HPIC is pleased to announce that beginning this month, Kenyans who have no access to medical care will be connected with general practitioners after being awarded a $50,000 grant by Stronger Together.
According to the Global Health Workforce Alliance, about one billion people today will never see a health worker in their entire lives. Patients who live in poor, remote communities often have to travel long distances to receive health services. The high cost of transportation, time required to travel to the nearest health facility, and stigma associated with certain diseases make it difficult, if not impossible to access necessary care.
Telemedicine is a new solution to some of these challenges. Telemedicine uses information and communications technology to connect community health workers and patients to skilled health professionals without the need for an in-person visit. With telemedicine, health professionals are able to evaluate, diagnose and provide clinical services to patients remotely via video/audio connections.
Thanks to the $50,000 grant from Stronger Together, HPIC will pilot a telemedicine application in Kenya. Community health workers will be equipped with a tablet and a software app that will allow them and their patients to have a live consultation with a doctor or a nurse at a health facility. With the help of a community health worker and a digital stethoscope, the virtual health provider will be able to do most of what any in-person health professional can. Equipped with the same software, the doctor or the nurse will be able to coach community health workers and advise on the treatment of their patients, helping them manage cases that are beyond their ability, as well as avoiding unnecessary referrals and reducing the burden of travel on patients and families.
The app will incorporate store-and-forward features, live consultations, image management and other features that will bring patients, community health workers and health professionals to a single platform.