NewDigm: an example to be followed for improving healthcare in rural areas
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Scientific paradigm is a recognized achievement which provides solution models to be followed by a specific community. That is exactly the role NewDigm is performing in the Indian rural healthcare landscape: by developing mobile-based Clinical Decision Support apps, real-time monitoring & tracking systems or training village health workers (VHW), they aim to be the new solution for democratizing access to quality and affordable healthcare through appropriate technology.
Launched in 2010 by four childhood friends from Stanley Medical College and National Institute of Technology Karnataka, NewDigm’s ultimate goal for the end of this year is to have touched more than a million lives around a couple of districts in Tamil Nadu and Odissa, which has the poorest health indicators in India. This achievement is proven possible particularly due to the company’s first accomplishment, Palm-H. It is basically an assemble of LCD screen, circuit board and battery with a couple of buttons to say “Yes” or “No”, which allows VHWs to enter patient information while interacting with their patients and demands only a short training.
As the health worker completes the question set, Palm-H classifies the patient into a broad diagnosis and generates care recommendations and a checklist of health advice based on the aforementioned protocols, besides tracking missed investigations and immunization appointments, record keeping, and follow-up services. Along with this device, the heart of NewDigm is also Amrita (which means “vitality/immortality in Sanskrit). It is an antenatal, postnatal and childcare protocol app which can run the Indian languages on low-cost, JAVA-based mobile phones and has no connectivity dependance. The technology is used to provide maternal and child care services, reducing mortality rates, and helps VHWs in accurately diagnosing their patients.