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Health eVillages update: Expanding a rural hospital in Kenya

As you may know, I am a member of the advisory board of Health eVillages. Every so often, the organization does something extraordinary, and I want to share one of those moments here. Actually, I want to share two.

In December, Health eVillages Founder Donato Tramuto, CEO of Physicians Interactive, won a tremendous honor, a 2014 RFK Ripple of Hope Award, from the newly renamed Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization. (The other three honorees were three nobodies named Robert De Niro, Tony Bennett and Hillary Clinton.)

Today, Health eVillages released this bit of news:

Health eVillages Raises Funds to Expand Rural Hospital in Kenya

New wing will help Lwala Community Alliance (LCA) to further reduce infant and maternal mortality rates

READING, MA – (January 27, 2015) –Health eVillages, a program of the not-for-profit Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization and Physicians Interactive, announced today that construction has started on a new wing to expand the first hospital in Lwala, Kenya, as well as housing for clinicians and their families.

The announcement, made by Health eVillages Founder Donato Tramuto, builds on the success of a partnership with Lwala Community Alliance (LCA), a local health and development organization.

“In just four years, the early infant mortality rate has been cut almost by half in our area,” said James Nardella, LCA’s Executive Director. “With the help of partners like Health eVillages, skilled delivery rates have rapidly increased. In 2010, only 26% of births were attended by a trained nurse. That has risen to 96% with the wonderful assistance of Health eVillages.”

He continued, “The expansion of our maternal health facilities and housing for our clinicians and their families will immediately improve the outcomes for more Lwala mothers and their babies, while creating local employment opportunities for Kenyan nurses and other clinical professionals for years to come.”

The rapid expansion was made possible by the success of Health eVillages’ partnerships and the financial support of nearly 100 private donors, including Physicians Interactive.

When it is completed, the 1,500-square-foot wing will add 12 beds to the rural hospital, two exam rooms for outpatient visits, full separation of the well-child visit area from sick-patient areas, and separate men’s and women’s in-patient wards. The wing will also offer new laboratory space with specialized rooms for blood drawing, sterilization and microbiology, as well as a new space for HIV client counseling.

Health eVillages also is adding eight housing units with more than 6,000 square feet of living space, so LCA’s clinical staff can be immediately available on-site during emergency care situations.

The majority of the caregivers at the hospital are with the LCA, a Health eVillages partner whose mission is to advance the health and well-being of people living in the rural region in Western Kenya. Founded by Milton and Fred Ochieng’, US-trained physicians who are natives of Lwala, the Alliance’s first major project was the completion of the Erastus Ochieng’ Memorial Lwala Community Hospital. Initially conceived as a facility to treat HIV/AIDS patients, over time the hospital has expanded to include multiple public health services, including services to pregnant women.

The LCA’s community health workers recruit and enroll women of reproductive age in Migori County through its Safe Babies program to participate in the entire continuum of prenatal, maternal, neonatal and child healthcare services. Health eVillages currently helps fund prenatal and postnatal immunizations as part of the program. It also provides mobile handheld devices (from Physicians Interactive) to the LCA’s 80+ community health workers and the hospital’s clinical staff, as they work to improve primary and preventive healthcare throughout the region.

“It is incredibly gratifying to watch this successful facility grow, knowing that the additional space will give more babies in Lwala a healthy start to life, which every mother in the world wants for her child,” said Tramuto, who is also the Chairman and CEO of Physicians Interactive and the recipient of the 2014 RFK Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award. “It is a testament to the LCA’s hard-working caregivers that the demand for their services is only increasing as families throughout Migori County witness the significant decline in infant and maternity mortality rates in their community.”

About Health eVillages

Health eVillages, a program of the not-for-profit Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization and Physicians Interactive, provides state-of-the-art mobile health technology including medical reference and clinical decision-support resources to medical professionals in the most challenging clinical environments around the world. For more information about Health eVillages, please visit http://www.healthevillages.org/. 

About Physicians Interactive

Headquartered in Reading, MA, PI aspires to use the power of worldwide networks of healthcare professionals and life sciences companies, together, in ways that will change the practice and business of medicine for the better. PI’s value proposition is to offer the life science industry a low-cost, virtual, multichannel marketing approach that can be used to supplement currently promoted products, as well as non-promoted and orphaned products, that deliver benefits to physicians and patients. A key focus is providing services that fit into physicians’ and healthcare professionals’ daily workflow at the point-of-care, when they make diagnosis, treatment, and prescribing decisions. More information can be found at www.PhysiciansInteractive.com.

