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Using mobile technology to improve healthcare communications in remote communities

  • Company
  • Healthcare
  • All Regions
  • 2005
  • Exited

The challenge

Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and cholera account for half of all deaths in developing countries. The rural poor are disproportionately affected due in large part to poor communication between the affected areas and domestic and international health agencies, without which officials cannot control the spread of infectious disease. International agencies have attempted to improve communication by investing in a network of computers despite the high cost of equipment and maintenance, the shortage of electricity and the low level of literacy in most developing countries.

The innovation

While internet access is limited in most developing countries, phones are much more prevalent, and the company has developed an internet and phone based communication system that allows rural health care workers to enter a patient’s symptoms or condition into an online database by calling it in, providing officials with immediate information on the extent of an outbreak. Using existing phones reduces the cost of a communication system by an average of 40 percent, requires minimal training, and allows for a faster and more appropriate response. Following the company’s pilot project for Peru’s Ministry of Health, 87 percent of rural healthcare workers with access to a phone called in regularly, 90 percent reported faster responses from supervisors and 70 percent believed the system had improved communication.