2 April 2020, Pretoria: The outbreak of Covid-19 has already closed borders, forced schools and businesses to close, and left many under social isolation or quarantine to limit the spread of the virus.
The largest disruption and the most strain at this time is undoubtedly on healthcare services, as this virus appeared out of nowhere and has overwhelmed local services and hospitals alike.
In such a desperate situation, technology – and the advances in technology like IoT and AI – may be able to alleviate some of the largest strains on doctors and nurses simply by making remote appointments possible, and making sure that high-risk patients do not have to leave their home to receive their usual treatment.
With COVID-19 sweeping the world, the role that technology can play to prevent, track and monitor outbreaks of this nature is becoming clear. Data has been critical to mapping the global threat of the virus and finding new ways to collect, map and track this data will continue to be a major focus.
Working together to save lives
As a systems integrator, BCX has served a variety of customers in SA’s healthcare sector for decades, ranging from privately owned community pharmacies to large hospital groups, and from medical schemes and now government departments.
As the public rally for information, BCX is working with the NICD and National Department of Health to set up an on-demand call centre to assist with the overwhelming influx of queries they are getting. The NICD and National Department of Health urgently required a means where the public could contact them to ask any questions and to report if they were experiencing any of the Coronavirus symptoms.
NICD required a contact centre which had the flexibility to expand at a moment’s notice. The initial request was for five agents, upped to 40 agents, and they expect growth up to 300 agents to man the COVID-19 Call Centre. With the BCX Contact Centre on Demand (CCOD) solution, NICD can implement a contact centre within a very short period of time (two days) and expand at a moment’s notice. BCX is also offering this as a mobile solution, which enables agents and doctors to work from home, thus facilitating easy upscaling of the workforce.
BCX CCOD offers NICD flexibility to grow very quickly based on demand, has a simple to use interface, good voice quality over the BCX Next Generation Voice Network, and ensures the public will be able to reach an available Nurse or Doctor on demand.
Furthermore, BCX launched the BCX Healthcare Portal last year, a cloud hosted web application that enables pharmacies and clinics to record biometric test results, including (but not limited to) basic measurements such as blood glucose and cholesterol levels, blood pressure measurements and HIV screenings.
Data privacy remains a key factor to enable this technology and provided we have consent from patients, the portal enables pharmacies to submit biometric results to medical schemes to drive further cost reduction and efficiency down the value chain.
We see an opportunity for technology to play a central role in revolutionising our healthcare system, and we believe that by harnessing the right technology to optimise systems and drive efficiencies, we can improve the quality of healthcare for every single person in South Africa.
IoT in healthcare
BCX have established an innovation hub internally within BCX, which looks at driving cutting edge technologies across several verticals. In healthcare, for instance, we have begun doing some work in robotics, virtual reality directed learning and surgical operations.
IoT plays a crucial role in accumulating digital information that can be analysed to identify and predict trends, and/or insights that can be used to improve efficiencies and overall outcomes across the sector.
Simultaneous reporting of multiple monitoring devices, and machine to machine communications provides clinicians with invaluable insight into critical situations and emergencies facing patients to triage correctly and respond appropriately to the presenting condition. Being able to track patients has also proved incredibly relevant in cases such as avoiding the issue of mothers who are allocated wrong new born babies in the maternity ward.
Using various IoT devices, large hospital groups have clear sight of various utilities such as water usage, controlled heating of water and general temperature which has a significant impact on cost reduction. In South Africa, healthcare centres often have limited resources and must share equipment across the hospital or clinic, IoT enables real-time locating of all tagged medical equipment which could be a gamechanger for facilities under stress.
With the help of wearable devices, and IoT, doctors can also monitor patients remotely and give the necessary guidance to patients who are kilometres away, enabling much needed critical care to rural areas.
Technology has transformed industries across the board, and healthcare is no different. Because of the radical improvements in the sector, there is an increased appreciation of role of technology in healthcare that has not always been there in the past.
As a leading proudly South African company, BCX puts a stake in the ground when we say that we are here to re-invent the customer experience: innovating solutions for how people learn, live, work. We will keep businesses running – never before has the power of digital transformation been so necessary. BCX can guide businesses through the most effective and cost-effective solutions as this global pandemic forces us to rethink the way we work during these uncertain times.
Editorial Contact: Trinesha Naidoo
Tel no: (012) 848-8889
Editorial Contact: Nicci Lee Watson
Tel no: 072 031 8452
At BCX, we pride ourselves on being an end-to-end digital partner for corporates and governments across the African continent. As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Telkom Group, we were established through the strategic alliance between South Africa’s premier information and communication technology (ICT) suppliers and a leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure; creating the digital partner of choice for clients within our chosen markets.
To do this, we combine local market understanding and industry expertise with some of the world’s most advanced ICT, together with a tireless commitment to make your unique digital journey as seamless as possible. In our endeavour to maintain our position as a digital market leader in financial services, mining, retail, healthcare and the public sector, we continue to leverage and invest in ecosystems for scale, access, and innovation.
Headquartered in Centurion, Pretoria, BCX permanently employs circa 6 400 people, with an ongoing commitment to attracting and building talent for the future. Operating where our clients operate, our global footprint spans across South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, UAE, The United Kingdom and Zambia.
BCX is one of the largest Oracle Platinum Partners, and we hold a Gold Status Partnership with Microsoft. In all, we have partnerships with 48 of the world’s most respected technology providers. We have the biggest data centre footprint in Africa, with offices in six African countries, as well as the United Kingdom. We’ll join you on your journey to Digital Transformation, integrating your existing investments, modernising your current infrastructure and helping your workforce transition smoothly to 21st-century thinking.
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