In so-called “low resource” areas of the world, flexibility often is the key to sustainability. That’s why we noticed a recent deal between health insurer Sanlam Healthcare Management and systems integrator GlobeTOM, both of South Africa, to provide a billing platform for a new line of mobile healthcare services.
GlobeTOM will offer pre- and post-paid options and the capability to track transactions from multiple service providers over differing telecommunications networks through a package known as convergent billing. “Without a secure pre- and post-paid convergent billing gateway, third-party service providers will find the revenue assurance aspect of the mobile market quite complex and challenging,” GlobeTOM Managing Director Philip Stander said in a story that appeared on the site of the Africa Com telecommunications conference series.
“Convergent billing and revenue assurance in this sense, is as important to third party service providers and mobile networks as a watertight tax collection process is to a government,” Stander added.
Back in January, Sanlam entered into an agreement with MTN Group, a telecommunications company serving 21 African countries, to deliver various health-related services to mobile phones. These programs include MTN Care Connect, a 24-hour hotline that connects the general public to health information delivered by nurses. Users pay by the minute, and the GlobeTOM technology will allow for proper charges, whether the caller has a prepaid phone account or receives a monthly bill.
Late last year, Sanlam entered into an agreement with two healthcare information providers to deliver EHR, diagnostic and health insurance services to MTN subscribers. Both MTN and Sanlam have promised additional m-health applications, including for the collection of clinical and public-health data from remote, underserved locations and real-time monitoring of patient vital signs.
More news was to have been forthcoming earlier this year, but it seems as if this GlobeTOM deal might fill in a missing piece, namely the revenue element.