Case Study Highlight: Health Innovations Through Technology

CHMI has published more than forty case studies on various programs profiled in our Programs Database. Over the coming months, we will be highlighting these works with in-depth interviews with implementers and authors. All of the studies are posted in full under the analysis section of the website.

What would you do if you arrived to a clinic for an appointment only to hear that the charts and files from your previous visits are missing? What if you tried to pick up your life saving prescription only to hear your pharmacist never received the orders? These issues are everyday occurrences in the developing world; occurrences that, built up, stop entire health markets from functioning. The CHMI network has compiled seven case studies from four countries that focus on the utilization of technology in the health market to alleviate similar problems.

Technology is a useful tool to improve access and efficiency within the health market. This rings true with the Sajida Bandhu program in Bangladesh, where rural health workers can now make house calls equipped with mobile devices that track medical records, allowing the health workers to make critical connections between village women and experts at large hospitals. Women who would otherwise see their personal medical care as a burden to their families are now able to gain necessary access from the comfort of their homes.

The An Khang E Clinic in Vietnam stores X-Rays, CAT scans, and other information, as well as enabling referral doctors to send prescriptions directly to the pharmacy while still viewing patient information, making errors less frequent. The e-clinic was created to manage information on medications in stock, including price and dosage, as well as integrate various diagnostic equipment. The program crosschecks a patients’ medical history to confirm that multiple prescriptions will not interact poorly with each other.

While these programs are highly promising, they face unique challenges. Most are implemented in remote areas where locals are not experienced in using technology. Neurosynaptic Communcations’ ReMeDi device, a telemedicine kit, is used in rural India to perform six different medical tests and enable video conferencing. They worked to overcome technology gaps through strong communication with local partners, understanding that ReMeDi could learn from the health teams as well as teach them. “We partnered with health care organizations who have an in-depth understanding of the health care issues in rural India much better than [we do],” said Neurosynaptic CEO Rajeev Kumar, “while we understand the technology issues—that’s the kind of synergy that will work.”

Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation, a program that also works to connect health specialists to remote patients through teleconference, faced challenges when creating standard operating procedures, mainly due to specialists’ lack of experience with the technology.

These hurdles were overcome through persistence and communication between technology providers and clinicians—and investments of time and money. Each of these programs was funded in a slightly different way, from private companies who earn revenue off of their products, in the case of Neurosynaptic, to a member-funded microfinance scheme, in the case of Sajida Bandhu.

While these programs have not created solutions for all the issues they face, they continue to make progress in expanding the reach of health services to those who need it most through the use of technology. Be sure to learn more about the business models and challenges of these organizations by reading their case studies (found in the Analysis section or linked to each of their profiles).

Full List of Technology Case Studies