Mobile healthcare has seen soaring success in developing countries in recent years, and now two major players—Teche Action Board, Inc. and Physicians Interactive, along with the latter's initiative, Health eVillages—are bringing the same mobile devices equipped with medical videos and other tutorials to low-income areas in rural Louisiana affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Teche Action Clinics in Louisiana previously relied on books and spotty internet service, but now mobile apps and devices will help medical personnel access current guidelines and best practices.
"We are building these mobile devices and pre-loading them with information that is specific to dermatological diseases as a result of a toxic chemical spill," Donato Tramuto, CEO and Vice Chairman of Physicians Interactive and Founder and Chairman of Health eVillages, told Fierce Heathcare.
Tramuto says the goal of the project is to speed up the delivery of services for those affected by the oil spill, as well as to collect data from patients so that attending physicians can be better prepared.
A Global Precedent
Health eVillages has already provided rural communities in China, Kenya, and elsewhere with iPods and iPads loaded with videos and other tools. And just last month, the organization announced a new initiative in Haiti whereby nurses will receive improved French-language medical education with the help of mobile tools.
After identifying the right partners, the group then turned its attention to domestic projects.
"Health eVillages identified the opportunity to partner with Teche in response to the work its partner, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, has done more broadly around health disparities and access to health care in the Gulf Coast," Tramuto tells Healthline.
Serving Community Needs
Physicians Interactive's Skyscape medical resource app is the primary tool aimed at doctors on the Gulf Coast. The app is available on-demand and focuses on primary care, mother and child health, tropical diseases, and chronic conditions.
"With these mobile technology resources now literally at our fingertips, the staff in our clinics will benefit from access to the latest medical developments, training materials, and drug alerts and help improve the health and well-being of our patients and our community," said Dr. Gary Wiltz, the CEO of the Teche Action Board, Inc.