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How Telehealth Makes Good Business Sense

2020 is the kind of year that CIO east Africa CEO Laura Chite quotes entrepreneurial genius Jack Ma as saying, "If you just break even,...

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How Telehealth Makes Good Business Sense
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2020 is the kind of year that CIO east Africa CEO Laura Chite quotes entrepreneurial genius Jack Ma as saying, “If you just break even, that is good enough for you.” A lot has changed. Sentiments about these “unprecedented times” have become de rigueur. But in as much as we are all wary of COVID-19, we are not exactly traipsing to hospital in droves either. Instead, the brick and mortar hospitals have seen a reduction in traffic mainly due to fear for our health. In turn, this has driven patients online where doctors now gather to treat ailments. If only our government had been astute enough to have invested at least some of that delightful COVID-19 money into telehealth to avoid clear and present danger.

39-year-old PC accessories manufacturers, however, are no slouches. Their business model os agile, designed to roll with the punches, surprisingly including this most unhinged, unpredictable one. Morgan Mierke, Head of Logitech, WECA, a company whose first-ever webcam was designed in 1998, has a way of connecting people through computers. In their CIO East Africa webinar titled Leveraging Technology To Thrive Businesses, they talk about Logitech and telehealth and how they facilitate it in the era of a worldwide pandemic.

Designed around the PC with a DNA around mobility, Logitech is large enough to be global, but small enough to be quick bringing new products to market. In the past six to seven months, their products have become very relevant to working from home. Listed on the Swiss and US stock exchange, their products are all made in China for quality and control. Their sales are worth $2.98 billion in the financial year 2020.

Keyboards, speakers, webcams, headsets, wireless mouse – gaming (as e-sports grows massively) and video conferencing (thank you Zoom), the latter two blowing up to include smart remotes and cameras owing to the billions of us grounded at home needing edutainment and communication – leading right to cloud applications to keep relevant; Logitech has grown through different market segments. Their secret is open. They remain incredibly adaptable to consumer needs. Their R&D department will not rest. Not until they

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It has earned them a stunning 110+ awards over the past couple of years with 40+ in 2019. “Not to be being blasé, we do bring quality products to market. That does not mean they have to be expensive across the board. Even cheaper products are designed and manufactured with the same intent,” breaks down the Head of Logitech.

They take pride in innovation that does not cause wrist tendonitis or tennis elbow thanks to working all day. Morgan is modest, however, declaring that “There are a few companies you would expect to win awards. You wouldn’t expect boring PC accessories to feature in anything innovative.”

Logitech has a team across 28 countries which Sugan Ganasen, Head of Enterprise and Video Collaboration, WECA, works with. “I am in commodity engineering, technologist by heart, and if it involves something clever, I am interested.” His curiosity oscillated to healthcare, a trillion-dollar business. Now that we must be safe and not just play at it, we find ourselves in a situation where the world has entirely changed with distance as the new currency.

Any healthcare organisation right now needs to be able to receive and share information. The same said healthcare has upon it inflicted Baby Boomers who will in 10 years be well into their 60s+ which is anticipated as causing a significant strain on the health care system. Not only that. The Association of American Colleges have put together a study that shows how by 2032, the US will be 120,000 physicians short of where they needed to be.

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Topping that is restricted movement, a growing population, technology, smartphones and demanding consumers. The latter comes equipped with higher expectations that they are very willing and quick to communicate—existing in a world where the healthcare system needs to embrace the new consumer’s way of thinking. A form of thinking bracketed in something trendy. Chronic diseases such as diabetes that make one particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and cancer cases are on the rise. The global pandemic is, meanwhile, inflicting undue stress on healthcare budgets.

When telehealth first started, it was expensive and even prohibited. This has since changed. Economies of scale have driven the cost of services down. Broadband is making access more significant. 8 out of 10 people have a reliable internet connection. In Africa, we are privy to expanding connectivity. It means as you huddle on your sofa with a fever, you can access a private healthcare facility, no anxieties about traffic or the waiting room, and no life or death threat about taking your sick body to a hospital to get treatment. There is less stress because you can access this from the comfort of your own home. Reaching more people virtually expands the reach of most providers, which in turn reduces the cost of treatment. And who does not yearn for more affordable quality healthcare?

Telehealth is tied into video conferencing. Patient care is safe, quick and convenient, physically reducing the size of a doctor’s practice by offering virtual services. Administration allows you to communicate internally, reaching more patients faster promptly. An even more blessed advantage is doctors have knowledge imparted as soon as it evolves. Sharing information to and with healthcare providers in areas that are not so easy to reach also keeps them safe and always informed. Should the WHO come up with new developments or research, they keep abreast. Finally, this improves preparedness and responses. Being able to interact online means stressed individuals can get the necessary help and right advice to take care of themselves.

Logitech provides for all this by making life easier for people who use technology with devices needed for core functions. They will provide support, seamless integration and drive adoption. They integrate with whatever platform you are using, which in turn makes them bespoke. It speaks to the healthcare environment as well. It is after all good business to consider the end client, the enterprise customer and their budget. “We work with other vendors and ecosystem providers, making sure you can function within any technology you have chosen as a strategy for your business,” he says.

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Just in case you watch our video, “You may see something here today, but we may not see an application that suits your business. But, I encourage you to please reach out to us and talk about your specific need and applications. We are talking to the judiciary systems and IT personnel where we are installing snd looking to applying video conferencing to courtrooms. And I think that is a fascinating case where witnesses do not need to be in the country. They can be anywhere and just need to log in to this meeting room.”

For a more in-depth glimpse into this conversation, to learn more about their technology and get in touch with Logitech, listen in on our Big Marker page. 

Do you have a story that you think would interest our readers? write to us editorial@cio.co.ke

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