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It’s more proof that mobile devices can have a positive effect on health pretty much anywhere in the world.

 

 

January 27, 2015 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Great news from Health eVillages

As a board member of Health eVillages, I’m proud to share this video from rural Lwala, Kenya, where clinicians and other health workers are harnessing the power of mobile technology to deliver better care and, for some people, the first real healthcare they have ever had. This video, from from when Health eVillages Co-Founder Donato Trumato and Program Manager Matt Linder trekked to Lwala in October, shows how mobile health is helping local women deliver healthy babies.

Subsequent to this trip, the Lwala Community Alliance highlighted the work of Health eVillages here. Then, at a Health eVillages board meeting in December, Trumato issued a challenge to raise $150,000 to construct a dedicated maternity ward at the hospital in Lwala by year’s end. Physicians Interactive, of which Trumato is CEO, pledged half that total, and then others far wealthier than I stepped up and helped Trumato met the goal by Dec. 26. Operating funds are still necessary, and Health eVillages (or “Heal the Villages,” as one partner has pointed out) wants to help more people, including some at a site in rural Louisiana.

Since 2012, Health eVillages has helped the Lwala Community Alliance cut early infant mortality in half (from 60 per 1,000 births to 31 per 1,000). However, the Lwala still area happens to have the highest HIV/AIDS rate in all of Kenya, so education, care and prevention are critical. Here’s an overview on the Health eVillages-Lwala Community Alliance partnership (.pdf). To donate, visit http://lwalacommunityalliance.org/donate/.

Thanks, and stay tuned for more updates.

January 26, 2014 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Great news for Health eVillages

As a board member of Health eVillages, a program that provides mobile health tools to help extend the reach and knowledge of health workers in remote and underserved parts of the world, I am thrilled to hear that the organization has raised $58,000 this month.

Most of the money, $38,000, came from the first-ever “Apps Save Lives” golf tournament, held Aug. 16 at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough Township, N.J. The other $20,000 was in the form of a grant from the Vodafone Americas Foundation, announced Aug. 11.

From Physicians Interactive, which established and provides administrative support to Health eVillages:

Health eVillages Raises $58,000 for Global mHealth Program in August

Mission Benefits From First “Apps Save Lives” Golf Tournament, Vodafone Americas Foundation Grant

READING, MA–(Marketwired – Aug 27, 2013) – Health eVillages, which provides mobile health technology to rural healthcare providers around the globe, announced today that it raised $58,000 in August through its inaugural “Apps Save Lives” golf tournament in New Jersey and a grant from the Vodafone Americas Foundation.

The tournament, hosted by Physicians Interactive (PI), the leading provider of online and mobile clinical resources and solutions for healthcare professionals, and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, was held on August 16th at the Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey. It drew representatives from fifteen different life science organizations, including eight major pharmaceutical companies, and raised $38,000.

The Vodafone Americas Foundation, which strives to improve lives through wireless and mobile technology, also announced a $20,000 grant on August 11th to benefit Health eVillages programs. The grant will be used to help further the Health eVillages mission to empower healthcare providers in the most challenging clinical environments anywhere in the world through mHealth technology that helps them to save lives.

“I want to thank all of the Apps Save Lives tournament sponsors and the Vodafone Americas Foundation for their tremendous support of Health eVillages,” said Donato Tramuto, Founder of Health eVillages and Chairman of the Board and CEO of Physicians Interactive. “There was an electrifying sense of energy throughout the day at the tournament as everyone united in support of our mission to use mobile apps to help save lives and advance care delivery in underserved regions around the world.”

Tramuto and Physicians Interactive founded Health eVillages in October 2011 in partnership with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights to address the knowledge gap faced by healthcare providers around the world. Since then, Health eVillages has provided support to clinicians who have conducted more than 50,000 patient interactions in underserved areas.

Health eVillages provides iPods and iPads loaded with medical reference and clinical decision support apps through six pilot programs to medical professionals in Uganda, Kenya, China, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Pacific Island nations and rural Louisiana. Physicians Interactive supplies the medical content for the mobile devices through its Skyscape platform.

Anyone interested in contributing money or devices to Health eVillages can do so through its website. Corporate sponsorships of Health eVillages are also available. For more information about corporate sponsorships, contact Merrill Press at merrill.press@healthevillages.org.

Also, Health eVillages founder Donato Trumato is a finalist for the 2013 Modern Healthcare Community Leadership Award. I encourage you to vote for him here. Voting is open through Sept. 20.

