A Mouseclick a Day

John Paul and Julia have both posted information about efficient and low-cost modes of healthcare delivery, such as microfranchising and low-cost BOP products. Microfranchising has built-in incentives to keep costs low and services accountable, making it ideal for delivering service to rural areas with a scarcity of doctors and health monitoring equipment. Low-cost BOP products that diagnose, prevent, and treat

illnesses (e.g. water-borne and malnutrition-caused) are ideal for reducing the size and occurence of pandemics in developing areas.

One expanding method of health care delivery, enabled by ever-cheaper IT technology, is tele-medicine. The service is targeted towards rural, underserved areas, where doctors and clinics rarely have the experience and training necessary to diagnose injuries and ailments properly. When these remote clinics are hooked up via networks (even telephones) to hospital centers, however, patients can scan and send digital photos, x-rays, or ECG results to professionally trained medical practitioners at hospital centers. Patients in remote areas can thereby receive quick, inexpensive, accurate diagnoses.

Judging from the Nextbillion activity database, it seems like India is leading the telemedicine bandwagon. Check out some of these innovative activities (and let us know of any missing ones) :

1.India based projects

a. Apollo in Aragonda village , also offers health insurance
b. Virtual Clinic enabled by low-bandwidth videoconferencing
c. Aravind Eye hospital
d. (OK, this one is a variant on telemedicine) DISHA-vans, bringing services to rural India.

2. African projects

a. Pesinet, for monitoring neonatal health in Senegalb. IKON teleradiology in Mali
c. IICD digital health content in Ghana

A few caveats : Advocates of telemedicine are quick to note that it is not a panacea for a nation’s health care woes. “To make it work, you need a good wired or wireless line, a good ISDN connection or a VSAT (very small aperture terminal) link,” notes Petko Kantchev, the coordinator of ITU’s telemedicine projects. “You also need good local leadership to ensure proper implementation and follow-up.”

Next up: Google doctors?