Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has launched the “MyNHIS app” in Tamale in the Northern region.
The National Health Insurance Scheme’s mobile application, dubbed “MyNHIS app” will enable people to sit at the comfort of their homes to register to join the scheme.
The application will also enable members of the scheme to renew their membership and that of third parties, access frequently asked questions (FAQs), aid in location of all NHIS Offices and link NHIS cards to their Ghana cards and also serves as NHIS office for clients in their homes or pockets.
The Vice President at the launch in Tamale said the new NHIS mobile app will operate on both Android and iOS smartphones and will allow NHIS members to securely pay registration and membership renewal fees from their mobile money wallets, Bank and Visa cards noting that the formal sector workers and businessmen and women per their busy schedule do not need to go to the NHIS District Offices anymore which he believes will accelerate progress towards the quest to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.
“ Embedded in the MyNHISapp is a member authentication feature to enable healthcare providers validate the membership status of members of the scheme before providing healthcare to them. This feature of the application will also help to reduce spurious claims, ranging from impersonation and claims manufacturing resulting from collusion between NHIS clients and healthcare providers.”
Dr. Bawumia disclosed that the NHIS since its introduction, has no doubt, contributed to increased utilization of healthcare services, leading to improved health outcomes of the population adding that there have been significant reductions in maternal and child mortalities over the last two decades.
“Persons who hitherto could not access healthcare due to financial constraints are now able to do so without paying at the point of service use. Besides, the NHIS has contributed to financial resources of healthcare providers, resulting in expansion of healthcare facilities especially in the private sector.”
According to him, the NHIS has gone through several reforms over the years to improve its services to the members with the launch of the NHIS- Ghana card linkage were over 5 million members of the NHIS have been linked to their Ghana Cards to enable them to use the Ghana card to access healthcare since 1st of May, 2020.
“Hopefully, when all members of the scheme are linked to their Ghana Cards, the NHIS card will be phased out and the Ghana Card will be the sole card for accessing healthcare services in the credentialled healthcare facilities.Aside this, we have also embarked on a project, together with the National Identification Authority (NIA), National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Ghana Health Service, and Births and Deaths Registry, to link births and deaths data to the NIA database to give unique identification numbers to all newborn babies starting first quarter of next year.”
The NHIA has implemented electronic medical claims (Claim-IT) to reduce turnaround time for claims preparation and submission and reduce spurious claims and cost to the scheme for increased sustainability. Currently, close to 3000 healthcare providers, representing 70% are submitting medical claims electronically. The scale-up of this digital innovation is ongoing. All providers submitting manual claims have been trained and hopefully, the over 5000 credentialled healthcare providers of the scheme will start submitting electronic claims by end of the second quarter of 2023.”
“ In 2018, we launched, the NHIA Electronic receipting platform to enhance social auditing and accountability of revenue collection at NHIA district offices across the country. I am reliably informed that the e-receipting platform has helped to establish daily premium collection and improve accountability and transparency in revenue mobilization. It has substantially promoted electronic reconciliation of financial account and promoted transparency and efficiency in the financial operations of the scheme.
Vice President said on December 19, 2018, the government supported Management of the NHIS to launch a mobile renewal system to enable members whose cards have expired to conveniently renew their cards, using mobile phones, without walking to the NHIS branch office. This digital innovation has led to remarkable increase in the proportion of members who renew their membership annually, thereby improving population coverage of the scheme.
“At present, over 16 million people are active members of the scheme, representing 54% of the population, an increase from 40% in 2019. Out of this number, over 80% are old members who used the mobile application to renew their membership.This has reduced the queue as well as the crowd at the offices of the NHIS. Digitalization has made it possible by just dialing *929# and follow through the process to instantly renew your card without travelling to the office to queue.”
“Government of President Akufo-Addo since January 2017 has been at the forefront of providing improved public service delivery using digital solutions. One key area we have been pursuing aggressively is social and health services delivery to the population.We are pursuing digitalization not for its own sake, but as a means of delivering improved services to our people. We are putting in place systems and utilizing the data to make this possible.”
He reiterated government’s digitalization agenda commitment with the launched of a digital health solution in the pharmaceutical space, called the National Electronic Pharmacy Platform (NEPP), where clients can use their mobile phones to order their prescriptions to be delivered to them at the comfort of their homes.
