Vodacom and Discovery have partnered up to deliver online COVID-19 risk assessment and connection to a healthcare professional for free for all South Africans.
Globally, there is an issue when it comes to healthcare systems being overwhelmed with people needing assessment, which takes time for professionals who need to treat those who are sick. To help with this burden, virtual assistance relieves some of the pressure on primary care facilities.
This system is simple, free to use and available on any web or mobile phone facilitating a full consultation with a doctor either through video or audio calls or by text. The service can be accessed by visiting either the Discovery or Vodacom websites. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
“We are proud to be partnering with Vodacom on this important and powerful initiative – bringing free online doctor consultations to all South Africans who need it for COVID-19,” said Adrian Gore, Chief Executive Discovery Group.
Discovery are using their existing DrConnect platform, which had been available to Discovery clients. They have now opened this up to all South Africans. Together with Vodacom, they have set up a fund to pay doctors for approximately 100 000 consultations, making them free to any South African.
“Our partnership with Discovery can go a long way in alleviating any increased pressure on healthcare practitioners while at the same time empowering citizens by connecting them to doctors. As a leading technology company, we are optimistic about the capabilities of digital connectivity to transform the lives of our communities,” said Vodacom Group Chief Executive Officer, Shameel Joosub.
Here is how to use the system:
1. Start the process by visiting Discovery’s COVID-19 information hub or Vodacom’s website. Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme can access the service through the Discovery app. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
2. Utilise the COVID-19 self-screening risk assessment tool, by answering a few easy questions.
3. If you are confirmed as high risk of having COVID-19, a short registration and consent process on the DrConnect app will follow.
4. Book a virtual consultation with a doctor who is available to assess the need for COVID-19 testing.
5. If the doctor recommends testing, a photo of the completed pathology form will be sent to you by SMS, WhatsApp or email. The same process will apply to scripts for medicine.
6. Testing and collecting of medicine will be facilitated by the relevant essential healthcare service providers that you have to visit.
7. Doctors will receive test results electronically and can then advise if you should schedule follow-up appointments to discuss results and next steps.