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EMR to ease healthcare system in Africa

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By Mercy Kelani

Clinify aims to digitalize and centralize medical records in African countries.

Michael Omidele, founder and CEO of Clinify, launched the organization after losing a close family member due to a mix-up of medical records. Having previously worked in Canada for IBM and Alberta Health Services (AHS) in health tech. Omidele established Calgary-based Clinify in 2020 for digitization and centralization of medical records in the health care system of African countries, and improvement of patient outcomes. He asserted that the solution provided by Clinify is one that should have been in existence in Africa by now.

Clinify started implementing its Electronic Medical Record (EMR) platform in Africa, beginning with Nigeria. This was made possible with the $2 million CAD ($1.5 million USD) received as seed funding from Thin Air Labs, HaloHealth, and Calgary doctors. Since Clinify’s EMR implementation, there have been deployment of its tech with about 10 medical Insurance groups, 12,000 patients and 130 Healthcare Providers. In an interview, Omidele affirmed that Clinify is bigger than him and should have been functioning for a long time.

Poor health information affects healthcare systems in developing countries.

The aim of Clinify is to “digitally centralize health records” and ensure more accessibility of healthcare services in the continent. Clinify’s platform looks forward to be a “one-stop-shop” that networks several Healthcare Industry players and enables facilitation of a number of services such as EMRs, Telehealth, billing and insurance. Research has it that the major challenges confronting healthcare systems in most developing countries is poor health information. It was indicated that this is rampant in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria.

Adoption of EMR is poor in Nigeria as many health records are paper-based. Omidele, being a Nigerian, has decided to place initial concentration on Nigeria. Calgary’s Thin Air Labs, through its first fund led Clinify’s equity seed round. Two-third of the $2 million estimation was received from Thin Air Labs while the rest was provided by Toronto-based physician angel group, HaloHealth and others. With the round, Clinify had a total of $10 million CAD ($7.5 million USD).

Adoption & usage of EMR in developing countries is uncommon.

In 2010, Omidele became a resident of Calgary after his father migrated his family to Canada from Nigeria. During his stay, he earned a degree in computer networking engineering from DeVry University and secured a job with Dell as an Information Technology (IT) specialist during his studies. In 2012, Clinify’s CEO became an IT consultant with IBM, assisting in fronting the setup of networking for Calgary’s latest hospital, South Health Campus. After this, he worked with AHS as a provincial integration lead. While working with AHS, he assisted in implementing Epic’s electronic health record into Alberta’s healthcare system.

Since many years back until now, EMR’s movement in Africa has been driven by the need to create response to infectious diseases. However, a paper published in 2017 in the International Journal of Health Sciences, states that in terms of adoption of EMR, sub-Saharan Africa lags behind other regions. Also, a paper published in Frontiers in Digital Health discovered that “Adoption and usage of EMR in developing countries is uncommon and non-existent in many cases”, with emphasis on Nigeria’s slow transition towards them.

Clinify looks forward to geographical expansion & product development.

Additionally, while developed countries have employed EMR platforms for decades, many African systems still depend on outdated practices. Clinify’s platform is designated to attend to the need of the local market, while considering its current constrains and practices. Prior to the official launch of Clinify, Omidele spent two years building it. Ever since its launch, its presence has been expanded through partnerships with some of the largest medical insurance groups in Nigeria. Clinify is diverting its seed’s capital into geographical expansion and product development.


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