Mobile healthcare support in times of natural disasters

 Healthcare delivery system has progressed by leaps and bounds. Still much challenge remains for healthcare practitioners and hospitals to deliver quality care especially during times like natural disasters or in regions where technology and utilities are yet to make an appearance.

 

The challenge multiplies many folds when practitioners have to cater to patients outside their domain or specialisation area. Take for example the medical relief work in the aftermath of disastrous Nepal earthquake. Majority of doctors working in remote hilly areas had to attend patients outside their specialisation areas with no handbooks or journals to consult from! Top it up with absence of electricity, internet connectivity or even cell phone coverage and you can fathom the extent of challenge.

 

So what could have helped doctors in such situations to still attend on earthquake victims more effectively? Stored data on their smart phones! Yes, to a big extent as access to evidence based clinical reference data would have proved to be of immense help in such situations.

 

The buzz today is mobile healthcare solutions! As most of us use smart phones today, the idea is to have a reliable and proven medical reference kit stored in the phone&rsquos data base, for we cannot think of internet connectivity in emergency situations or remote regions.

 

There are now such niche innovative mobile healthcare products available globally, which one can rely upon. Once the application is on smart phone, the reference data can be accessed even without internet connection. Updates are of course done as and when connectivity resumes.

 

 

The mobile health marketplace is being fuelled by various apps they are not only empowering the practitioners, but also patients and the health conscious people to understand their body systems, ongoing or likely illnesses, their causes and correct treatment in a more informed manner.

 

Today, mobile applications and services are transforming the way healthcare is being delivered with applications as varied as clinical decision support, remote patient monitoring, video conferencing, online consultations and prescriptions among others. The opportunities to provide quality care for healthcare community by leveraging mobile tools are huge. The launch of Digital India programme supported by the rapid spread in internet penetration is going to be a big booster to actionable mobile health applications in the coming days.

 

- Shireesh Sahai