Telehealth (continued)

April 29, 2012

Labas Señor Arvydas Sabonis.  It turns out that Deep Foods has started a line of frozen food called Healthy Tiffin.  We picked up a couple of boxes, but haven’t tried them yet, so I can’t say if they are both tasty and healthy. I don’t know if they represent smarter food.

There’s about a day left to donate to Global Health Bridge via globalgiving.org. In this post, I’m going to finish up recounting the brainstorming with Chacha, starting with a potential mechanism for service delivery. 

The key to the whole thing, as is being widely touted, is the ubiquity of mobile devices in India.  After the patient’s condition has been diagnosed and managed through face-to-face consultation, let us say that the patient requires testing every three months to adjust treatment dosage.  The patient gets the test performed close to home, as is typically done at present.  The medical technician enters the results directly into a secure portal of Navjeevan Hospital.  Chacha, at his convenience when he can get in a groove and punch out lots of adjustments, logs in to his view of the portal and does so.  The system then automatically sends a text message from Chacha directly to the patient with the new treatment dose.  The patient then takes his or her phone to the medicine shop, shows the message to the shop-keep, and receives the correct treatment dose (a literate patient is not required). 

In terms of payment, the patient pays the medical technician directly for the test as normal.  The patient pays Navjeevan Hospital electronically via mobile phone.  Navjeevan Hospital pays the medical technician electronically.  From what I understand, electronic payment is happening, and quite successfully.

The main thing to find out about, perhaps through a survey, is whether patients would buy in.  Is the trip to Aligarh a burden or a beautiful day in the big city?  How much would they pay for the remote consultation in comparison with an in-person consultation.  Will they believe that it is really Chacha ordering the treatment adjustment or non-adjustment?

There are of course initiatives underway that utilize mobile technology for rural health care in India, e.g. E Health Points and Global Health Bridge.  In the Navjeevan Hospital case, the proposed delivery mechanism banks on the reputation of the doctor, hopefully allows everyone to profit, does not cut anyone out of the so-called pie, and does not require any new physical infrastructure. But who knows if it will work.

One comment

  1. […] Ashvins The Ultimate Machinists « Telehealth (continued) Peripatetics May 12, […]

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