Comilog: access to healthcare for all with telemedicine

After the first installation in France, a second telemedicine booth opens at Abéké hospital in Moanda, Gabon. Employees AND locals can get medical advice without having to travel. It’s a revolution!

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In April 2019, the Group’s very first teleconsultation booth, the "Consult Station1" designed by H4D, opened at Eramet’s headquarters in Paris. Building on its success, the Consult Station is making a second appearance in Gabon: The Marcel Abéké Hospital in Moanda now has its own telemedicine booth, open not only to Comilog employees and their qualifying relatives, but also to local populations.

Cabine de télémédecine installée dans l'Hôpital Marcel Abéké de Comilog au Gabon.

This new facility is a small revolution! It offers a very concrete solution to the many problems related to access to healthcare in Gabon. Due to the isolated nature of certain villages and the long distances to travel to reach big cities, some people simply gave up on healthcare. Located in the Gabonese hinterland, the Marcel Abéké Hospital was also often forced to refer its patients to the capital, Libreville, almost 700 km away, for lack of specialist doctors. When the Group presented the teleconsultation concept to Comilog, the Gabonese subsidiary wanted to share it with its community.

From occupational doctors and HR, to IT and Digital Transformation teams, everyone worked hand in hand. The project was funded by the Comilog and Group Digital Transformation teams. After sending the specifications of the Marcel Abéké Hospital to the supplier, major discussions on the feasibility of the project began with the doctors of Libreville. Many questions arose, such as: Is remote auscultation a viable solution for them? How will the billing system work? What about health insurance coverage?

The discussions also concerned the national authorities due to issues such as: How will telemedicine be integrated into Gabonese health laws? How will the teleconsultation booth obtain approval by the Gabonese Ministry of Health? How will the personal data of patients who use the booth be managed?

Comilog also raised awareness among those concerned by the tool, from patients to hospital teams. To present the project, a communication plan was rolled-out in Moanda to explain the benefits of the project: equity of care, accessibility and speed. "These services are part of a prevention approach for Eramet employees and its subsidiaries to avoid the worsening of illnesses or self-medication. It is an unprecedented approach to corporate social responsibility," said Alain Acker, Eramet’s coordinating doctor in charge of the roll-out of booths in Paris and Moanda.

At the end of 2019, the H4D teams delivered the pieces of the teleconsultation booth to the Marcel Abéké Hospital. After its assembly, three waves of training followed: technical training in the use of software and servers for IT teams; training in the use of the tool for hospital staff (preparation, hygiene, first-level maintenance, etc.); and finally, general use training for both remote doctors and those located in Moanda. 

 1 The Consult Station is a Medical Device. It is a regulated product indicated as such by the CE marking. This proprietary technology was developed by H4D. It is a class IIa medical device, enabling medical teleconsultation to be carried out under the same conditions as in a face-to-face consultation.