why does it matter?
Like many countries around the world, Rwanda’s healthcare system is overburdened. Health centers feel the brunt of this, with nurses in some health centers and health posts regularly seeing up to 50 patients a day each. Babylon has developed a series of digital tools to digitally-enable public health centers in Rwanda, through its Babyl Rwanda subsidiary. This technology will help triage patients and, where appropriate, connect them to clinicians via digital consultations. Digitizing these health centers and giving suitable patients the option to connect with a Babyl doctor or nurse over the phone will reduce the demand on health center staff, meaning patients will see shorter queues and improved quality of care.
This technology will give patients the option to input their symptoms, determine the potential causes of the symptoms, and provide them with information to decide on the best next step. The triage tool uses AI technology which has been localized for Rwanda by accounting for local language and epidemiology. In a country with 15% smartphone penetration, introducing digital triage to health centers allows even those living in the more remote areas of the country to reap the benefits of this technology.
The use of this technology is completely optional to patients, and support workers will be trained to help patients with low literacy. For patients that require a physical consultation at the health center, triage will act as a prioritization tool ensuring that patients deemed to have urgent needs get placed at the front of the queue. The patient’s triage outcome generated through the tool can also be shared with health center clinicians making it easier for them to quickly access the information they need to treat the patient. Through this new system Babylon hopes to enable more effective use of scarce health resources, whilst also improving the quality of care for patients.
On the record
“We believe that this technology will empower health centers and improve the way patients receive care,” said Babyl’s Managing Director, Shivon Byamukama. “We are extremely excited to contribute to Rwanda’s digital health agenda in partnership with the Government of Rwanda.”
This is the second project that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has granted to Babylon to support Babyl’s work with the Government of Rwanda. Today Babyl has over two million registered patients and completes over 3,000 consultations every day. After Babyl’s recent signing of the 10-year contract with the Government of Rwanda, this digitization of health centers is the next step for Babyl services in their mission to make healthcare affordable and accessible for the people of Rwanda.