Conducting consultations and working through that waiting room queue is being disrupted with the introduction of uConsult, a multi-sided virtual consultation platform that home-based care accessible in South Africa.

According to Dr Johan Pretorius, CEO of Universal Healthcare, this fully integrated system allows healthcare providers to connect with patients no matter whether they have medical aid cover or not, or which medical scheme they may belong to. There is no need to download a restrictive medical scheme prescribed app only available to select groups.

“Healthcare provider and patient are additionally able to connect with other providers from multiple healthcare disciplines without having to switch between systems – a revolutionary development,” says Dr Pretorius.

Created by Universal Healthcare, this South African product was developed by the company’s California-based team in Silicon Valley, the birthplace of some of the world’s greatest tech innovations.

Unlike certain other virtual consultation platforms, uConsult connects healthcare providers with patients using safe, scalable microservices technology making it accessible any time from any device, be it a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. “Full accessibility to quality healthcare for all South Africans is uConsult’s ultimate objective,” Dr Pretorius says.

As a comprehensive suite of services with full office software integration, uConsult streamlines administrative tasks with an offering that includes electronic diary management tools, patient file management, generation of clinical notes and prescriptions, requests for radiology, nuclear medicine, pathology and specialist referrals. The predictive text functionality of the platform is a particularly advantageous timesaving tool, eliminating the need to fill out prescriptions, and pathology and radiology forms.

Patients are able to search for healthcare providers on uConsult by name, speciality or geolocation and virtual consultations can take place no matter whether the patient or the practitioner is based in South Africa or not.

“The vision for this leading-edge technology is rooted in the firm belief that anyone, anywhere should be able to access the best quality healthcare available. uConsult is an important step in that direction making physical and financial accessibility a reality for so many more South Africans,” notes Dr Pretorius.

“The advent of Covid-19 has changed the face of healthcare and indeed how we communicate. It is the beginning of a new era for the management of our health and how we interact with our healthcare professionals going forward. At Universal, this comes down to innovating and creating solutions that ultimately hinge on so much more than convenience – it is about making inroads into inclusivity, sustainability and connectivity for South Africans and beyond,” he concludes.