Bisa means “ask” in the Ghanaian Twi language. It is a mobile application that allows users with an Android ,iphone or Windows phone to directly interact with medical practitioners without being physically present at the hospital. This is an advantage to people who need medical care and advice but are not able to visit the hospital for various reasons like poverty , long queues at the hospital , the fear of stigmatization, especially for people who have symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) makes them embarrassed to seek the needed treatment. As a result of these reasons and others, there is a gap in the healthcare system where some people are not able to easily seek medical help when needed. However, healthcare is a basic amenity which everyone should be able to access and Bisa seeks to address this disparity in access to healthcare.
Users can download the Bisa health application onto their smartphones and this allows them to send health related questions to doctors. Users can also send images of the areas they are concerned about as well as audio & video messages to our doctors. Questions are answered between 2 hours to 24 hours. The mobile application does not only address the problem of access to medical attention from qualified doctors, but also helps in the prevention and spread of diseases by providing up-to-date healthcare information on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of common diseases. The application also has a database of frequently asked health care questions available in the application and on the Bisa website.
For users without smart phones, there is a USSD shortcode and text message line that can be used to send queries to our doctors.
Bisa aims to be the pioneer of telemedicine in Africa on two major fronts; firstly in information dissemination with regards to disease prevention and control and secondly, in connecting patients to doctors through the use of technology. Over 11,000 people died during the ebola crisis of 2014 because of late detection and lack of information for the doctors to adequately deal with and control the spread of the disease.
Using the data gathered on the Bisa Health Application platform, whilst adhering to doctor – patient confidentiality, health experts will be able to detect outbreaks of diseases at an early stage and decision makers can also implement policies that will improve healthcare delivery to people and communities in Africa.