Researchers from the George Institute for Global Health has developed an innovative smartphone app-- Smart Health--that could enable community health workers track the growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, especially in the rural areas.
The app will be used by community health workers called as ASHAs, who will be trained to screen and identify people suffering from diabetes or at high risk of the disease in the rural communities. The ASHAs will then offer them lifestyle and diet advice, refer them to a doctor for drug treatment, and follow up on their adherence to treatment and control.
“Around 50 million people in India have Type 2 diabetes and that number is growing every year. The app will help people living in rural areas to access timely, affordable and guideline-based healthcare in the community, reduce the risk of developing life-threatening complications and ultimately save lives,” Vivekanand Jha, Professor and Executive Director of The George Institute for Global Health, said in a statement.
“Digital technology coupled with using the experience and knowledge of local health workers. This is innovation at its best,” he added. An estimated 25 million people have diabetes in rural India and the number is rising rapidly, the statement said.
The app will expand the role of community health workers with digital technology and help address the growing burden on chronic disease. It can also serve an example to other countries struggling with the rising cost of providing essential healthcare to their citizens, the researchers said.