It takes a highly innovative approach combined with a passion for making a difference; to find the necessary and urgent solutions to providing access to high quality primary healthcare and disease management for millions of employed medically uninsured South Africans. Entrepreneur Chantal Du Chenne has the solution and her new company, mHealthCo, is about to make huge waves in this space.
LoA met with the inspirational Chantal Du Chenne to find out more about her decision to move from the corporate world to becoming an entrepreneur and turning her passion and energy into an exciting and high impact business.
What does your company do?
Our vision is to increase access to healthcare and disease management for the medically uninsured population - to touch lives across Africa through our technology.
Our primary product is a pre-paid mobile health voucher - accessible in real time via any cellular device – feature or smart phone.
Our product is designed to bridge the gap between the provisioning of medical services and access to health care and disease management for the employed medically uninsured- with a positive impact on business bottom line. This product enables predictable capped pre-funding ofonce off primary health care events.
Through our system, we can track and incentivise health participation and Chronic Disease management and the cashless payment component significantly reduces administration.
- Its a product for the medically uninsured
- It’s a product for organizations
- It’s a product for providers of primary health care and disease management as well as health funders and health implementers
It is our mission for every enterprise, organization and health funder to use and be affiliated with our product as well as for every primary health care medical service provider to be integrated with our pre-paid health and reward management platform.
We differentiate ourselves through our partnership with an extensive national network of private practitioners including GP’s, dentists and optometrists. The medical provider user interface is understatedly simple.
Speed of implementation, the ease of third party integration, expert co-created customised solutions, as well as fringe benefit tax and medical regulatory compliance set us apart.
Our team’s extensive knowledge and expertise in both the health management and reward space strongly position mHealthCo to offer consulting services:
- Health incentivization strategies
- Achieving the objectives of NHI
- Industry solutions to Health Care challenges
- Workable solutions for improved health in Africa
- Capability of our technology platform in enabling increased delivery of Health Care across the African continent
The mHealthCo solution makes it easy for organisations to pre-fund a once off primary health care event and disease management for staff. It provides a healthcare benefit with predictable capped spend, thereby avoiding exorbitant monthly health insurance premiums. mHealthCo creates a win-win solution for organisational health management. We create efficiencies and transform organisations through effective medical health management. We have a partnership with an extensive medical network – making it easier to connect with, access and get treatment from our network of primary health care and disease management providers. We make it easy for beneficiaries to access health care by redeeming pre-paid health vouchers. We make it even easier for the medical practitioner network to receive immediate payment for provisioning services to the medically uninsured. Finally, we make it easy for Enterprises to dispense viable health management. Health Funders, Health Implementers and Managed Care Providers can impact bottom line health costs through increased access to healthcare and incentivization for disease control and compliance.
What inspired you to start your company?
Having spent 15 years as a practitioner in the private health care sector and another decade managing Corporate health risk, the gap in access to quality primary healthcare and disease management for the medically uninsured population in South Africa was glaringly obvious. We want to impact this and close the gap between the haves and the have nots. We believe that the integration of tech and health (especially using cellular technology considering its high population penetration in Africa) can significantly impact certain economic factors - making Good Health a Smart Investment. Access to quality healthcare also enables it to fulfil its role as a social protective mechanism.
The economic reason for our existence: Sickness absence costs South African businesses in excess of R20 billion/annum. Sickness absence costs global businesses approximately R5 trillion. The cost of sickness absence is described as a threat to the global economy. Although sick leave is statutory within South African labor law, it can be impacted and reduced by up to 25%. 12 million South Africans are employed and medically uninsured. The average sick leave duration when making use of public health facilities is 2-3 days. There are 11 000 patients to one doctor in the public sector health care. The chronic diseases of lifestyle are responsible for 66% of worldwide deaths. 50% of these deaths are people within the economically active population. 500 employed South Africans die each day from unmanaged diseases of lifestyle – with a significant impact on organisational memory loss. Our solution is not CSI or charity health, it's an economically viable model creating a win-win for all stakeholders.
"Having spent 15 years as a practitioner in the private health care sector and another decade managing Corporate health risk, the gap in access to quality primary healthcare and disease management for the medically uninsured population was glaringly obvious."
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Poor health within our economically active population leads to:
Lost Time: 71 Million avoidable sick days taken every year in South Africa - the equivalent of the working population of a city the size of East London calling in sick everyday for a full year. Lost Revenue: R20 Billion is lost by South African Companies per annum due to sickness absence. Strain from Chronic Conditions: 3/4 of the money spent by private health insurers is to treat people with unmanaged chronic diseases of lifestyle. The tsunami of chronic disease burden continues to rise
So what is the solution?
Integrating your Business or Organisation with the mHealthCo Solution - “...a valuable combination of innovation, quality and simplicity.” Our mission is for every enterprise, organisation and health funder to use our product, as well as every primary health care medical service provider to be integrated with our pre-paid health and reward management platform. It’s a product for the medically uninsured; it’s a product for organisations; and it’s a product for providers of primary health care and disease management, as well as health funders and health implementers.
