mHealth Apps: Say Hello to the Whatsapp Doctor

Whatsapp doctor

Your mobile phone might one day save your life especially if you have Whatsapp on your device.

Last week I developed a condition in my eyes. They were itchy! My first instinct being Tech Savvy (you should guess) was to Google the condition so as to find out prior to seeing a doctor whether it was a serious situation or not. I did get some pointers on WebMD but while I was still sifting through my Twitter account, I landed on something even more revolutionary — something that could help me speak directly to a Doctor instantly — the Whatsapp Doctor.

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A brain child of Group Managing Director at The Medical Concierge Group, a Startup that’s changing healthcare in Uganda, the Whatsapp Doctor gives mobile users near instant access to a medical professional right from the palm of their hands. When I asked about my condition after adding the “Whatsapp Doctor” to my phone book, I got a useful response in just 10 minutes — for FREE.

So I caught up with Dr. Davis Musinguzi, the group Managing Director over email for a quick product interview about this fascinating service. Launched in  just over a month ago on April 1st 2014, the innovative group is using Whatsapp, a widely popular texting service among the youth and one the most popular mobile Apps, to reach to patients. 

“WhatsApp has gained phenomenal uptake among young people as a messaging service in Uganda. The reason why these communication platforms have gained so much traction is because of our innate need to connect and what better way to do so at almost the cost of nothing.

What we have done at The Medical Concierge Group is leverage the youth’s familiarity with Whatsapp to connect them to Doctors and Pharmacists that can provide answers to their health questions.  We call it ‘WhatsappDoc’ that can reached on 0790 512 074″ Davis told me.
With close to 100 people interacting with their Doctors through out the day and night in just a month after launch, the response to the service is Screenshot_2014-05-16-10-45-43simply remarkable. Whatsapp already has almost all the features to extract whatever information a physician will need. You can upload images to give more elaborate information about your condition if that’s necessary, perhaps record an audio or even better a video using your smartphone camera  and instantly upload for the Doctor! The group also provides an ambulance service, so the location feature might come in handy too.
However, the hyper innovative group hasn’t just limited its accessibility to Whatsapp only. They also have a very informative Facebook page, although that’s used to disseminate health related content and a Twitter handle where I learnt about them, an email address and even Skype ID (TMCGLtd).
Older people might prefer calling. So there’s a 24/7 call center that you can reach by simply dialing  0417 747 000, though of course normal calling rates will apply.
These guys have literally exhausted every single communication medium we have today using mhealth apps to reach out to people which is very impressive. The idea that health care could be so accessible for free to about 6 Million internet users and about 16 million mobile subscribers, didn’t occur to me until now. So why don’t you go ahead and Whatsapp the Doctor.

  • Jemimah

    Everyone can get connected these days; online, via sms or phone call. This is one great way to extend health services. I hope TMCG gets all the support they need to sustain this and even take it to another level

  • Very useful I must say