Updated on February 23, 2024


Created on August 31, 2021

Referral App (Vula Mobile)

A teleconsultation mobile application

Developed By
  1. Vula Mobile
Tested By
  • Karolinska Institutet
Content Partners


Product Description

The Referral App provides a safe and secure connection of healthcare workers and patients to share important advice. The application has been used in teleconsultations in South Africa for burn injuries and handling emergencies.

Target SDGs

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Google Play Store and Apple Store

Competitive Landscape

Direct competitors include ClickMedix.

Manufacturing/Building Method


Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Users can acquire Referral App from Google play store for android users and from Apple Store for the iOS users.

Distributions to Date Status

10K+ users indicated as downloads as of 2021

Design Specifications

Vula connects healthcare workers and provides a secure, safe platform to receive advice on patient treatment plans and refer patients to specialist services and departments. The solution is customizable for all medical specializations and allows for easy transfer of structured patient information and images. This system works on android, iOS Platforms and can also be accessed via the web. In a video, healthcare providers describe the Vula mobile app. Referral App was designed by Vula Mobile and is being used by over 200,000 healthcare workers and serves over 480,000 patients. 

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Provided by the manufacturer

Replacement Components




Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

Vula mobile set out a target to connect patients to healthcare workers by providing a safe and secure platform.

Vetted Performance Status

Testing from the Karolinska Institute found a significant relationship between compatibility—usefulness, and usefulness—attitudes. Additionally, almost all health professionals in the selected sample size already used smartphones for work purposes hence were positive about using smartphones for burn consultations. Despite the ease of use of the application, participants suggested that training and ongoing support should be available. Barriers included access to wireless internet and access to hospital-provided smartphones. 59 participants rated high on concepts such as usefulness, attitude, and BI, suggesting that they were positive toward using the app. 


The app is safe to use as the developer guarantees user data protection through a data privacy policy.

Complementary Technical Systems


Academic Research and References

Du Toit, J., Mann, T. N., Du Preez, G., & Morkel, R. W., 2019, “Orthopaedic referrals using a smartphone app: Uptake, response times and outcome,” South African Medical Journal, 109(11), pp.859-864.

Klingberg, A., Wallis, L., Hasselberg, M., Yen, P., and Fritzell, S., 2018, “Teleconsultation Using Mobile Phones for Diagnosis and Acute Care of Burn Injuries Among Emergency Physicians: Mixed-Methods Study, ” JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 6(10), pp. E11076.

Verhagen, Lilly M., et al., 2020,  “COVID-19 response in low-and middle-income countries: don’t overlook the role of mobile phone communication,” International Journal of Infectious Diseases 99, pp. 334-337. 

 Duys, R., et al., 2021,  “WhatsApp and Internet Protocol messaging in healthcare: a transformative opportunity,” Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia 27.2, pp. 60-62. 

 Kleintjes, W. G., et al., 2018,  “An algorithm for responsive fluid resuscitation at the Western Cape Provincial Tertiary Adult Burn Centre,” South African Journal of Plastic & Reconstructive Aesthetic Surgery & Burns 1.1, pp.16-18.  

Klingberg, Anders, et al., 2020,  “m-Health for Burn Injury Consultations in a Low-Resource Setting: An Acceptability Study Among Health Care Providers,” Telemedicine and e-Health 26.4, pp. 395-405.

Google Play, “Vula Mobile

App Store, “Vula Mobile

Vula Mobile, “Interviews with health professionals using Vula Mobile“, Youtube, 2020

Compliance with regulations

The app complies with the data protection policy and assures all patients of safety for their data and communications are private and secure. 

Evaluation methods

Through a field-based product testing study, the manufacturer and collaborators evaluated the app for acceptability, reliability, and usability tests.

Other Information

Faced with challenges of connecting efficiently with rural health workers during his work at the Vula Emehlo Eye Clinic in rural Swaziland (officially the Kingdom of Eswatini)Dr. William Mapham with experience acquired during his time in New York and Washington designing mobile phone applications for healthcare. He founded Vula initially only for ophthalmology referrals and later expanded. The Vula mobile app has helped over 93,000 patients to date and data shows a 31% reduction in unnecessary referrals to tertiary hospitals. The app serves over 6,100 registered health workers on the Professional Network, and over 1,096 health facilities.

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