 

August 29, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Apple highlights Skyscape, Health eVillages, other health apps

As you may know, I am on the advisory board of Health eVillages, The program got a huge honor Monday by being featured in a video shown at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference — you know, the annual meeting that’s always a hot ticket among Mac-heads and app developers because Apple usually unveils its latest products there. (Last week was no exception. Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced iOS 7, albeit to mixed reviews.)

In the video, called, “Making a difference. One app at a time,” Apple highlighted Skyscape, the company that makes the mobile medical reference software that Health eVillages, and sent a camera crew to a Health eVillages pilot site in rural Lwala, Uganda. A nurse from the clinic showed how he visits patients by motorcycle, using an iPad to help treat and educate the area’s residents. (Skyscape parent company Physicians Interactive provides operational support to Health eVillages, and CEO Donato Trumato, also featured in the video, co-founded the program with Kerry Kennedy.)

Two of the other three apps that Apple chose to include also are related to healthcare: Galileo, an app from Orthocare Innovations that helps amputees adjust prosthetic limbs; and Proloquo2Go, a product from AssistiveWare that in the video helped an apparently autistic child learn to speak.

June 13, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Attending Health 2.0? Donate your old smartphone

If you’re planning on attending the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco next Monday and Tuesday, Health eVillages, a program of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, will be collecting used Apple iOS and Android mobile devices. Health eVillages, of which I am a member of the advisory board, will refurbish your device and load it with medical reference materials, clinical decision support tools, drug dosage calculators and other mobile health tools and deploy it to a clinician working in a developing country, helping to bring higher-quality care to that community.

Current Health eVillages sites are in Haiti, China, Kenya, Uganda, with more to come.

If you have a used iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android phone or and tablet (sorry, no BlackBerrys, which is what I happen to have), drop it off at the Health 2.0 registration desk or at the Physicians Interactive booth (No. 37) in the exhibit hall.

If you want to learn more about Health eVillages, founder Donato Trumato, CEO and vice chairman of Physicians Interactive, will be speaking for about 5 minutes on the main stage the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 9, and then will lead a lunchtime presentation at 12:50 p.m. PDT in the Imperial B ballroom at the Hilton San Francisco.

I will be there, too, participating the “3 CEOs” session Tuesday at 8:10 a.m. I will be interviewing Phytel CEO Steve Schelhammer live on stage. Am I nervous? Only about having to get up that early.

 

October 2, 2012 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Learn about Health eVillages at HIMSS12

Remember Health eVillages, the program launched last fall to bring mobile medical reference and decision support technology to clinicians in underserved parts of the world, including poor communities right here in the U.S.? You know, the project of the Robert F. Kennedy  Center for Justice and Human Rights and mobile medical content provider Physicians Interactive, the one I am serving on the advisory board of?

You probably haven’t heard too much of late, but you will be able to learn more about Health eVillages at the upcoming HIMSS conference — slightly more than a week away, if you can believe it. That’s because co-founding partner and Physicians Interactive CEO and Vice Chairman Donato Tramuto will be presenting about Health eVillages a week from Thursday, Feb. 23. Here are the details:

Title: “No Power, No Internet, No Problem:  Mobile HIT Improves Care Worldwide” (Session #138)

Description: This session will use real cases to explore how “Health eVillages” brings mobile medical technology to challenging rural clinical environments around the world, helping clinicians deliver safer, more effective healthcare.

Date/Time: Feb. 23, 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. PST

Location:  Venetian-Palazzo-Sands Expo Convention Center, Las Vegas

Room:  Marco Polo 803

Objectives:

  • Describe how Health eVillages and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights have partnered to improve patient care via mobile technology and medical information
  • Recognize the value of easily adaptable mobile devices deployed in remote areas
  • Discuss the unique needs and challenges of rural medical environments in developing nations
  • Outline how you can help Health eVillages enable practitioners to deliver safer and more efficient medical care worldwide

If you are interested at all in how mobile technology is having an incredible impact on healthcare and health education in low-resource communities all over the world — perhaps even a greater effect than in wealthier areas — you will want to attend the session. This is taking place immediately after the keynote address by national health IT coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari. You’ll probably be pretty energized after Mostashari speaks, and Donato’s session is sure to be eye-opening and uplifting. That’s not a bad morning, if I do say so myself.

By the way, Health eVillages is seeking additional sponsors and sources of funding. Drop me a line or speak with Donato at HIMSS if you are interested. Thanks.

I hope to see you in Las Vegas.

 

February 12, 2012 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.