Monday, June 15

Collaborative mHealth Solutions

Today I read an article on MSBC about how poor the health care is on Native American land
American Indians have an infant death rate that is 40 percent higher than the rate for whites. They are twice as likely to die from diabetes, 60 percent more likely to have a stroke, 30 percent more likely to have high blood pressure and 20 percent more likely to have heart disease. After Haiti, men on the impoverished Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations in South Dakota have the lowest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere.
and how difficult it is to recruit health care providers to First Nation (Native American) regions of the country.
While the agency overall has an 18 percent vacancy rate for doctors, that rate jumps to 38 percent for the region that includes the Dakotas.

Although there is 85 billion in the stimulus package for them to purchase Health IT perhaps they could cobmine some of those funds with other money in ARRA dedicated to tele-medicine and mHealth technology to their communities? We could build on some of the open source mhealth work that is happening over in Africa with projects like Mobiles in Malawi and the SMS:Medic project.

Today in an interview with the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. David Blumenthal he identified mobile health as one option.

We'll try to resolve these issues by focusing on performance rather than any specific technology. We'll say to the industry and providers of care: We don't care how you accomplish critical tasks, so long as you do so with electronic technology.

If someone produces the equivalent of an Apple iPhone, where the doctor selects certain applications, that's fine -- so long as it works.

I would love to see the stimulus money be combined with the creative collaborative work that is happening in mobile health via platforms lik open source SMS text messaging (FrontlineSMS: Medic)are winning awards from new social media groups like Net2Squared in places like Malawi where low cost text messaging is saving lives.

A simple SMS system is revolutionising medical care in Malawi, where scarce resources and a skeleton hospital staff must serve thousands of people spread over hundred of square miles

the new solar powered smart phone by Samsung, work the United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation Partnership are doing in places like Rwanda, collaborative health care development models like mHealth Alliance and the Health 2.0 Accelerator's work here in the States.

There is no reason that people in this country can't benefit from the same technology that very poor countries in Africa are using to save lives, improve quality and provide effective patient centered care. We could train health care outreach workers from regions that have unemployment rates, use telehealth and mhealth to bring experts to the most remote locations and all for very little cost.

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