Ironically, many industries were shaken but none more than health services in Zimbabwe. It was necessary to change some of the health regulations to cater to the circumstances we found ourselves in with the coronavirus pandemic. In reality, we are still living with those circumstances. Mobile health is an area that is growing in Zimbabwe and if you’ve ever thought about this business idea or the title just piqued your interest read on to find out more about the business and some tips for success.
Mobile health as the name suggests makes the health provider mobile and they visit the patients. This offers convenience and simplicity for patients. Mobile health practitioners offer a wide range of health services that come to patients wherever they are located. You can understand the complexities in travelling caused by covid and the rules that were put in place in the wake of covid, patients may have difficulty travelling. When people are severely unwell travelling may be a major complication for them so the idea makes the best of a bad situation.
There are many expressions of mobile health but they all converge in that the health provider is the mobile one while the patient moves a little if it is all. The idea is to offer anything from initial consultation/diagnosis to specialised care wherever the patient may be.
Here are some areas that require your consideration if you want to get into this business. Let’s have a brief look at some of them.
As you can imagine the health sector has a lot of regulations with good reason. To protect the general public you will have to make sure that you meet the requirements of the Health Professions Authority of Zimbabwe, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe and relevant business licencing laws and by-laws in the location, you intend to operate.
The one thing you will need for this to work is mobility and therefore a vehicle, preferably a van is essential to the business. While you can get away without a van the reality is a van has a greater capacity and allows you to accommodate more equipment and consumables in a single trip. The goal is not to perform open-heart surgery but you would want to have as much equipment as possible available.
In the past, to dispense medicine and hold yourself out as a pharmacist your business was required to be majority-owned by a registered pharmacist. While this has changed some regulations still hold about dispensing medicine. You will at the very least be a licenced and practising doctor, a licenced pharmacist and an assistant. The assistant is important here because you can have patients pre-screened by the assistant to have the doctor and/or pharmacist prepared for the patient. This saves time and since you are travelling around seeing people’s time is valuable.
A few tips additional tips
Thinking wide is great but success is dominance and to do this you should rather spend your energy dominating specific locations and branching out. It may seem counterintuitive but this will speed up your success rather than slow it down. The idea is to serve people well and centring in a specific location helps you do that better.
Address problems people have
People don’t care what you are doing or what you are selling. Seriously, they don’t. What people care about are their problems and by extension the solutions to their problems. What you should be offering are solutions to problems. Providing help with chronic conditions sounds very different from support for people with Hypertension and diabetes.
Make it easy
There is a myth in the tech world called the 10X (10 times) rule, which states that for people to take up your new product it must improve the current solution by 10 times. A bit much in my book but they are on to something. You need to improve the experiences of people for things to work. So don’t replicate what’s there, improve it somehow. If you can find smarter ways to improve it just do it.
As this is just opening up in Zimbabwe you can expect to see more and hopefully better expressions of this business idea as more players come to the market.