According to a recent news report from CNN, an app will be launched soon to provide life-saving care for people in rural India. Intelehealth, a mobile telemedicine platform (app) which was founded by the students at John Hopkins University, will enable health workers in rural areas to act as a proxy to doctors who are unable to physically work in such areas. According to figures published by CNN, India has just one doctor for every 1700 people. On the other hand, 70% of the Indian population is concentrated in rural areas and about 60% of the healthcare facilities in the country are situated in the cities. According to Neha Goel who is the CEO and founder of Intelehealth, health workers who are employed in these rural areas are trained just to give basic care. They can do little on diseases like diabetes and asthma. Goel said that the health workers can only refer a patient to a doctor and if this doesn’t happen the patient ends up self-medicating himself.
The founder of Intelehealth said that their “approach” is to “digitize the way primary healthcare is delivered.”
When Intelehealth was being run on its pilot program Ms. Goel met a retired school teacher in his seventies who was suffering from severe joint pain and diabetes. Now he can cope better with his medical conditions after he was able to consult a doctor digitally. Similarly, through digital consultation, an eight-month-old baby was diagnosed with spina bifida.
Before this app was available to the people, patients had to travel a long distance to meet a doctor and bear a huge financial burden. Now said Goel, the app powered diagnosis helps people to save time and money. Moreover, because of this app the people’s trust in the health workers have risen and hence they are less likely to delay their care.
As soon as a patient arrives at a clinic a health worker uses the Intelehealth app to generate a record with demographic and personal data of the patient. The record includes the current health conditions which the patient is facing along with photos. After this, the patient summary is then forwarded to an offsite doctor. This offsite doctor is usually a retired physician. This doctor analyses the patient summary and makes a diagnosis. He then sends his diagnosis back to the clinic with a prescription or a referral for further treatment.
The Intelehealth app is superior to other telemedicine apps because it can operate in lower bandwidths. This Android app will be free. Currently, the app is in beta and will be launched officially in two months.