Saturday, May 10, 2014

Scaling UDHC through a mobile-phone-web based interface for interacting and communicating with our patients

Brief Background (to this current need):

We already have an active website for interacting with our patients here: and the village representative working for us 2000 kms away from our institute in Bhopal, India charges money from patients to upload their history-data (after de-identification and signed informed consent) to the website and to his credit he has a long line of villagers queuing up regularly to provide their health inputs. More (wishful bloggy) details here:

Can we digitally overcome our rural patient's need to always interact with us through an intermediary who charges money?

We are looking forward to our developers helping us overcome this current rural digital divide (to E health) by designing a mobile phone interactive platform where patients could simply dial a number and provide the necessary details of their illness/problems through an IVR and a solution could be voice-mailed to them after appropriate processing through our website based online network of global health professionals. In effect the current website processing workflow would very much remain the same but our patients would have much better access to it? It may not altogether eliminate the need for an intermediary though.

Questions from Shrikant Sawant (13 May 2014):

With IVR you can possibly achieve direct contact with the patient, but the process of uploading the vital signs/ reports/ history cannot be achieved by that. I don’t know how effective this would be as a solution. Moreover even if we think of a smartphone app, the patient (without an intermediary like the TCHE) needs to have the know-how of operating the same, which we think is a rare possibility. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I agree the IVR is more of an initiation interface into our UDHC website and does not altogether eliminate the need for an intermediary like the TCHE (currently labeled 'information communication manager ICM). After the first voice mail is analyzed (mostly the history without any reports) the ICM can ask the patient to meet for guiding the first upload of detailed reports and vital signs to the website (for which service the ICM can charge a very much the current existing 'fee for service' model but with more outreach to potential customers?).


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