By Our Writer
Rocket Health, a Ugandan telemedicine and last-mile healthcare provider, has announced a US$5 million investment fund which will now see it expand its services within Uganda, and also expand to Kenya, the company’s management said.
“Rocket Health is proud to announce the close of a $5 million Series A funding round led by Creadev, an evergreen investment fund backed by the Mulliez Family of French entrepreneurs. Creadev is joined by existing early-stage African investors Grenfell Holdings and LoftyInc Capital Management who participated in the round,” the company managing director Dr. Davis Musinguzi said in a statement.
He said the investment “will allow Rocket Health to accelerate its technology roadmap and geographical expansion to the different regions of Uganda and into Kenya in order to make healthcare more convenient, accessible and delivered to patients wherever they are.”
Rocket Health became a household name during the COVID-19 pandemic and lock down.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Uganda under both the first and second lock down, instituted several measures to curb the spread of the virus. Among these were restrictions on movement within and across districts and within major towns and cities. With the limitation on transport, medical services became inaccessible for many Ugandans as many were unable to easily visit hospitals or clinics to get the care that they need.
In addition, the spread of the second wave of COVID-19 put a major strain on healthcare facilities with many having limited infrastructure and resources to meet the demand. It is such gaps that led to the prominence and unprecedented rise in the use of digital health technologies to extend medical services to one’s home or office or any other place that they find convenient.
Evolution of Rocket Health’s digital innovation
For the last 8 years, The Medical Concierge Group (TMCG) has connected various patients
around the globe to healthcare consultations and services via mobile/digital technologies. They partnered with various international agencies and the government to support digital health initiatives for various projects. The beneficiaries and consumers in Uganda and all over the world referred to them as “WhatsApp Doctors,” “ Doctors-On-Call,” “ Social Media Doctors,” “the mobile pharmacy,” “The mobile laboratory.”
In August 2019, the Medical Concierge Group bundled all these services together, and launched a direct-to-consumer service under the brand name, Rocket Health.
How the health services access model works
The customer journey starts when they use their mobile device to reach out to Rocket Health
doctors for a consultation or deliver a service. They have a 24-hour medical call centre staffed with licensed medical professionals. Their call centre can be reached through different platforms: USSD code *280#, toll-free telephone line 0800 277 015, the online shop (www.rockethealth.shop), WhatsApp and social media channels.
Key innovations in the health value chain
Over time they have had different developments in telehealth service delivery modalities including: Teleconsultations, call centers manned by doctors, dissemination of health information through mobile phones and we recently launched the first USSD short code (*280#) dedicated purely to healthcare services.
With these new innovations, they have made it easy for anyone with a mobile phone to simply access medical care and have some of these services delivered in the comfort of their homes or offices. They have also developed annual healthcare plans that go for as low as 100,000 (per year) to give subscribers unlimited access to free doctor consultations, discounts across all services and a wellness test to help them monitor the status of their health and make better lifestyle choices. All these innovations are driven by the need to make healthcare more
affordable and remotely accessible for every Ugandan.
How Rocket Health’s digital innovations helped cope with impacts of
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that everything that we can routinely access physically, we should be able to access virtually. With the number of traditional hospitals and clinics adopting telemedicine services, there’s no question that convenience is playing a major role in the increasing use of telemedicine services like phone doctor consultations, last mile delivery of medicine and mobile laboratory services. Even when the pandemic is gone, many of still lead busy lives that hardly leave with time to make that visit to a clinic or make queues at a pharmacy. Telemedicine comes in to close these gaps and ensure that everyone gets the care that they need at their convenient time and location.