Transforming healthcare in SA

Through the transformative power of digital technology, EMGuidance is reshaping the landscape of healthcare in South Africa.

Not only is ground-breaking medical platform Essential Medical Guidance (EMGuidance) improving outcomes for patients across South Africa, it is also collecting data with the potential to revolutionise how businesses in the healthcare ecosystem – including pharmaceuticals, medical schemes and insurers – understand their market and deliver services.

EMGuidance, a Black-owned company included in the investment portfolio of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) Enterprise and Supplier Development initiative in December 2018, was created by two South African medical doctors to solve a major pain point in emergency medicine. Healthcare professionals on the frontline are expected to have an encyclopaedic knowledge specific to local healthcare practice standards that is always up to date. They must know what treatment plan is recommended and for whom, what drugs are licenced and available, which costs are covered by whom, the list goes on, and all of this while working under enormous pressure. 

Against this background, Dr Yaseen Khan and Dr Mohammed Dalwai created EMGuidance, the internet platform that brings together all the information needed to make critical triage decisions and keeps it updated in real-time.

The flagship platform of EMGuidance is the clinical support application that was developed and launched in 2016. It is the largest online clinical information, solutions and learning platform for healthcare professionals in South Africa, a one-stop shop that collates all relevant information and makes it easily accessible to healthcare professionals free of charge 24/7. 

“EMGuidance has become a default, standard tool for medical practitioners providing local standards and guidelines,” says Khan, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of EMGuidance.

While there are several large clinical platforms globally, Khan explains that none of them is suitable for use in the South African medical environment. “Medicines are funded differently in South Africa and, of course, the country has a specific population with its own spectrum of disease,” he says. 

EM Guidance has more than 80 000 healthcare professionals registered on the platform, including around 70% of practising doctors and 50% of pharmacists in the country. 

“We bring together clinical and medical information that medical professionals need every day, including medicines guidelines for the local context, an e-learning marketplace, reference areas and a smart prescribing solution. It has become an indispensable, in-practice bedside aid that is used by the majority of doctors and pharmacists around the country.”

Khan says there are currently around 15 000 interactions with members on the platform every day, a number that is growing fast. It is reasonable to imagine that each one of those interactions translates into a better decision for a patient, meaning faster and probably more cost-effective outcomes for hundreds of thousands of people, he adds.

EMGuidance’s service is free for healthcare workers who are registered with the various professional bodies in South Africa. A range of paid-for services – such as a marketplace for e-learning, dedicated areas for companies in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, diagnostic and medical training industries to advertise and educate members about new products, and a prescription software service – provides revenue. 

Universities and other course providers and even individual specialists provide certified educational courses through the education marketplace. The prescription tool – a fully digital, smart and safe experience – is being used by South Africa’s leading pharmacy chains, with more than 2 000 pharmacies now integrated, as well as some private hospitals, says Khan.

The digital prescription platform is one of only two solutions to fully meet the National Medicine Act Standards for digital security in e-prescribing.

With around 80 000 healthcare professionals as members and multiple parties across the healthcare ecosystem participating in some way, EMGuidance is building a treasure trove of data that is fostering a better understanding of the ecosystem and, ultimately, better servicing of clients.

“Data collection is a significant part of the roadmap going forward,” says Khan. “Behavioural and prescription data are becoming more and more valuable to several parties in the health ecosystem, including medical schemes and insurance companies. We are exploring ways to use that data to drive healthcare insights and improve patient outcomes.”  

Governance is key and compliance is crucial to the authority of EMGuidance’s comprehensive central depositary of medical intelligence. Khan says that guidance from the ASISA ESD initiative on governance has been critical. He says the experts from Edge Growth, the ASISA ESD implementing partner, have assisted in the creation and establishment of processes and systems, always important for any small business and absolutely game-changing for EMGuidance.

Winning team: EMGuidance co-founder and CEO Yaseen Khan, second from left, and CFO Tafadzwa Muguto, second from right, with Edge Growth’s Tiyon Evans, left, and Nomthetho Mothejoa, right, at the 2023 Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association Awards, where EMGuidance was shortlisted 




EMGuidance was shortlisted in the Start-Up/Venture Capital category for the 2023 Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association Awards, held in partnership with Investec in May 2024.

Being recognised in the annual awards for “portfolio companies that have thrived from private equity and venture capital investment” is testament to the calibre of companies that the ASISA ESD fund has invested in.

EM Guidance was one of just four shortlisted enterprises in the Start Up/Venture Capital category (along with Pineapple, another ASISA portfolio company), an illustration of the important role that ASISA ESD plays in fuelling the growth and success of innovative SMEs in South Africa.

This article was first published by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa. EMGuidance: Transforming healthcare in SA, one query at a time


Article also available on: Call off Research


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