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Why I Started an EHR Company

Note – This post is by Henry Mascot, Founder of Curacel Health, A Nigerian EHR company. It first appeared on Curacel Health’s medium page.  

As founders often times we get the question, “Why did you start your company?”

I have always been passionate about productivity, looking for more efficient ways of getting stuff done. As a matter of fact, I’m a freak of tools, always looking to see if there’s any way to squeeze out some more productivity from the way I work.

Being so passionate about helping people get better at what they do and empowering them to become better versions of themselves with technology. This has led us to make something we deeply care about.

I care deeply about productivity.

It starts with my love for technology. Its ability to expand human potential stirs my imagination.

I started using my first computer when I was eleven and I had access to the internet in the very early stages of internet connectivity in Nigeria. It was so amazing, I so connected with it that since that point I have never looked back. I had found my calling.

Of course, almost all kids in this generation have access to a device and internet connectivity, 15 years ago it wasn’t so.

I applied to study Computer Science and Engineering at the university, but that didn’t happen. I ended up studying Metallurgical and Material Engineering but I was too passionate about Computer Science that I still picked up programming while in school and became an OK programmer. In my 4th year, I interned at an Oil company then and can remember becoming the IT guy in the Flowstation and GGF. Everybody was just coming to me to help them fix up a software or something.

The following year I won a million naira from MTN developer challenge, with an educational app collaborated with my first co-founder on. Onpoint, a productivity app for students in all tertiary institutions in Nigeria. That was the defining moment for me. At that point, I knew that I was called to build systems for people to get better at what they do.

Something was just magical about people using technology to get stuff done better.

Following then, I have been on a journey with my co-founders from building ed-tech solutions to running a tech hub in Enugu, Nigeria to running a consultancy. It has been amazing to work with friends to build awesome tools that help people.

We have seen how technology has disrupted the every single thing from how we communicate to how we travel to how we buy things. Every single industry has been changed and is being changed by software.

Our world has been radically transformed by digital technology — smartphones, tablets, and web-enabled devices have transformed our daily lives and the way we communicate.

When it comes to implementing new technology, the healthcare industry lags behind every other industry. It is a well-known fact that the industry appears to resist change, even when those changes stand to significantly benefit patients.

In an age of Smartphones, tablets, and the Internet of Things, archaic means of managing information still exist.

In some cases, the new technology now being introduced by healthcare providers was first introduced in other industry sectors many years ago. There are very good reasons why the pace of change is so much slower in the healthcare industry rather than, say, the financial sector or manufacturing industry.

“If your software fails and brings down a system in a bank, people may lose money. If the same happens in a hospital, people may die”. Healthcare is conservative, but it is conservative for a reason: lives literally depend on it. Every new piece of technology needs to be bulletproof.

From my experience as a software consultant, and having worked with some health providers I knew that the current methods of storing medical and financial records were just outdated. These records could be lost in transit or could be damaged in storage, worse still they aren’t shareable in a world where there are different stakeholders in providing care to a patient.

There is a better way. EHR’s

Medicine is an information-rich enterprise. A greater and more seamless flow of information within a digital health care infrastructure, created by electronic health records (EHRs), encompasses and leverages digital progress and can transform the way care is delivered and compensated. With EHRs, information is available whenever and wherever it is needed.

It’s estimated that 30% of all existing global data is healthcare related

Most health providers in developed countries are using these systems because of its numerous benefits.

Guess what less than 15% of health facilities in Nigeria use EHRs.

So what can we do about it?

I and my co-founders wondered, why weren’t these systems mainstream. We got to work and interview almost 100 health care workers.

And we found out. Existing systems were…

They required so much training that they don’t become sticky enough for adoption.

They were so expensive, as they were premium products from software agencies or because they are often imported from more developed countries.

They weren’t built in such a way that it supported the users to navigate the local problems we have in Nigeria. So something that is deployed only on the cloud can’t be accessed without internet.

A solution to their problem would be a system, that is not so hard to onboard. With hands on support in migrating their already existing records. The right solutions have to be affordable, and locally built and customizable to the way they work

A system that didn’t require them to start breaking the bank to implement.

If it sits only offline in a server at the clinic/hospital then, the information can’t be accessed remotely or even on mobile.

And in a country where electricity is still unstable, mobile is the answer.

That’s what our company, Curacel Health, is.

We are making an African clinical decision support EHR, aimed at enabling better health outcomes.

Curacel Health, the company, is being built primarily on empowering — being fully committed to helping our user’s in becoming extremely good at what they do. innovation is also core to our DNA… We espouse an optimistic view of the future and technology’s role in it. And lastly, we embrace love as a core tenant, in that we are rooted in an authentic care for our Users, driving us to craft the best experience we can for them.

Here’s to the future! #smartPractice

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