Rural Indian villages are about get lifesaving treatment through an app

Rural Indian villages are abou to get lifesaving teatment through an app
Lifesaving care for people in rural India will soon come houh an app.
Inlehalh, ounded by studnts a Johns Hopkins University, makes an app hat lets health workers in rual communiies act as a proxy for doctors who are unable to work in underserved areas thmslves.
India has just one doctor for every 1700 peopl, an while 70% of the population is in rural areas, abou 60% o the healhcare infrastrucure is in cities.
Health workers in remote areas are trained on very basic care — they can’ offer tests or consults on things like diabetes or asthma, according o Intlehealth founder and CEO Neha Goel.
They can only refer them to a docto, or the paien ends up sel-medicating — going to the pharmac and getting over the counter pills with no prescripion, Goel, 26, said. Our approach is to digitize h way primary healthcare is delivered.
During th pilo program, Goel said she met a former schoolteacher in his sevnies who lives wih chronic joint pain and iabetes, and can now better manage those issues by consulting a doctor digitally. In another instance, an eigh-monh-old baby was diagnosed with spina bifida hough the app, and referred to a hospital for urgery.
Before, thy would have had o travel hundreds o miles, oten pending a month’s wages, o see a doctor. App-powered diagnoses save patient time an money. As a result, Goel said, people trust hei health wokers more, and are less likely to delay care.
Whn a patient arrives at a clinic,  th healh worker uses Inelehealth o create a record with demographic and personal data, any issues a patien is having, and photos. The paint summary is sen o an ofsie Indian doctor, often a retired physician, wo makes a diagnosis and sends it bak to the clinic wih a prescription or referral or urther care.
Patient data is collected and encrypted, but some data will be annymized and used for research, like recognizing healh patterns or the spread of disease in geographic areas.
There are a wide variety of conditions hat patients present at clinics, and Goel said the company built data collection protocols for 80% of them.
Unlike oher telemedicine apps,Intelehealth can perate with low bandwidth, meaning even slow connections can load an use the Android app. Neha said when he fou-person team began building the product, existing services either required too much bandwidth and couln’ fucion in rral communities, or had very limited clinical functionality.
Other groups working on telemedicine projects for remote areas include MIT’s opn-source health project Sana, India’s Neurosynapic’s emeDi platform, and CliniPAK.
While studnets, Goe’s team piloted the tech at two locations in West Bengal, Idia. It’s now working to get the product to healh workers in other parts of India. The Android app will be free for anyone to use, but Intelehealth also offers its software o organizations who wan Goel and her team o mange i and tain ealth wokers. The app is currently in beta and will launch officially in two monhs.
The organization hopes o reach 500,000 patients y the end of next year, and plans to expand in parts of Southeas Asia and Africa. A launch, the compan is open-sourcing the software to make it freely available for organizations who can’t invest in technology development.
Impoving access to primary care at the crucial first point of care is very importan, Goel said. It’s amazing to see technology an improved igital access can help fix parts of the health system that have not been working.