Book of Abstracts e-Asia Conference 2009
ViduSuwa: A Mobile eHealth Solution for Emerging Countries
S. Saatviga,1 V. Dinusha,2 D. Wijethilake,3 S.Y.Y.D. Wickramasinghe,4 S.M.K.D. Arunatileka,5 G.P. Seneviratne6 and K.R.P. Chapman7 1,2,3,4,5,6
University of Colombo School of Computing, Colombo, Sri Lanka; 7District General Hospital, Chilaw, Sri Lanka; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; 3 firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Developing countries assume great efforts to deliver a sound health care service to their citizens. However, owing to their financial status and the availability of specialists, it remains to be an uphill climb. Typically, rural communities are deprived from specialized treatment within their hometowns due to the lack of qualified medical professionals in such areas. Hence, rural communities are required to travel long distances to receive specialized treatment. The journey disheartens the patients due to the excruciating cost, great travel distance, travel time and the frustration attributed with it. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in developing countries are expanding at a significant pace along with major cost reductions in acquiring them. Consequently, ICTs can be utilized in providing a better health care service to patients in developing countries. Much research had been carried out in the field of eHealth to assist the developing world. According to Chapman & Arunatillake, linking a specialist in a general hospital in a city, with a patient in a peripheral setting via an Electronic media can improve the availability of health care in remote locations. Based on the previously stated concept, this paper focuses on a mobile eHealth solution designed to make specialized healthcare services available in both Rural and Urban areas in developing countries through a Mobile Electronic Medical Record (EMR) System. This solution hence, connects the two roles: eConsultant (a Specialized Consultant who would be geographically located in a place of his choice) and ePatient (a patient assisted by a General Medical Practitioner). The eHealth solution comprises of four components: a web-based EMR System (developed using Open Source Technologies and Existing Infrastructure under General Public License (GPL), a Mobile Communication System, a Change Management Methodology and a sustainable Business Model. Moreover, the solution is designed and developed in a way it can be even deployed in a mobile vehicle which can be used to reach patients who have no access to specialized consultancies. This solution would consequently, utilize the low number of specialists available in the developing world effectively. It was successfully implemented at the Base Hospital, Marawila and District Hospital, Dankotuwa as an evolutionary prototype: ViduSuwa (http://www.vidusuwa.com) in the form of an action research with a participatory approach giving remarkable results in terms of Cost Reduction (by 90.94%), Time-to-travel Reduction (by 80%) and Travel Distance Reduction (75%) in ePatients receiving eConsultation through the system. Moreover, it was determined that patients felt more relaxed receiving Consultation through this System. Accordingly, the Mobile eHealth Solution could provide Health Consultation to both rural and urban communities in developing countries at less cost, travel time and travel distance, making a healthy population that will in turn catalyze national development.
Published on May 29, 2012