9 Ways Hospitals and Other Health Facilities in Nigeria can Leverage Digital Technology to Overcome Challenges in The Health Sector

It is no longer news that health indicators in Nigeria are among the worst in the world. From acute brain drain of health professionals and government underfunding to overstretched infrastructure and disjointed health information system, the resultant effects of a broken system are all too evident.

Tons of analyses and publications have been produced reporting on the myriads of problems healthcare producers and consumers alike are daily confronted with. It is therefore not the intention of this article to regurgitate all of these challenges again. Rather the aim is to beam light on a critical area that has not garnered enough attention – leveraging digital technology to solve problems in the healthcare sector. The cost effectiveness and scalability of tech driven solutions offer immense potential to transform Nigerian healthcare system. Let’s consider a few.

1. Telemedicine: Expanding Access to Healthcare | Leverage Digital Technology to Overcome Challenges in The Health Sector

Telemedicine has emerged as a game-changer in Nigerian healthcare. In every sense, during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021, Nigeria experienced a surge in demand for Telemedicine with many indigenous tech players including the likes of MyMedicalBank, Tremendoc, Mobihealth and several others becoming more visible on the scene.

Hospitals and healthcare practitioners who historically were very reluctant to embrace digital technology started opening up to this innovation.

That positive should be encouraged and sustained. By investing relatively little amount of money in digital communication tools, healthcare providers can attract new patients, reach patients in remote areas thus reducing the burden of long journeys to healthcare facilities.

Not only that, a significant number of patients turning up for new or follow up outpatient appointments can in reality be attended to remotely. By so doing this reduces be long waiting times and stress levels often associated with waiting to see doctors in clinic.

Telemedicine also enables specialist consultations, making expertise more accessible. It is a cost-effective way to improve healthcare delivery.

Pharmacies like Drug IT Solutions are already offering telemedicine consultations to patients with doctors and pharmacists.

2. Electronic Medical Records (EHRs): Streamlining Patient Information | Leverage Digital Technology to Overcome Challenges in The Health Sector

While an increasing number of the over 50,000 health facilities in Nigeria are now digitizing their patient records and adopting Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS), Hospital Management Systems (HMS) and other platforms the existing gap remains huge.

Transitioning to EMRs in particular can significantly enhance patient care. With digital records, healthcare organizations can access a patient’s medical history instantly, reducing errors and improving diagnostic accuracy. EMRs also facilitate data sharing among providers, ensuring seamless care coordination.

3. Data Analytics for Informed Decision-Making | Leverage Digital Technology to Overcome Challenges in The Health Sector

Digital technology enables healthcare organisations to collect and analyze vast amounts of data. Healthcare organisations can adopt data visualization software such as Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, QlikSense, Oracle and even simpler tools as building Excel dashboards and utilizing Microsoft Access to interrogate their dataset.

Through data analytics, hospitals can identify disease trends, allocate resources efficiently, and enhance preventive care. Predictive analytics can help develop demand and capacity models for their outpatient and inpatient as well as forecasting disease outbreaks and plan accordingly.

4. Telehealth Training for Healthcare Workers | Leverage Digital Technology to Overcome Challenges in The Health Sector

A major reason why the adoption of digital technology has been very slow is not only due to the lack of infrastructure but also because of the low level of digital skills among health workers.

To maximize the benefits of digital technology, healthcare workers need training.

On a positive note, health regulatory bodies like the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMCN) and the Medical and Dental Council charged with regulating the training and practice of healthcare professionals are now including health informatics in the course curriculum for for Nigerian health workers, yet a lot more is still needed to be done to empower these professionals.

Telehealth and digital literacy programs can empower doctors, nurses, and administrative staff to use technology effectively. This investment in training pays off in improved patient care and operational efficiency.

With about 100 million Nigerians (including health workers) already having access to internet connectivity and regularly accessing the internet on a mobile device for instance to check their Facebook, do internet banking or sent messages on WhatsApp, in reality the task of upskilling health workers is not as daunting as it may first appear to be.

