Convenience and Cost Savings Bolster Adoption Rates of Patient Portals in Africa


Technology explosion facilitates the rollout of patient portal services, finds Frost & Sullivan

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – 17 March, 2015 – Healthcare givers in Africa are gradually recognising the convenience and cost benefits of adopting patient portals that integrate financial and clinical data. This service not only improves anytime, easy, and secure access to patient data, but also reduces the cost of care and helps eliminate penalties such as readmissions.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Patient Portals in Africa (https://www.frost.com/q293854655), finds that while healthcare providers and payers in Africa clearly understand the value of patient portals, they do not perceive any urgent need to implement them. However, advantages such as patient engagement will encourage uptake in the future.

As the patient portal market in Africa is nascent, it is marked by challenges relating to costs and data security. Among end users, insurance payers were the first to adopt similar eHealth technologies, which were mainly used to make patient records available to doctors. The installed base of these technologies has the potential to be upgraded to patient portals, once end users are made aware of its multiple benefits.

“The ability of patient portals’ to optimise the operational and financial efficiency of healthcare providers and payers by leveraging time-saving technologies is a key purchasing factor,” said Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Research Analyst Saravanan Thangaraj. “Further, it can ease some of the tedious and monotonous administrative, as well as data-entry, tasks that consume hospital resources. Patient portals also eliminate the need for additional staff and postage by enabling patients to perform functions online.”

Currently, substitute technologies such as mobile applications (mHealth) and telemedicine have outstripped patient portals in popularity, but this situation may change in due course. Mobile applications may soon be overshadowed by applications that employ both mobile and web-based portals, as they enhance user engagement by allowing customers to choose the technology they wish to adopt.

“The ubiquity of technology has stoked the use of online services and therefore, has fostered an environment that is ideal for the promotion of patient portals,” observed Thangaraj.

Patient portals facilitate real-time health monitoring and patient engagement, which will ultimately lead to patient retention. They also make it possible to interact with patients who relocate, or patients living in rural areas who have difficulties visiting physicians and doctors.

Apart from the obvious cost and convenience benefits, partnerships between payers and designated service providers to have a common patient portal will greatly enrich patient engagement and encourage its uptake.

Patient Portals in Africa is part of the Life Sciences (http://www.lifesciences.frost.com) Growth Partnership Service program. This Market Insight looks at the overall patient portal market in Africa with a detailed analysis of the South African and Kenyan markets. It provides the major drivers and restraints for market growth. In addition, the advantages of adopting patient portals are highlighted along with the industry trends. The different types of patient portals, the elements impacting their growth, and a brief customer analysis are also included.

Source: Frost & Sullivan

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