SA e-health start-up doubles its user base

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:

South African e-health start-up Vula Mobile more than doubled its user base in 2017 as it expanded its offering, while significantly increasing the number of patients it served. Disrupt Africa reports that launched in July 2014, Vula Mobile initially allowed health workers to capture basic patient information, take photographs, do a basic eye test and capture a brief medical history before sending it directly to a specialist.

Health workers can ask for advice over a dedicated messaging platform, and decide on the best course of care for the patient. Eyeing what it describes as the “huge potential” of the global m-health market, the start-up has expanded its offering into other areas of health over the last 18 months.

Vula Mobile saw significant growth in 2017, more than doubling the number of registered health workers to 3,600 from 1,775 one year ago. These users are widely distributed across South Africa.

The report says the start-up, which measures its impact in terms of patients helped per quarter, saw an increase of 250% in this regard last year, with 5,888 helped in the last quarter of 2017, up from 2,397 patients over the same period in 2016. It is already on course to assist more than 7,500 patients in the first quarter of 2018.

“Beyond the impact on individual patient care, Vula has been recognised as an experiential training tool. Primary health workers learn case-by-case how to manage conditions with specialist guidance. The University of Pretoria and the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s family medicine departments are using Vula to monitor and train their medical and clinical associate students remotely,” the start-up said.

Meanwhile, impact research from Stellenbosch Orthopaedics on the impact of Vula found that 33% of Vula referrals were managed by giving the referring doctor advice on how to manage the emergency at the primary health centre. This means that fewer patients needed to be transported to get specialist guided healthcare.

The report says Vula Mobile is now used for orthopaedic referrals at hospitals in Kimberley, Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg, East London, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.

Disrupt Africa report

Receive Medical Brief's free weekly e-newsletter



Related Posts

Thank you for subscribing to MedicalBrief


MedicalBrief is Africa’s premier medical news and research weekly newsletter. MedicalBrief is published every Thursday and delivered free of charge by email to over 33 000 health professionals.

Please consider completing the form below. The information you supply is optional and will only be used to compile a demographic profile of our subscribers. Your personal details will never be shared with a third party.


Thank you for taking the time to complete the form.