With Health Improvement, Enterprises, Organizations, Health Funders and Health implementers increase access to health and disease management, save time, save money and increase productivity and revenue. Beneficiaries receive the required care at the right time and are better able to contribute to the economy and to society. The value to customers can be seen in a number of ways including discounted access to Primary Health Care as and when its needed. Labor efficiencies include reduced organisational memory loss; sick leave management; vendor management; compliance and control in disease management; and reduced administration burden
"We believe that the integration of tech and health (especially using cellular technology considering its high population penetration in Africa) can significantly impact certain economic factors - making Good Health a Smart Investment."
What is unique about your business and what it offers?
Our unique product features include:
- Enterprise management capability
- Employee/Patient Eligibility List Management
- Allocation of Visit voucher codes
- Allocation of Reward voucher codes
- Sms notification and education
- Reporting dashboard
- Feature and smart phone compatible
- Simplicity of medical practitioner user interface
- Immediate Payment to medical service providers
- Reward Integration with more than 200 retail outlets incl cash pay outs at till points for the unbanked population
Tell us a little about your team
As founder, I originated the pre-paid health voucher idea/concept whilst an Executive in the mHealth division of a Mobile Network Operator (MNO). As the MNO did not have appetite for the solution, l negotiated to take the product out and pursue it on my own. As Owner Founder and CEO of mHealthCo, I have two decades of experience in the health industry, with one decade being in the corporate health risk management space. My extensive knowledge includes understanding and networks within both the Primary Health Care and Occupational Health space as well as in Corporate/Workplace Wellness solutions. Grant Jabour, the company’s CTO, has extensive knowledge, experience and a vast network in the electronic vouchering and incentivization space.The Electronic Line platform is well established with extensive API and cloud components - enabling ease of third party integration as well as cross border deployment.
l am passionate about extending access to quality health care for Southern Africans. Only 10% of the South African population is medically insured and with the further severe lack of primary health care service and infrastructure within the public health care system, I believe the pre-paid health voucher solution will fill a massive health need. It will also align with the government’s National Development Plan goals for health and support their plan for NHI. My passion, combined with my bold determination and extensive knowledge and expertise in the mhealth and corporate health risk management space, position mHealthCo extremely well for success. This is further optimised by the expert knowledge and experience as well as the mature and progressive Electronicline platform that Grant Jabour as the CTO brings to mHealthCo.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Cutting the golden handcuffs and ‘firing’ my Corporate boss seven months ago required a huge leap of faith and has been one of the most scary but also exhilarating and freeing decisions I’ve taken in my life. I was afraid of going the entrepreneur route because of the perceived lack of stability, but after being laid-off, I soon realised that doing something I am passionate about outside the bounds of a traditional job can actually lead to more stability……and a greater sense of contribution. In my own business, I would have the power to acquire more work, I would be in control of marketing and client acquisition, I would adjust pricing and offerings to match the supply and demand of the industry, I would be the one to ensure my own success. I closed my eyes, counted to three and jumped into my own business – mHealthCo.
My seven month entrepreneurial journey so far has been the expected rollercoaster ride of many ups and downs. Maintaining an even keel despite these highs and lows has been my biggest challenge. To maintain belief and confidence in myself, to remember why I am doing this, where I’m going, what I’m building – to keep my vision at the forefront of my thoughts. To never question my passion and my ability to get things done. To remind myself that I am unbeatable. This is the only way to get through and overcome the tough times………… and of course having caring and supportive family and friends who remind me of who I am when I forget!!
I don’t want to EVER go it alone! The entrepreneur network in South Africa is extensive and very supportive. I have make a concerted effort to immerse myself in this………and I have never left a meeting to date with this network without a contact, a referral, a solid piece of strategy or a valuable piece of advice. Having powerful people alongside of me and a team of extremely talented rockstars is making a huge impact on and all the difference in where my business is today.
I have also learned that what I think is the worst thing that could happen in a moment may actually turn out to be a really good thing. The best-laid plans don’t always work out as I'd expect. The real test has been how adaptable I can be when things don’t go the way I planned. I remind myself often to surrender and trust the process. To trust my instinct. And when I can’t tell what my instinct is telling me, to peel back the noise in my life that is keeping me from hearing it.
"My seven month entrepreneurial journey so far has been the expected rollercoaster ride of many ups and downs. Maintaining an even keel despite these highs and lows has been my biggest challenge."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I was unhappy about the limitations for growth as well as the lack of larger scale significance of contribution in my corporate job. I had a really clear and compelling (to me) vision of serving my potential clients differently and significantly impacting health and disease management for the medically uninsured. I have begun the journey of turning this vision into a reality…… and that makes me really happy to show up for work every day. (currently seven days a week :-)))
I see entrepreneurship as a journey, not a destination. If I want to be happy throughout the course of my business ownership, I know I have to work to achieve that happiness. I’m in control, so I need to be bold to make the changes I need to make to be satisfied. The only thing that can get in the way of my satisfaction is my willingness to change or lack thereof.
#EntrepreneurAdvice: "find what makes you come alive and then go and do that. When you do what you love, the rest will come."
- Chantal Du Chenne
Why LoA loves it….
Africa needs women entrepreneurs who have the ability to see the continent’s challenges and find innovative and groundbreaking solutions that have the necessary high impact to make a difference. Chantal du Chenne is one such entrepreneur, and addressing the gap in access to quality primary healthcare and disease management for the medically uninsured employees of South Africa is no small feat. However, her innovative approach, incredible passion and energy to find the much needed solutions is impressive. Her company mHealthCo is one to watch. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa