Software that connects health workers

Software that connects health workers

Project Summary

Vula is a unique service that directly connects health workers in rural and remote areas in South Africa with specialist doctors at regional and urban hospitals via a two-way smartphone application. Initially launched for ophthalmologists in 2014, the app was expanded to include cardiology, orthopaedics and burns in 2016 and today features 11 specialties, with more on the way.


Vula Mobile




South Africa


Automated Regression Testing

Client Overview

Vula Mobile is the brainchild of Dr William Mapham, a registrar at the ophthalmology department of Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town. The app gives health workers - particularly those in remote rural areas - a tool that helps get patients quick and efficient specialist care. A flash grant from the Shuttleworth Foundation and some prototype design work from Flow Interactive (now part of Deloitte Digital) helped Dr Mapham win the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Award in 2013, and the prize money enabled him to launch the app for Android and iOS in July 2014.

“Vula Mobile helps to connect health workers to specialists. Due to the sensitive and sometimes urgent nature of these interactions, it is vital that the system is as close to 100% stable. Inspired Testing helped us achieve this goal. Healthcare works best when there is collaboration. When everyone works together as many patients as possible get the best possible healthcare”
Dr William Mapham, Founder, Vula Mobile

Problem statement

To optimise and support a viable and robust mobile application - Vula Mobile – that enables healthcare professionals to deliver specialised services into rural and remote areas of South Africa and other developing countries. It was also important for Vula to be able to maintain the performance and quality of the application as it expanded the number and range of services it administered through the software.


Inspired Testing was consulted to provide specialist automation regression testing of the Vula Mobile application, to detect any issues that may arise over time. Due to the nature of the app it was crucial that no bugs made it to production.

After improvement

Vula Mobile

  • Vula Mobile have been able to quickly and effectively diagnose any functional and performance issues before they could impact their users.
  • Since its initial deployment, Vula has seen a consistent 25 per cent of patients who are referred by the app being treated at the primary facility with specialist advice.
  • Doctors working in primary healthcare say the app saves them a lot of time.
  • Vula has managed to iron out some kinks in the software before they ever surfaced in the live app.

“Use of Vula in surgery has dramatically reduced the number of phone calls needed for patient referrals from our referring level 1 hospitals. Together with the real-time chat functionality, this enables us to appropriately guide referral to level 2 and give clinical advice.”

— Dr Riaan Duvenage, Head Clinical Surgery, Worcester Hospital

Benefit to the client after implementation

The Vula project benefitted the client by giving them access to:

  • Additional resources without any additional outlay.
  • Inspired Testing’s extensive automation and performance testing expertise and resources were available to Vula for software quality assurance.
  • Internship staff were getting exposure to real-world projects.
  • Vula was tested on a range of different handsets and devices that could potentially host the Vula app in the field.

Vula Mobile

Inspired Testing was able to bring its world-class testing facilities and expertise to test an important app as it evolved with new features and functions over time. This level of testing is vital for mission-critical apps like Vula, where people’s lives depend on its flawless functionality.