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Doctor makes case for MDLex

Company launches COVID-19 screening tool in Jamaica

Sunday, September 27, 2020

IN just a matter of months, we have seen a dramatic industrial shift.

Education, meetings and even health care have moved entirely online. And, according to Dr Che Bowen, CEO and founder of MDLink, digital technology has continued to pave the way for society's survival and growth throughout all of 2020. For his company, MDLex is what's next for digital health in the Caribbean region.

MDLink recently launched the COVID-19 screening tool MDLex in Jamaica, a chatbot built with artificial intelligence to accurately screen an individual for COVID-19. This is reportedly the first time the use of such AI health technology is being used in the region, and MDLink, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IBD) through the IDB Lab, is proud of providing the tech tool free to the general public.

The doctor said this means that the “MDLink Health” app is free to download and can be accessed for free when using the app through the company's zero-rated partnership with telecommunications company Flow. He said, too, that registration is free for both doctors and patients.

The MDLex COVID-19 screening tool can be accessed in the patient portal, then from there, it's just like using any messenger. Answer a few short questions and you're on your way to sound health advice, Dr Bowen said.

After screening, you will be informed of your risk level and directed to your next best steps (based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and in partnership with MDLink telemedicine).

Post-assessment instructions would include things such as: Staying at home; getting tested; calling the Ministry of Health and Wellness hotline (876 ONE LOVE); and tele-triage to one of our MDLink doctors for an online doctor visit. If deemed necessary, our online doctors will make the necessary contacts to securely refer, direct and guide you to the nearest and best medical facility. The CEO said MDLink doctors all follow national COVID-19 management policies and procedures.

The MDLex chatbot, according to Dr Bowen, uses state-of-the-art technology and data security, powered by Amazon Web Services. Similar to the COVID-19 screening tools launched in First-World nations, it follows CDC guidelines and is updated weekly, however, MDLex is tailored for the Jamaican health system.

“Given the move by the Ministry of Health and Wellness towards strategic testing, MDLink will serve as a fantastic asset to the general population in assessing their risk or the need for testing. Users of the screening tool will gain access to discounted doctor visits online through MDLink. Our new voice recognition technology allows for persons to speak to MDLex instead of type, making it even easier to use. It easily understands basic Jamaican patois and can even recognise the Jamaican accent. Of course, texting remains the main standard for use. Medical education from screened and trustworthy sources, such as the Center for Disease Control, can be found on the tool, as we believe public health education is paramount in the fight against this virus,” he said.

MDLex, according to the MDLink founder, serves to benefit several sectors throughout Jamaica, inclusive of health, tourism, corporate, and education.

“The private organisation sector can benefit by implementing MDLex into the morning routine of their employees. High-risk employees would not be allowed in to work until medically permitted by MDLink. The same can be done for the education sector within public and private schools, whereby students are screened at home [for free] every single morning before attending school,” he explained. “Some private schools have already began implementing state-of-the-art screening technology into their reopening protocols.

“In the tourism and hotel industry, the MDLex screening tool will help flatten the curve and prevent any COVID-19 tourism-related cases from going unnoticed. We have also partnered with local labs to provide access to RT-PCR testing, staying in line with our mission to increase access to affordable health care throughout Jamaica and the region,” Dr Bowen continued. “Benefits to the health sector comes in many ways, inclusive of a reduction in overcrowding at hospitals and assistance with strategic testing. Our doctors are experiencing increased levels of burnout amidst the pandemic, this tool will help to reduce burnout levels in public hospitals.”

According to the MDLink founder, the screening technology is also good for the elderly and high-risk patients who are being encouraged to stay at home while becoming increasingly paranoid and concerned about their health status on daily basis.

He said, too, that MDLink offers discounted online doctor visits for both the elderly and high-risk Jamaicans.

“We have partnered with PAX courier services to offer prescription delivery to pharmacies and patients, where necessary. MDLink encourages persons to remain vigilant, continue to wash your hands, wear masks, sanitise, and social distance during these times,” Dr Bowen said.