By Samuel Ouma
Dr. Imodoye Abioro, 27, is the CEO of Healthbotics Limited in Nigeria, whose aim is to solve challenges surrounding healthcare access not only in the West African country, but also in the entire continent. Apart from being an innovator and entrepreneur, he is also IBM Cloud software developer.
Formed in 2015, Healthbotics aim to increase the efficiency of health workers in providing high-quality care and to help health authorities track disease outbreaks more quickly, even in areas where the internet has yet to reach using Mediverse.
Mediverse is an electronic medical records system that allows health care providers to enter and retrieve patient records using only their voice, on any device, with or without internet access.
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and Speak Up Africa in September 2021 recognized him as one of three winners of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award. Dr. Abioro and his team were also one of the semi-finalists at the recent 2021 Nigerian Drone Business Competition. They were also a top 30 finalist in the WHO Africa Innovation Challenge, and the only two-time semifinalist in the CISCO Global Problem Solver Challenge’s history.
Dr. Abioro shared with the Pan African Visions his journey since 2015.
Could you start by giving us some background information on Healthbotics and the services it offers?
Healthbotics Limited is an innovative health technology startup focused on building AI-driven health solutions for the African market. I co-founded Healthbotics 2 years ago after I lost my best friend to a medical emergency. I was the Doctor-on-call, and he bled to death in the Emergency Room where I was working, that loss almost broke me and so I was motivated to do something about some of these perennial problems facing our hospitals and care delivery system. We have two flagship products:
Lend an Arm: a mobile application that connects hospitals with patients in need of a blood transfusion to blood banks, using Geolocation algorithms, coupled with a logistics service that picks up the blood from the bank and delivers to the patient’s bedside.
Mediverse: An AI-enabled Electronic Health Records software backed by the blockchain. Mediverse allows doctors/nurses to record patient health information with just their voice, eliminating the endless need for writing and typing. Significantly easing the workload on our health workforce.
What impact would you say Healthbotics is having on the healthcare sector in Nigeria?
We are pioneering the use of cutting-edge technology to put the interest of the health worker first. Many times systems are built to improve care in Africa, and the people who actually deliver this care, are thought of last. At healthbotics we are reversing that trend, showing what is possible if we co-create with frontline agents in healthcare delivering themselves. For example, with Mediverse, medical speech-to-text is now available and no longer a thing for only advanced health systems, we are also working to maximize alternative revenue collection for hospitals, allowing all types of patients to pay for health however they store their money. With MediversePay, hospitals can collect revenue in Cash, Card, Mobile Money, bank transfer and even cryptocurrency.
How affordable is it to use your services and any plans for expansion to other parts of the continent?
Our services are incredibly affordable, right now, Mediverse is FREE, and we plan to keep it that way, with hospitals able to purchase paid add-ons (like MediversePay) on a pay-as-you-use basis, or not. Whatever they choose to do however MEDIVERSE WILL ALWAYS BE FREE.
We have plans in place to expand into 3 other African countries in 2022 (South Africa, Ghana and Republic of Benin), and our market penetration activities are already well underway in those markets.
Your achievements have earned you a number of international awards and recognitions. Would you mind sharing some of these with us?
Well, yes, we are truly grateful for the strides and recognitions, it is a testament to how much belief the ecosystem has placed in us and our vision, in the last year we have won some of the following awards
Princess Diana Legacy Award (UK)
American Society for Mechanical Engineers Impact.Engineered Changemakers Award (USA)
African App Launchpad Cup Winners (Egypt)
Wharton Business School New Ventures Challenge winners (USA)
African Young Innovators for Health Award winners
Nigerian Drone Business Competition Winners
US Chamber of Commerce Digital Entrepreneur of the Year Award
International Telecommunications Union, AI for Development Prize
You will be taking part at the Galien Africa Forum, what is your take on the Forum broadly speaking and what expectations do you have from the 2021 edition?
It is a thing of honor to be invited to be a part of the Nobel Prize for pharmaceutical innovation. The Galien Africa Forum is a hugely impactful forum that has seen us mobilise as a continent towards achieving our health security. At this year’s Forum I look forward to partaking in discussions concerning creating a healthy ecosystem that invests in and nurtures innovative African entrepreneurs to take the next step.
You will be part of a panel on The Young Innovators Award for Health, what message will you be putting across? Using your experience at Healthbotics, what is it you are doing to address issues around youth in health innovation more broadly, what recommendations do you have for Nigeria and Africa to improve on that as well?
I am a HUGE proponent of investing in young people innovating in healthcare. At Healthbotics we run a hugely successful internship program that equips young Nigerian software developers with an interest in entrepreneurship with training, funding, and business experience. They join our team for 4 months, and we give them a co-working space to build out their innovation, at the end they present their MVP at our Demo day and we support them with a $500 equity-free grant to Launch, we have already spun off one successful startup from our program (moneyly.co), you can check them out!
How important do you see the STEM equation in the development dynamics across Africa?
STEM is CRITICAL to the future of our continent. Let me tell you an interesting statistic – by the end of 2022, Technology alone will have generated 133 million new jobs worldwide. This is just to show you the sheer scale of transformation technology is capable of facilitating. All the countries who have made the slow and steady transition towards improved economic indices have invested heavily in STEM education – India, Singapore are perhaps two very good examples – today indian CEOs are the toast of silicon valley, that’s the result of a deliberate national policy geared towards centering STEM education, we must copy that.
What next for you and for Healthbotics after this year’s Galien Africa Forum, and what should we expect from you and your team in the near future?
We are serial innovators, and after this year’s forum we are going back to the board, to talk with our customers and other stakeholders to keep innovating for healthcare. We are going to be putting in more work to grow the reach of Mediverse, and to further run with MediversePay, helping hospitals collect revenue, and manage their finances maximally, to sustainably grow.