“This digital innovation is also meant to check counterfeit or substandard medicines and help eliminate them in our Pharmacies and chemical shops. It is also aimed at tackling the issue of drug abuse. The technology developer is currently engaging the National Health Insurance Authority, who happens to be the highest healthcare purchaser in the country on the technical and operational feasibility of the platform in the NHIS. Government is very keen on getting the platform fused into the NHIS operations next year.”
“By the end of next year, we will network about 80% of all hospitals, and by the end of the following year, we will complete the networking of 100% of all our hospitals. This will make us the fourth country in the world to have such a nationwide system.”
Dr. Bawumia stated that government’s introduction of the Zipline services in 2019 to improve medical supplies has expanded from one distribution hub to six hubs in the remote areas, making Ghana, home to the world’s largest fleet of medical-delivery drones with all the drone centres being 100% manned by Ghanaians.
“Zipline drones have undertaken 278,936 flights since their inception, making over 12 million deliveries, comprising 8.63 million lifesaving medical products or medicines, about 1.9 million child immunization vaccine consumables and over 1.9 million COVID-19 vaccines and PPEs. It has also made very significant savings for the nation, both in lives and resources.”
He urged the NHIA to continue to introduce digital innovations in other operational areas of the scheme to improve services for the members.
“It is my hope that this year’s celebration will be used to reflect the success and challenges of the scheme and fashion out sustainable solutions for improved performance.”
The Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, during the launched the “MyNHIS app” noted that the introduction of the mobile renewal has been a phenomenal game changer.
“I am proud to say the Vice President H.E Bawumia has been with us through the digital advancing stages when he launched this innovative intervention exactly four years ago. By a simple dial of *929#, millions of residents in Ghana, can renew and link their NHIS card to the Ghana card any where anytime. This digital drive infused high levels of vibrancy in our operations and has since 2018 been the preferred choice of renewal of NHIS membership and linkage to the Ghana card. The mobile renewal has significantly reduced the hitherto long queues at our office while allowing members to check policy validity, medicines list and benefits package. Thanks to digitization, Your Excellency, long queues are now a thing of the past. I dare say that when you pay a visit to the Walewale office of the NHIA today around this time you will not meet the kind of long queues that use to exist.”
According to him, NHIA is currently pursuing a 5-Point turn-around strategy dubbed 5D’s to revamp operations of the scheme through Digitization, Development, Dissemination, Data, and Decentralization.
He said the authority continues to chalk some successes in their quest to make the Authority the most relevant and visible public organization in Ghana.
“The last few months has witnessed amongst others the inclusion of the treatment of four childhood cancers on to the benefits package of the NHIS; a 30% upward adjustment of medicines lists and tariffs; and the establishment of a Co-Payment Committee to mitigate the impact of out-of-pocket payments by our members. Your Excellency one critical age-long challenge of the scheme has been the payment of illegal charges at the facilities which poses a major concern in the health delivery for our members. We at the Authority are battle-ready to deal with this canker. We have formed a nationwide task force at all regional and district levels to combat this.”
Dr. Boye assured that the new NHIS Mobile APP known as ‘MyNHIS’ is a one stop convenient way of getting medical insurance in this country and thanked the Board, Management, Project Team, and staff of the Authority for this innovation. The future remains digitiization.
“As we strive to be a model of a sustainable, progressive and equitable scheme in Africa and beyond we cannot be satisfied with a scheme that currently covers 95% of common disease conditions in Ghana. I pause to ask the following:
Why take care of the malaria patient and let go the kidney patient? Why reimburse for fracture of the thigh bone and say no to hip replacement? Why pay for Caesarian procedure and turn a blind eye to heart surgery? Why cater for childhood cancers and ignore children with kidney disease?.” He asked
He was of the view that despite the challenges that they have as a scheme, the NHIA pays out an average of GHS 100 million monthly in claims to health providers across the country.
“Your Excellency that is to say the Akufo-Addo government through the NHIA invests GHS 1.2 billion annually in the health delivery sector, an indication of the government’s strong commitment to a vibrant NHIS. Under the able leadership of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government, we are determined to improve the scheme and make it better for all.”