Nigeria’s Health Tech niche is rich with home-driven solutions that seeks to solve healthcare problems that remain peculiar to Nigerians.
MyMedical Bank is one of Nigeria’s most-promising Healthcare solution platform that personalise the experience of users, making their healthcare services accessible to clients and healthcare providers.
I was able to reach through to the brain behind MyMedicalBank, to get a feel of how the start-up is able to render its services in a health sector that many observers believe is not receiving so much attention when compared to other niches.
Enjoy our conversation;
1) Hello Mr Ayo, I am so glad to finally do this interview session with you. Can we meet you? Know a little more about you and your personal background?
My name is Ayo Adebamowo, CEO and Founder of MyMedicalBank. I am a Nigerian-British techpreneur passionate about leveraging on ICT to solve healthcare problems in Nigeria and across Africa. I was born in Lagos and grew up both in Lagos and Ondo States. I had my secondary education at Ondo State Unity Secondary School, Ikere-Ekiti (now Ekiti State Government College). I was at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife from 1994 to 1998 where I bagged my first degree in Zoology.
I did my mandatory one-year NYSC at Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan in 1999. I worked with the Ondo State Civil Service for a few years before I left for the United Kingdom in 2004.
I studied for and obtained my Master’s degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) with Remote Sensing at the University of Greenwich, London in 2007 as well as a Certificate Programme in SQL Database Management at City University, London in 2011.
I have been working with the U.K’s National Health Service (NHS) in the field of Health Informatics at senior management level for 11 years now. In the period, I have been opportune to handle some assignments some with findings reported in the British media. These include analysing and co-authoring six reports on the retrospective review of cancer care at Colchester Hospital in Essex.
I am married with 2 children. I enjoy movies, music and football.
2). Your company name MyMedical Bank is so unqiue and compelling, give us the reason for the choice in the name and What is MyMedicalBank about?
MyMedicalBank is coined from three words: ‘my’ relating to something a person owns, ‘medical’ has to do with health and ‘bank’ where money and other treasured possessions may be kept. By that, MyMedicalBank is a secured repository where an individual’s health information may be kept.
Simply speaking, MyMedicalBank is a cloud-based product suite that connects consumers with healthcare providers, health information and their health records from any location or care setting.
You are a medical doctor, Right… Can you let us a little into your educational background?
I’m often asked this question! No I’m not a medical doctor but I have passion for healthcare and have spent more than half my career working in this field. I am an IT professional working in healthcare as an Information Analyst. My role as an Information Analyst entails the analysis, validation, submitting, auditing and reporting of healthcare data for statutory and ad-hoc returns to support business decisions using SQL, VBA, GIS and a range of bespoke software.
3). Throw more light on specific key services your company offer?
As a B2B platform, corporate organisations utilise MyMedicalBank to provide healthcare services to consumers and as a B2C platform, consumers are able to access a range of healthcare services on demand.
The MyMedicalBank platform comprises integrated cloud-based digital solutions some of which represent the first of their kind in Nigeria namely:
• HomeCare reputed to be Nigeria’s first digital platform for booking verified health workers for home care.
• Telemedicine for virtual medical consultations via chat, audio call or video call.
• Clinic Visit for booking hospital appointments and medical tests.
• EMR/PHR, a hybrid of Electronic Medical Record and Personal Health Record.
• Health Market, Nigeria’s first online one-stop marketplace for book a variety of healthcare services.
• Health Jobs, Nigeria’s first job portal designed solely for recruitment into healthcare sector across all disciplines.
• Community for virtual medical consultation and psychosocial support.
• Resources for promoting quality health information.
• Training for facilitating the delivery of capacity building among health workers.
• Directory is a searchable database of health facilities in Nigeria all geo-referenced.
4) Why did you decide to start your company and let us into How and When did you get the idea for your brand.
The idea to start MyMedicalBank came in 2015 when I visited my mum during her period of illness. My siblings and I got a doctor to care for her. In the course of the consultation, the doctor asked several questions in an attempt to establish her medical history. Unfortunately, my mum at that instance could no longer talk and my family members around her didn’t have answers to most of those questions either. There and then I thought it would be a good idea if there was a digital platform the doctor could log in to at that instance to access mum’s health information. This was where the MyMedicalBank idea came from.
Few years ago, I noticed while Nigeria has experienced significant progress in the deployment of ICT to various sectors like banking, commerce and education, the same could not be said of the critical health sector. The desire to bridge this gap was an additional motivation for starting MyMedicalBank.
5) I think your start-up is a promising one, but do people care, value, appreciate its importance…. What makes you standout from other EMR companies in the country already and do you think clients are willing to pay for it?
Yes we have started operations. We launched MyMedicalBank in June 2018 and so far, we’ve been growing exponentially. We are different from other EMR and health tech companies in many respect.
We are currently the only health tech company in Nigeria offering a platform that supports out-of-hospital care. Most EMR solutions in the market are designed to support hospital management operations and tend to be useful only when patients walk in through the hospital door. Most are not cloud-based and can only be accessed in the hospital they are installed in.
MyMedicalBank goes beyond that in that it supports out-of-hospital operations and not only for hospitals but also for other healthcare providers such as medical laboratories, pharmacies and care organisations.
MyMedicalBank is the first and currently the only one-stop online marketplace for healthcare services in Nigeria.
The platform supports the delivery of healthcare services in domestic care in ways no other platform do currently. As the platform with the largest variety of healthcare professionals in the country, MyMedicalBank is able to support any healthcare provider deliver healthcare services in any location throughout the country.
MyMedicalBank is the largest integrated multi-purpose healthcare platform in Nigeria enabling customers access a wide variety of health services easily at the click of a button.
6). As an online company, what particular demographics patronize your services.
Our customers cut across various demographics. However we have seen a strong interest from Nigerians in the diaspora particularly those who have families in Nigeria. Also patronising our services are middle class citizens and professionals. Some of which are busy professionals, the elderly, the home-bound, patients with chronic and long-term conditions like hypertension, stroke and diabetes and those undergoing rehabilitation. We have also had engagements from individuals with health issues that do require hospitalisation as well as from expectant and new mothers.
7). By percentage, are Nigerian anywhere near 50% of your clientele
Absolutely yes. Since our services are primarily focused on Nigeria for now, more than 90% of our customers are Nigerians. We have engagements with healthcare providers and consumers in 25 states of Nigeria and the FCT as well as from countries like Czechs republic, Germany, Australia, U.K and U.S among others.
7a) Practically speaking, do you think the tech health sector in Nigeria is matured enough for the kind of solutions like yours coming into the market?
I will even add that the market is over ripe for these services! If anything, the Covid-19 pandemic is driving significant changes among healthcare consumers and accentuating the need for healthcare providers to embrace digital transformation in their service delivery. From our findings and experience, Covid-19 pandemic has triggered four major changes among healthcare consumers in Nigeria namely:
• Increased demand for out-of-hospital care
• Increased demand for telemedicine
• Increased desire to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure
• Increased demand for skilled health workers
At MyMedicalBank, we are supporting healthcare providers technologically to respond positively to these changes.
8) What challenges do you face.. What particular challenges stare at you as you offer your services, Personally and Business wise in Nigeria?
Infrastructure. Since we started operations in 2018, we have had to switch to our third internet provider as we had several connectivity issues. As an online company, we cannot afford to not access the internet not even for an hour.
Poor regulations is another issue. For instance when we moved to our current office, we were unaware that the former tenant had left a huge unpaid electricity bill. Rather than chase the tenant, the Electricity Company till date has been demanding the payments for that bill from us. I find it absurd and efforts to get it the relevant authorities to resolve this have not been successful.
Getting the publicity the business needs has been a challenge. This of course could be resolved with funding. This accounts for why we are currently intensifying efforts to secure seed funding and grants – gain publicity and scale up our operations.
9) As a company with core values, what is your advise to young people who are expected to finish med school, even though they would rather explore other areas
The world is changing. I will advise graduates from medical schools and other faculties to be open minded and continuously develop themselves to be able to utilise these opportunities rather than just focusing on the challenges they will be encountering. I will also advise they should not believe the fad there is a shortcut to riches and success. These things take time and depend on the old tested values of honesty, integrity, hard work and persistence.
10). I believe you know that the niche in which you operate is a very competitive one… How do you hope to stand out and what innovations are you bringing to the table to keep you relevant in this space?
While it may appear that the health tech is a competitive field, I am of the opinion the sector is yet to be fully explored. There are an estimated 180 million people in Nigeria, how many have access to quality and affordable healthcare? With the ongoing massive brain drain of medical doctors and other healthcare professionals, how do we leverage on leverage on ICT to reverse this trend and to support those left behind to deliver healthcare to the populace? The point is as far as the health tech industry in Nigeria is concerned, we have barely scratched the surface.
That said, our product offerings are strategically designed to position us as industry leaders. Our greatest weapons entail constantly listening to what the customers want and tailoring our innovations to meet market demands.
11) In what ways have being an entrepreneur and solution provider changed you?
Starting MyMedicalBank has made me appreciate the scale of both the challenges and opportunities that abound in the Nigerian health ecosystem. Being active on the field, listening to nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, hospital owners, patients and families affected by the inherent deficiencies in the health sector has been a great eye opener deepening my resolve to apply my skills and talents to make a difference in the landscape. Being an entrepreneur has helped developed further in me leadership and management skills in managing people and in bringing innovations from ideas to products.
12) Where do you see you brand in the next five years?
In the next 5 years, I see MyMedicalBank becoming a household name not for any inanity but as a transformational tool for healthcare delivery in Nigeria. This vision is rightly encapsulated in our motto: Think Health, Think MyMedicalBank. Beyond revolutionising healthcare delivery in the country, our sights are set on expanding the MyMedicalBank’s frontier to other African nations.
13) What does your normal working day look like?
Unsurprisingly, starting and running a company is quite demanding. This has been my experience too. Frankly I tend to work round the clock. In my observation, a CEO’s job is a 24/7 job. You just have to work all the time physically or mentally if not both. The reason is simple: ultimately you take responsibility for the organisation’s performance. You really have no one to blame for lapses.
To avoid burnout of course I try as much as possible to maintain a work-life balance especially as I have 2 young kids who left to them do not mind me spending the whole day doing nothing than playing with them.
To help reduce work stress, I tend to always have a Bluetooth speaker or radio with me playing music non-stop when working. Often times in the evening I am watching movies while also tapping away on my laptop. But all in joy, I enjoy what I am doing so I don’t necessary see it as ‘hardwork’ but as ‘funwork’.