Digital health firm Babylon has launched its artificial intelligence (AI) powered triage tool in Rwanda to further digitise the Rwandan healthcare system.

Babylon, known locally as Babyl, has been delivering digital health services in Rwanda since 2016 and, last year, embarked on a 10-year partnership with the Government of Rwanda to build Africa’s first digital-first universal healthcare system.

The AI-powered triage tool is now being used by Babyl’s call centre nurses to assist them in working more efficiently by collecting information about patients’ symptoms and providing insights to help choose the correct triage path.

If a follow-up appointment is needed, the patient information collected is passed onto the doctor, saving both the clinician and the patient time.

The solution has also been fully localised for Rwanda and accounts for local language, epidemiology, culture and health system pathways. 

WHY IT MATTERS

Rwanda struggles with issues of accessibility and affordability of healthcare, whilst also facing ever-rising levels of chronic disease and severe healthcare workforce shortages. With a population of around 12 million, Rwanda was reported in 2019 to have only 1,200 doctors

Babylon says that the introduction of its AI-powered triage tool is a big step forward for its commitment to support the Government of Rwanda’s agenda to digitally transform the national healthcare system. 

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Babylon expanded its work in Rwanda earlier this year aiming to make it easier for people without smart phones to access its health services. Its new service lets Rwandans use any shared digital or analogue device to register, have digital consultations with clinicians, and get prescriptions by entering their national ID.

The British firm announced earlier this year that it would go public via a $4.2 billion SPAC merger with Alkuri Global Acquisition.

ON THE RECORD

Shivon Byamukama, CEO of Babyl Rwanda said: “Rwandans have embraced digital healthcare that allows them to access clinicians from wherever they are. With the introduction of the AI triage tool in our call centre, we are effectively placing doctors’ brains in the hands of our nurses in the digital triage.” 

Paula Musoni, minister of ICT & Innovation said: “The use of technology to deliver government services to Rwandans citizens has been at the core of the national ICT strategy. Whilst Rwanda has done extremely well in applying ICT to deliver most government services, the introduction of Babylon AI allows us to augment human capacity in a chronically understaffed sector that has been put under even more pressure due to the pandemic. Through this technology, Babyl is elevating the quality of treatment for every online patient irrespective of where they are in the country.”  

Ali Parsa, founder and CEO of Babylon said: “We are honoured that the Government of Rwanda has chosen us to support them in digitising the Rwandan healthcare system and are excited to see how Babylon’s AI helps further this objective.”

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By seohan