mHealth Nonprofit Saves Lives Delivering Medical Education to Clinicians In Underserved Regions

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Learn how this mHealth nonprofit saves lives delivering medical education to clinicians in underserved regions to enhance healthcare around the world. Devin Paullin gives us details.

What if an app could save a life? That’s the powerful question Health eVillages (HeV) posed last year when it emerged with a mission to provide medical support to clinicians in underserved countries via mobile devices. Since then, the program has saved a life—one just beginning in fact—and it isn’t stopping there.

HeV is the brainchild of Physicians Interactive, a Mass-based company that develops digital products (including educations programs) for physicians. It was founded in September 2011, after partnering with the not-for-profit Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

mHealth Nonprofit Saves Lives Delivering Medical Education to Clinicians In Undeserved Regions

Clinicians use smartphones, laptops and tablets.

The program provides handheld devices, such as iPod Touches and iPads, to clinicians in countries all over the world. In its first year, it established pilot programs in China, Uganda, Haiti, and Kenya—where the first life, a newborn in Lwala— was saved.

Now, HeV plans to take its effort one step further by providing a wider scope of specialized medical content to those underserved regions. Earlier this month, HeV announced it’s launching an education initiative through its partnership with Oakstone Publishing, LLC and the medical education provider’s CMEinfo video learning tools.

The convergence of these tools and HeV’s tablets will provide clinicians with access to the latest information regarding clinical procedures, lectures from high-profile medical professionals, and detailed medical knowledge from over 40 different medical specialties. It’s going to help saves lives, and hopefully, lots of them.

According to Physicians Interactive’s Devin Paullin, this next move for HeV stems back to its founding desire to give back to the community. After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Paullin and his colleagues recognized that workers in distressed locations had little if no access to medical resources and information. Turns out, the answer was right under the company’s nose, as pointed out by its CEO and Vice Chairman, Donato Tramuto.

“He sparked the idea,” said Paullin, vice president of corporate business development at Physicians Interactive and member of HeV’s advisory board. “Our Skyscape Medical Resources App was already an established solution used by clinicians worldwide. As such, we were able to quickly deploy this product platform to any location and meet basic medical information needs for those in underserved environments.”

Educating for Impact

With this new initiative now in the works, HeV can go beyond the basics and provide a wide array of resources. The material has been carefully pre-selected from Oakstone’s existing medical library with an emphasis on anesthesiology and surgery practices. Access to such materials will allow clinicians to review or learn new procedures and learn from guest lecturers.

The pilot is set to take place at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya, a teaching institution that treats 10,000 patients a month, who travel to the facility from all across East Africa. According to Paullin, Kijabe is the prime location for the initiative’s launch, with its needs as vast as its potential to make lasting progress.

“Kijabe trains clinicians that will not only stay in Kenya but will go to other African countries,” he said. By focusing the program on empowering a select number of ‘teachers,’ we can best manage scale and scope, and thus provide training to those who can take the program and skills with them to impact the entire region.”

Aside from its efforts abroad, HeV plans to bring its good deeds a little closer to home. Next year, it will launch a pilot program in rural Louisiana. Paullin explained he believes HeV’s efforts will be equally impactful in non-traditional practice settings (such as mobile vans, health fairs, in the streets to help the homeless, or patient homes) in the US.

Regardless of where HeV goes next, Paullin said its mission remains clear. “Everyone around the world should have access to high-quality healthcare. Here at HeV, we’re not willing to wait for the change. We’re hoping that our efforts to bring mobile technology to clinicians around the globe will inspire others to learn more about the program and get involved.”

You can help HeV by donating old mobile devices or by making a small contribution to fund trips to the HeV clinics in 2013.

To learn more about HeV and to see how this program has helped save a life in Lwala, Kenya, please watch and share this inspiring story here: