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Smart locker could boost chronic healthcare

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A South African entrepreneur is preparing to launch an innovative new automated chronic medicine dispensing system in a pilot project for the national Department of Health.
“The Technovera Locker system, is a most deserving winner in the Samsung South Africa Launching People – Mixed Talents competition,” explains Michelle Potgieter, director: brand and communications at Samsung South Africa. “This is the brainchild of Neo Hutiri, an electrical and industrial engineer businessman based in Johannesburg, who wowed judges with his simple and innovative, yet powerful idea.”
The Technovera system is designed to shorten the time chronic patients must spend waiting for their repeat prescriptions to be filled, as well as streamlining operations for state healthcare facilities, improving compliance and reducing the cost of chronic patient care.
Hutiri presented his solution and business plan in a Dragon’s Den-styled finale in the Samsung Launching People – Mixed Talents challenge to become one of three winners to receive R50 000 in start-up capital and access to over R 300 000 worth of business support tools from Samsung’s partners.
The Technovera solution includes a smart locker, an SMS notification system and chronic medication collection tracking. “Patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens, for example, who are stable chronic patients, typically have a six-month repeat prescription with an evaluation due every six months. For five of every six months, the process of collecting the repeat prescription need not involve the nurse – patients could simply be authenticated and collect their medication,” says Hutiri.
“By introducing this innovation, we can allow for pre-packed medication to be placed in smart locker cubicles and automatically notify the patients via SMS that their prescriptions are ready for collection. Each patient is validated by entering a one-time PIN and their cellphone number, which electronically unlocks their compartment.”
The solution has been developed in close consultation with the Innovation Hub, the Department of Health, the City of Tshwane and the City of Johannesburg, as well as with medical and pharmaceutical stakeholders and patients themselves.
“Proving compliance, security and confidentiality, as well as ensuring that the system innovates within the constraints of a highly regulated environment, has been challenging,” says Hutiri.
However, he believes that the digitised, smart system will deliver a broad range of benefits to healthcare service providers and patients alike, with the potential to integrate into other centralised health care and patient management systems for enhanced service delivery in future.
“Technovera’s win in the Launching People – Mixed Talents challenge has secured it funding to improve its systems, as well as valuable exposure that will raise awareness among patients and health stakeholders. Samsung is incredibly proud to be a supporter of such a revolutionary project that will truly improve lives in our communities – an endeavour which aligns strongly with Samsung brand ethos,” Potgieter concludes.