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Clicks clinics offer video doctor consultation services

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 24 Jun 2020

E-health firm Udok has collaborated with pharmaceutical firm Clicks, to roll out video consultation services across Clicks clinics nationwide.

Udok’s telehealth Web application provides a safe option to connect patients to healthcare specialists in real-time, minimising the risk of spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19), by eliminating the hassle of a face-to-face consultation.

Udok’s doctor to patient video-conferencing platform connects patients to a nation-wide network of practitioners, using an electronic medical record system that is integrated with Zoom’s video-conferencing service. Using artificial intelligence technology, the platform is able to ensure smart queuing and triaging of patients.

Patients wait in a virtual queue and the general practitioners are able to engage with them virtually, to provide a treatment plan, e-prescription or lab referral.

Patients are able to access their medical history through their profile on the platform, starting from their first consultation with Udok.

Globally, telemedicine has proved invaluable in the management of the deadly virus, with many governments and healthcare systems advocating digital healthcare tools and virtual consults as the first step and primary means of healthcare support during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"This pandemic has suddenly changed the landscape of tele-health, which will transform the way that people access healthcare,” says Dr Petrus van Niekerk, founder and CEO of Udok.

“There is a large community of doctors in SA that do not own their own practice. With Udok supplying a new way of optimising their time and skills, they are now able to provide their specialised services remotely. We believe online consultations will pave the way forward for years to come.”

The Cape Town-based company was founded by Dr Van Niekerk in 2017. Upon completing his MBChB degree at the University of Stellenbosch, he spent years working in the Eastern Cape, rural Namibia and Canada, where he gained experience in telehealth technologies.

According to Dr Van Niekerk, Udok’s digital ecosystem consists of software and diagnostic medical devices that can take high-definition images of the inner ear, eye, throat and skin, which can then be viewed by a doctor remotely.

“Udok connects patients that come through a Clicks clinic to a network of general practitioners for advice, diagnosis, prescriptions or referrals. Udok only facilitates doctor consultations through the ecosystem that consists of software and Internet of things devices located in a clinic. A nurse makes use of these devices to upload biometric information onto the system that gets viewed by the doctor for assessment.”

Udok has been providing video consultations to MediRite group clinics for the past year.

Beyond the clinic service, patients can log in independently via the Web app and talk to a qualified medical practitioner from anywhere.

GPs and patients can register online though the Udok Web site. All GPs are verified, and earn per consultation seen through the platform. Patients pay R250 for an online consultation, or R300 in store.