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Fungai Ndemera

Founder and CEO, CheckUp Health

A new, NHS Digital-approved, multilingual one-stop hybrid care platform that allows its users to book video and online consultations, monitor personal health indicators, and much more right on their devices. 

Fungai Ndemera, Founder and CEO of CheckUp Health, is filled with personal motivation for improving patient access to primary healthcare. “My father and my father-in-law both died from undiagnosed diabetes. Knowing that an early diagnosis would have likely saved their lives makes me want to ensure that does not happen to other patients.”

Enhancing access to care

Her new digital health app, which is in the pilot stage is trying to improve equity of access to appointments, something she feels is lacking currently. “Take the introduction of the NHS app. It’s supposed to be for everyone, but it is only available to people who can read and write English; and to people who can type.” She believes she has filled that gap. “It is currently in six languages but by the end of the pilot we’d like it to be in 20 languages.”

Knowing that an early diagnosis would have likely saved their lives makes me want to ensure that does not happen to other patients.

Using AI to combat cultural insensitivities.

Ndemera believes that the app, in time, can use artificial intelligence to proactively support better solutions to cultural sensitivities. By, say, connecting Muslim women with female doctors who understand their culture, particularly on personal matters like gynaecology. “By getting rid of barriers, we can improve access to health support, and at the same time help to increase resilience in the system, by reducing appointment cancellations.”

Deep-rooted lack of trust

Research for the app’s pilot revealed some hard truths: “We did a pilot when black people were dying the most from Covid, compared to their white counterparts. Our aim was to support people who are diabetic and have hypertension to manage their health at home. We ended up having 500 patients sign up for the project. One of the key outcomes of that report was that people don’t trust the system. They don’t trust what the centre is communicating. Some of that is for historical reasons. But it also comes from the centre’s attitude that certain members of society are ‘hard to reach’. I really believe that by making digital technology accessible to all, health leaders will enable better accessibility to healthcare and improve health outcomes across society.”

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