5. Mobile Health Apps for Patient Engagement | Leverage Digital Technology to Overcome Challenges in The Health Sector

Mobile health (mHealth) applications can engage patients in their own care. By giving patients access to their own records via mobile health apps, healthcare organisations can generate more revenue. By the same token, by allowing patients to communicate and share their health information for instance sending their vitals (Blood Pressure, Temperature, Pulse readings etc.) with their doctors through these mobile platforms, patients are more empowered and engaged in managing their own health.

MyMedicalBank Personal Health Record (PHR) app developed by a Nigerian company allows users to upload their health records including doctors’ letters test reports, images and vaccination records while also allowing them to set medication reminders, schedule appointments and share their health information with their doctors.

These apps can provide medication reminders, health tips, and even connect patients with healthcare providers for virtual consultations. They promote proactive health management and can reduce hospital readmissions.

6. Blockchain and Data Encryption for Data Security | Leverage Digital Technology to Overcome Challenges in The Health Sector

One of the biggest concerns healthcare organisations have about digital technology is airing data security. Health information is highly confidential and any player – consumer, provider or regulator will be justified in being concerned about any potential breach.

Indeed data security is paramount in healthcare. Blockchain technology, data encryption and adherence to data access protocols will go a long way to mitigate these concerns and ensure the privacy and security of patient data, reducing the risk of data breaches. It also enhances transparency in billing and insurance claims, reducing fraud.

7. IoT and Remote Patient Monitoring | Leverage Digital Technology to Overcome Challenges in The Health Sector

The Internet of Things (IoT) can revolutionize patient monitoring. For instance the National Health Service (NHS) introduced “virtual wards” in the UK to allow patients to receive care in the community without the need to be physically admitted to a hospital ward effectively speeding up recovery and freeing up bed spaces for patients that need them most.

In particular devices like wearable health trackers and remote sensors can collect real-time data, allowing healthcare providers to monitor patients remotely. This is especially valuable for chronic disease management.

Healthcare providers in Nigeria can adopt similar models but adapt them to their local context through leveraging digital technology.

8. Health Marketing and Publicity | Leverage Digital Technology to Overcome Challenges in The Health Sector

Cash flow and profit making are crucial to the survival and growth of many healthcare organisations particularly private ones. Therefore at the heart of many healthcare organizations’ operation is the need to generate appreciable sales on a continuous basis. By onboarding on health marketplaces like MyMedicalBank Health Market reputed to be Nigeria’s first online digital health marketplace, clinics, hospitals, HMOs, medical laboratories, diagnostic centres, care agencies, health logistics companies and other providers can become better positioned to gain more online visibility and reach new customers including those living far off from their immediate location.

9. Public Health Awareness | Leverage Digital Technology to Overcome Challenges in The Health Sector

This article will not be complete without mentioning the power of social media. Social media has gone beyond simply being a platform for entertainment. Businesses, politicians, educational institutions, religious institutions and others are are using it. What stops healthcare organisations in Nigeria from using it too? Absolutely nothing!

Digital technology can aid in public health campaigns. Social media and mobile apps can be used to disseminate health information, promote vaccination drives, and raise awareness about important health issues.


Digital technology holds immense potential for Nigerian healthcare organizations. By embracing telemedicine, EMRs, data analytics, and other digital solutions, healthcare providers can overcome longstanding challenges. These technologies enhance access to care, streamline operations, and improve patient outcomes. It’s essential that healthcare organizations, government agencies, and stakeholders work together to create a supportive environment for the adoption of digital health solutions, ultimately leading to a healthier and more resilient Nigerian healthcare system

Would you like to contribute to this discourse about how healthcare organisations can utilize digital technology to overcome challenges they face? Or do you have any question or comment about the article? Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

MyMedicalBank is Nigeria’s #1 health digital platform for accessing personal health records, booking appointment for medical tests, home care, telemedicine and accessing health insurance and other healthcare services from hospitals, clinics, medical laboratories, HMOs, care organizations and other providers. For enquiries, visit, email [email protected] or call +234 (0) 802 759 0165..

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