Discovery and Vodacom now offer free online coronavirus screening and consultations to all South Africans

 ·1 Apr 2020

Discovery and Vodacom have launched a new platform which will make online coronavirus screening and consultations available to all South Africans.

The platform provides easy access for all South Africans to a Covid-19 risk tool and will allow you to immediately schedule healthcare professional consultations and get advice,the companies said.

“The Covid-19 risk assessment and virtual healthcare tools can help to identify people who need health professional engagement and a potential referral for testing or to hospital.

“This reduces overcrowding at clinics and doctors’ rooms where there is greater risk of the virus spreading, and also protects healthcare professionals from potential repeated exposure to Covid-19,” the companies said.

The groups said that the platform is simple, free to use and available on any web or mobile phone facilitating a full consultation with a doctor either through video or audio calls or by text.

The service can be accessed by visiting either the Discovery or Vodacom websites, and Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.

Through this partnership, Discovery said that its existing DrConnect platform, which was previously available only to Discovery clients, is now accessible to all South Africans.

Together, Vodacom and Discovery have also jointly created a fund to pay doctors for approximately 100,000 consultations, making them free to any South African.

“We are proud to be partnering with Vodacom on this important and powerful initiative – bringing free online doctor consultations to all South Africans who need it for Covid-19,” said Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore.

“Discovery has been built on a very simple but powerful core purpose: making people healthier. In the context of the covid-19 pandemic that purpose is very simple – we need to keep South Africans out of harm’s way. We are very hopeful that this initiative will make a huge impact on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa – for the good of all our citizens.”

How it works 

The new platform is dedicated to Covid-19-specific screening and consultations. All doctors are invited to download the Discovery HealthID and DrConnect apps from relevant app stores to join the virtual healthcare platform.

Doctors will receive guidance on how to consult and how to receive payment from the dedicated fund that Discovery and Vodacom have set up for these specific consultations.

Discovery said that there are seven steps to use an online doctor consultation:

  • Start the process by visiting Discovery’s information hub or Vodacom’s website. Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme can access the service through the Discovery app. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#;
  • Use  the Covid-19 self-screening risk assessment tool, by answering a few easy questions;
  • If you are confirmed at high risk of having Covid-19, a short registration and consent process on the DrConnect app will follow;
  • Book a virtual consultation with a doctor who is available to assess the need for Covid-19 testing;
  • If the doctor recommends testing, a photo of the completed pathology form will be sent to the patient by SMS, WhatsApp or email. The same process will apply to scripts for medicine;
  • Testing and collecting of medicine will be facilitated by the relevant essential healthcare service providers that patients have to visit;
  • Doctors will receive test results electronically and can then advise if the patient should schedule follow-up appointments to discuss results and next steps.

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