Medixus is a mobile and web-based platform that connects healthcare professionals offering a secure, confidential place to discuss patient cases, while broadening their peer-to-peer support network.
After studying Natural Sciences: Organic Chemistry & Biomedical Science at University College London and an MSc in Biomed, focused on cardiology research, Nicole Kayode felt the need to create meaningful impact in the medical world especially after losing a loved on what she cited as inadequate treatment as result of under support; a factor that was synonymous within the Africa healthcare sector.
The 2-year-old startup has already rolled out its app on multiple platforms providing a platform for virtual mentors making peer-to-peer discussions accessible for all.
Combining her passion for healthcare with her love of entrepreneurship, she is in a mission to improve the healthcare systems in the continent with a reliable and confidential network for doctors and nurses who are able to connect and collaborate, removing barriers to quality patient care while driving global improvements to medical treatment.
Founder360° sat down with Nicole Kayode on her mission to improve the knowledge capital base of doctors in Africa using technology.
Tell us about your background and a little more about your team.
My background was in medical research, having studied Natural Sciences (Organic Chemistry and Biomedical Science) to Masters Level. I then moved into the world of tech startups working in a variety of strategy and innovation related roles.
Our team has a great set of experience and a broad background between us: Rita Mantler is our Chief Technology Officer and co-founder with over 10 years’ experience of coding and running a successful business, Jean Kyula is our Business Development Lead and a qualified medical doctor with a background in Public Health and organizational best practice and Jackie Chirchir heads up our marketing efforts, with many years experience of Public Relations and Marketing in Kenya.
What inspired the idea for Medixus and particularly the focus in Africa?
Medixus is a mobile and web-based application for healthcare workers across the African continent to collaborate on challenging patient cases. The idea is that through knowledge sharing and community, we can empower healthcare workers to make better clinical decisions, provide peer support and ultimately improve patient care.
I had the idea for Medixus a few years ago after experiencing a case of someone close to me getting inadequate treatment because their doctor was overworked and undersupported. I also noticed the pervasive lack of patient trust in our own health care systems, because of incidents like this. I realized this story was all too common amongst my family and friends from all over Africa, and communication was a way to address this.
The idea was born, that every doctor on the continent should be able to connect with another African doctor to collaborate on patient cases. They should no longer feel alone due to the current situation of understaffing, but instead, have a pan-African support network of peers to connect with. This will translate into real-time improvements in patient care and clinical outcomes, which we hope will save lives
Describe and/or enumerate the kind of impact Medixus is/or will have in the healthcare system in Kenya and Africa.
We know that we have a problem on the continent in terms of our doctor to patient ratio – which is two-pronged: not training enough doctors and not retaining the doctors we do have. Among other reasons, medics say that lack of professional support and mentorship is one of the reasons they leave the continent to seek pastures anew. We hope through creating this Pan-African medical community we can go some way to reducing this by ensuring that support and mentorship are available in real time, at the touch of a button.
We are also creating a sustainable portal for knowledge sharing – once I have learned that a particular symptom is a cause to investigate a certain condition, I will have that knowledge forever. This contributes to the ‘capacity building’ of our healthcare workers that we often hear banded around in discussions about healthcare in Africa, but in such a way that centres the individuality of each healthcare worker on the platform and their unique knowledge needs.
You are currently in an all-women team; was this on purpose? If so, why?
This wasn’t intentional, but a happy coincidence! Ironically, it just so happened that all the best people for the job so far have been these wonderful women. The team in the early days can make or break your venture, so it’s very important that you hire people, regardless of gender, who pull their weight, are genuinely bought into the company vision, use initiative and aren’t constrained by their exact job title. We’re fortunate enough to have assembled a small but mighty team (of women)!
What would you describe as your biggest achievement since launching Medixus and what milestones are you working towards?
I would say it has been getting the app live on multiple platforms, as well as seeing the engagement from users.
Our big milestones at the moment are solidifying partnerships with healthcare facilities or any organization that works with medics – we hope to work together with them to widen the reach of the platform. So if you work for such an organization, please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
What kind of advice would you give to potential entrepreneurs in Africa?
I would say it’s important to first validate your market – understand if there is a genuine need for your product before you invest too much blood, sweat and tears into it. Once you feel sure you’re on the right path (though you’ll definitely have a few twists and turns along the way), then find a way to build the minimum thing possible, as cheaply as possible – if like most of us, you are on a budget.
On the continent, the investment scene is growing but it’s still quite young, so actually, access to capital is one of the biggest reasons start-ups fail – not because the idea wasn’t valid. So think outside the box when it comes to financing: how can I spend as little as possible? How can I work around this? And perhaps how can I have another income stream to support this?
Finally, and most vitally – be resilient but take time to take care of yourself.
Image Credits: Medixus