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National HealthCare Group and Clickatell rewrite medical cover in South Africa

08 August 2022
Read Time: 4 minutes

National HealthCare Group delivers affordable and reliable private, primary healthcare services in the South African healthcare industry where it has made its mark with a series of ground-breaking primary healthcare solutions introduced to the low-cost segment of the healthcare market. An extensive doctor network, well situated throughout South Africa, and a hands-on business philosophy has allowed the group to develop an intimate understanding of the needs of the low-cost market. National HealthCare is accredited as an Administrator and Managed Care Organization and provides a comprehensive range of healthcare services including provider network management, managed care and administration services to more than 140 000 beneficiaries. In recent years the company has experienced an evolution in its business model, in that it has matured from a primary care management model to a more sophisticated full risk transfer model.

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Company Size

51-200 employees

Location

Cape Town and Pretoria, South Africa

Products Used

Channel: WhatsApp

Products: Chat Flow

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Clickatell helps National HealthCare Group leverage the power and reach of WhatsApp to ensure more South Africans can access decent healthcare during the pandemic and beyond.

Background – A widening healthcare gap 

Around *71% of South Africans rely on the state-funded public healthcare system. The private sector, meanwhile, is funded from individual or company contributions and caters to just *27% of the population. However, there remains a big gap in the quality of care and many lower income individuals are paying for private healthcare out of pocket each month. Fortunately, there are companies who are actively trying to close the gap. 

The National HealthCare Group is a fully accredited healthcare administrator and managed care organisation in South Africa, focused on providing members in the low-income and emerging segments of the healthcare market with access to affordable services at the best possible cost. It provides members with an extensive network of more than 12 000 healthcare service providers and has developed an intimate understanding of the needs of the low-income market. National HealthCare has consistently grown lives under management to more than 50,000 beneficiaries by providing administration and managed care services. 

The Challenge – Data costs cut off millions from adequate care

Access to healthcare, particularly amongst the uninsured and lower income communities has always been limited. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, accessing medical care became particularly challenging. And, while telemedicine was available, it was largely available to higher-income groups who already had good medical cover. 

In addition to the lack of available telemedicine services, the cost of data in South Africa is prohibitively high, cutting off what few service options there were for the majority of the population. 

The National HealthCare Group saw an opportunity to address the country’s needs by making use of WhatsApp. The affordable chat platform was already prolifically used by the majority of South Africans across all demographics and regions, making it the perfect delivery mechanism for the company’s healthcare innovations.  

The Solution – Fast, reliable care in the hands of those who need it most

Just two months after South Africa went into a full Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, National HealthCare Group made news headlines when it offered its members a ground breaking online and interactive access to doctors and nurses via the WhatApp chat platform. 

National HealthCare Group decided to act, turning to Clickatell to help it design its MediClub ConnectTM service offering which ultimately led to the establishment of BeWell – an employer-funded healthcare solution which makes primary healthcare more affordable and accessible for businesses and their employees. This product is marketed in partnership with Standard Bank. 

The solution’s success lies in its reliability and simplicity. When a customer engages with the self-service bot on WhatsApp, a series of prompts will enable members to establish contact with a nurse who will assist them in identifying their healthcare concerns. Not only will they then be able to obtain immediate healthcare advice but where necessary a person, telephonic or video consultation will be arranged with a doctor. Following the consultation, doctors can either prescribe medication, which can be collected at one of the Group’s approved network pharmacies, or they can be referred to the nearest network doctor for a physical consultation.  

The self-service Chat Commerce offering from Clickatell was perfect for the job, giving members an affordable and effective way to connect with a health professional wherever they may be. By harnessing the power of technology that is already very familiar to the target market, Clickatell and National HealthCare Group ensured thousands of people could affordably and conveniently access basic medical assistance.   

The Result – Building a platform to future success

Working with Clickatell, the National HealthCare Group was able to significantly expand its footprint and ensure the fair distribution of healthcare services to all. 

Not only did the Clickatell partnership revolutionize the existing offering, but it also laid the foundation for new business partnerships which have significantly expanded the reach and customer base of the National HealthCare Group. 

Building on its success, the company has since gone on to forge partnerships with TymeBank as well as Standard Bank thereby bringing primary healthcare services within direct reach of many more individuals and businesses. 

Reviewing the impact of these partnerships, Dr. Reinder Nauta, executive chairman of National HealthCare Group, speaks about how working with Clickatell benefitted his company as well as hundreds of thousands of South Africans. 

Clickatell

Few things can make more of a difference to a person’s comfort and quality of life than having the freedom to easily consult a healthcare professional when needed. Through the partnership with Clickatell and its digital solutions, the National HealthCare Group was able to rewrite the history of medical cover in South Africa, providing affordable healthcare access to many more healthcare consumers.

Dr. Reinder Nauta, National HealthCare Group, Executive Chairman

About Clickatell

Clickatell is the global Chat Commerce leader powering businesses to connect, interact, and transact with consumers anytime, anywhere in chat. The low / no-code, feature-rich Chat Commerce Platform sits at the intersection of communications (CPaaS, CCaaS) and commerce (digital payments). Clickatell serves over 10,000 customers, many of which are Fortune 500 companies and leading global brands activating their own digital commerce transformations. 

*https://www.wits.ac.za/news/latest-news/opinion/2021/2021-07/healthcare-in-south-africa-how-inequity-is-contributing-to-inefficiency.html

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