Global Health Technology:
Advancing Care around the World
Our world is a global marketplace with ongoing opportunities for new healthcare technology solutions to flourish. Developed countries are well ahead of the curve with electronic medical records systems, public health exchanges, and universal healthcare programs providing a steady flow of data and an established network of patient care services.
It is healthcare delivery in the less developed areas of the world that is wide open for new ideas.
In fact, some of the most interesting innovations in global health technology are being implemented in rather unlikely places as wireless networks make it possible to reach remote locations. It is estimated that 90 percent of the world’s population now has access to a mobile network, which healthcare workers can leverage in a number of ways:
One-on-One Patient Care
Providers can send periodic health reminders to a patient’s mobile device, as well as communicate with individuals who need regular support for chronic conditions or during pregnancy. Mobile technology also makes it possible for doctors to keep track of a patient’s medication usage via pill containers that send alerts when doses are being missed or repeated.
Public Health Information
The success of public health initiatives can be greatly improved by mobile patient education campaigns. Voice or text messages can share important information regarding disease prevention, community health resources and lifestyle changes, particularly in areas that have poorly developed health systems.
Telemedicine allows healthcare workers in remote and underserved areas to communicate with hospitals and providers that are miles away in a major city or entirely different country. Medical informatics systems allow for sharing patient data and receiving advice no matter the distance. This technology goes a long way in alleviating the physician shortage in small towns and villages.
Mobile devices also help public health organizations track the spread of predominant diseases (e.g. malaria, Ebola, HIV/AIDS) by making it possible for providers to enter data while they are out in the field. This helps provide a real-time overview of what is happening on the ground in non-urban areas that would previously not be measured.
Mobile technology allows for a more fluid source of information during widespread situations with health implications, such as natural disasters. Emergency responders can share updates on food and shelter, look for missing people, and map out areas in need.