Bayode Oke, the Country Lead and Head of Operations for InstantRad Nigeria, is on a mission to revolutionise Nigeria’s healthcare industry. As the co-founder of the Invasion Group and co-founder/MD of Mentors in Nigeria Initiative, Oke’s experience at the GITEX Global 2023 in Dubai UAE has set him and his team on an enviable pedestal in the nation’s healthcare system. While they focus on connecting hospitals, diagnostic centres, and radiologists, they are providing a secure environment for transmitting medical images. In this interview with Rebecca Ejifoma, the multiple-award-winning Oke discusses how InstantRad Nigeria is using cutting-edge technology to better humanity and his passion for mentoring young people
Could you walk us through a bit about your background?
I hold a medical degree from the University of Lagos. I’m a member of the European Society of Radiology and a fellow of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI). I also have an MBA degree from Nexford University, USA. I am a certified design thinker, having completed design thinking training with Salford Business School.
I serve as the Country Lead and Head of Operations for InstantRad Nigeria. With a focus on connecting hospitals, diagnostic centers, and radiology service providers, enabling seamless integration through all-in-one PACS, RIS, and TeleRadiology platform.
As one who manages multiple companies, how do you balance your responsibilities across them?
It’s been very amazing managing the company that we’ve built because the goal is clear — being an influence enough, makes humanity better. However, managing a business in Nigeria can be tough, considering the business model, as most of them are social interventions, harnessing the strength of youth for change.
It hasn’t been easy, especially bankrolling the system thanks to all who have been partners. There’s a principle we apply from my mentor, Dr. Alexander Faranpojo, “The idea of living and giving today your best shot; not seeking perfection, but doing all you can today because there’s a gift of hope called tomorrow.” This is our watchword across the business. We’ve put structures in place to ensure the businesses run without me. The business shouldn’t be centered around you to ensure sustainability in a business. We are doing all we can today to position for the future.
You are the Company Lead of InstantRad, which recently was selected by the Lagos State government to exhibit your solution at GITEX 2023 in Dubai. Could you walk us through the solution?
InstantRad is a teleradiology company in the US that connects hospitals to radiologists. Recently, we got selected by the Lagos State government through the Roadshow Gitex 2023 to pitch and exhibit our product on a global space in GITEX, Dubai.
I was there with the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, other leaders of the GITEX. It was an amazing exposure for us. We met with like minds, start-up founders, and entrepreneurs. We showcased our businesses to the world and learned from other stakeholders who exhibited.
We spoke with Dr Hamzat about how Lagos State can be a part of what we are doing at InstantRad on a bigger scale.
What impact does InstantRad hope to make with such an enviable exposure?
In Nigeria alone, we have less than 300 radiologists serving over 200 million people. That means we have one radiologist serving one million people. In Nigeria, we do an average of 500,000 images daily. What we did at InstantRad is to create digital platforms where those images can get to the radiologists via the internet and then they can have access to the images anywhere in the world.
The radiologists don’t have to go physically to each of the diagnostic centres or radiological service providers to report the images. With emerging technology, the platform is growing. We hope to make an impact.
We are currently in almost all the diagnostic centres in Lagos and across Nigeria. So it’s a huge impact we are making in ensuring that patients’ outcomes are better than they used to be. Imagine waiting for a report and the patient already dies three days before the report. We are helping to improve health with this platform.
How has this selection influenced your firm’s position, and how will this influence your goal in the country?
I’ve always had a huge knack for building a great influence in the healthcare space as a medical professional. Hence, the selection in Dubai exposed us to a lot to take home to investors who are potential partners in different countries. Currently, we are raising $1.2m between now and December as our seed round. The selection to GITEX opened us to multiple investors who would like to invest in our amazing product because they see the great impact we are having.
Now at InstantRad, centres don’t have to have one radiologist anymore; they can have about eight radiologists in their platform reporting the images. With the whole mass migration (Japa) syndrome, InstantRad is ensuring the impact is not so fatal.
We are preaching the gospel of health awareness and making healthcare service delivery available to those who are in remote areas and who can readily afford or cannot afford it. Our goal is to make humanity and life better.
How do you foster innovation and creativity within your companies, and what role does technology play in this?
We foster innovation and creativity through one of our design-thinking models. It’s created to solve problems and promote innovation and creativity in a team. It’s divided into five parts:
empathy, problem identification, ideate, and prototyping.
We use technology for everything we do. Since 2020, things have changed. Companies that must be relevant must no longer use technology as their backdoor. Every company must be a technology company offering services.
InstantRad is now a company offering radiology services and technology drives most of the things we do. We offer mentorship services. In our mentorship programme, we digitalise the whole process, where students come in and register to be a part of the cohort, self-paced, do their mentorship, one on one section, and collect their certifications.
What other project do you have up your sleeves?
I’ve witnessed several patients who want to talk to a doctor after having symptoms, but won’t know the right hospital or specialist to approach.
I had a friend whose dad was admitted to a hospital where he was treated for a different reason. He didn’t have to talk to them about the kind of treatment they had been giving him. He came to our office and we gave his father a proper check. Imagine he didn’t have access to us.
Patients need proper and adequate knowledge to make an informed decision about their care. That is why we are working on a system called, ResQ. ResQ is a solution-driven platform that allows every patient to have a doctor friend in their pocket whom they can reach out to ask any question. ResQ aims to provide support and care to patients from their symptoms to their treatment — refer hit to the right hospital, book an appointment at the hospital, and follow up through the treatment journey.
You have a mentorship programme for young people in the health sector and entrepreneurship, too. What’s the vision?
Younger people can understand that the only thing that drives a human is purpose— knowing why you are alive and having a vision for yourself. Having a purpose has been our driving factor from the get-go, in terms of envisioning a group that is for younger people to change.
Through one of our mentorship programmes, BOT Strategic Foresight, we are helping young people who want to venture into startups and entrepreneurship. No country in the world is built by politicians; every country that was built was built by people who understand NGOs, entrepreneurship, and leadership. To build our country, Nigeria, we need people who are involved in social entrepreneurship, and businesses and doing a lot to support the government in creating employment, and support systems in terms of social intervention.
There is a notion that every mentor has a mentee. Who is yours?
In my journey to adulthood, obstacles weren’t absent, but I always found solace in the encouragement my parents, Babayomi Emmanuel Oke and Funmilola Grace Oke provided, particularly, my father stands as my greatest motivator.
Moreover, Dr. Faranpojo has been a guiding light and mentor, a repository of wisdom. His teachings illuminated my understanding of life, emphasising the importance of operational knowledge.
Nigeria alone, we have less than 300 radiologists serving over 200 million people. That means we have one radiologist serving one million people. In Nigeria, we do an average of 500,000 images daily. What we did at InstantRad is to create digital platforms where those images can get to the radiologists via the internet and then they can have access to the images anywhere in the world