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MediVouch: A New Frontier in Affordable and Mobile Healthcare for SA

Published 2021-05-19 07:38:15

 

Medical aid premiums continue to rise faster than inflation. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the high cost of medical aid schemes, many South Africans are opting for cheaper medical aid options with diminishing benefits, or don't have the funds to afford medical expenses out-of-pocket. Major inequality in healthcare service delivery coupled with South Africa's deteriorating economic performance have contributed to the low levels of health coverage for the majority of South African citizens

In 2020, StatsSA published their latest General Household Survey (GHS), revealing the number of South Africans that were covered by a medical aid scheme. The group's data showed that between 2002 and 2018, the percentage of individuals covered by a medical aid scheme increased marginally from 15.9% to 17.1% in 2016, before declining to 16.4% in 2018.1 During this period, the number of individuals who were covered by a medical aid scheme increased from 7.3 million to 9.4 million—less than a fifth of the total population in that year (58.56 million).

In order to address and improve equitable and affordable healthcare, Pioneering Solutions Studio (PSS), in partnership with Qode Health Solutions, developed MediVouch—a mobile-based payment system dedicated to streamlining the payment of medical products and services at contracted healthcare providers. As it stands, the exclusivity and unaffordability of private medical schemes remain a huge barrier to receiving quality health services for the majority of the population. MediVouch aims to ensure that all citizens and residents of South Africa, irrespective of socio-economic status, have access to good-quality and affordable healthcare. In addition, it also aims to alleviate the burdens of cumbersome claims processes to offer healthcare providers an instant payment solution that is convenient, easy, fast, and completely digital.

MediVouch is a contactless payment solution that works in the following way. A healthcare provider registers as a medical merchant, where they onboard as a verified medical merchant on the MediVouch system. A medical merchant includes healthcare providers such as:

         Pharmacies and Clinics

         General Practitioners

         Dentists

         Optometrists

Once the healthcare provider is vetted and approved, they list their services at fair market prices for purchase by a database of over 8 million consumers. Should they wish to incentivise earlier settlements, medical merchants can offer discounts and promotions on their services.

After a medical merchant lists their services, a consumer can purchase a MediVouch voucher to receive a healthcare service at a contracted medical merchant for the set fee. The consumer then presents their MediVouch voucher to the healthcare provider, who scans the vouchers QR code or SMS code for instant payment into their MediVouch virtual wallet. 

For example, two Dentists with private practices both list a service for 'teeth cleaning'. Dentist A lists their service at R100, while Dentist B lists their service at R80. Now any South African citizen or resident with or without medical cover has the option to choose their preferred healthcare provider when purchasing a MediVouch voucher through the MediVouch app, available on any web, mobile, and tablet device. Once the consumer has purchased their voucher, the voucher is redeemable anytime as it does not expire. When the consumer visits their preferred dentist to receive teeth cleaning, they simply present their voucher using their mobile device, where the dentist scans the QR code or SMS code to receive their R100 or R80 in their MediVouch virtual wallet.

In the event a consumer does not have a smartphone that supports MediVouch, MediVouch vouchers can be sent via SMS by any registered benefactor. This feature makes MediVouch an ideal solution for employers who want to offer employees an affordable alternative to medical aid as MediVouch vouchers can be brought on a 'pay-as-you-go' basis to reduce costly monthly premiums.

MediVouch is not a medical aid. MediVouch is also not a medical labour broker—unlike other voucher solutions, MediVouch gives medical merchants the ability to trade in an open market like professions such as law. This offers medical merchants an opportunity to provide the best services at competitive prices, which benefits the consumer in the long run.

In addition to the platform's instant payment experience for medical merchants and affordability for consumers, MediVouch hosts features that include the following:

·       Card-free- MediVouch is a fully digitised mobile solution that only needs a phone to transact—no need for cash, debit, and credit cards.

·       End-to-end payment encryption- MediVouch features the highest security protocols and uses the latest Microsoft hosting technologies and hyper-cloud environments for enhanced data security.

·       Scan to pay- Medical merchants can fast-track payments using MediVouch QR codes that are scannable via mobile/tablet on each voucher. 

 

 References 

1        Statistics South Africa. "STATISTICAL RELEASE P0318 General Household Survey 2018." STATS SA, May 2020.

 

 

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Qode Health Solutions is a private company registered in South Africa with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CPC). Qode's majority share holders is vested in Non-profit organisations and fall part of one of 4 group technology-based companies located in Gauteng.