MobilTEK Launches First International Telehealth Program
The following is a guest article by Sara Hendren, Global Telehealth Lead at MobilTeK by Care on Location.
MobilTEK, launched its first international telehealth program in the department of Chuquisaca Bolivia in March of 2022. Through a collaborative partnership with Alliance Bolivia, PROCOSI, and SEDES Chuquisaca, two MobilTEK telehealth exam kits were placed in the communities of Zudanez and El Villar through a pilot program that will study the acceptability, useability, and adaptability of telehealth technology in relation to the current flow of patient care and to address the distance gap between specialist and patients in rural locations.
The two-month pilot program will provide evidence base for the use of telehealth technology to improve clinical and public health outcomes in cardiology disease, specifically targeting Chagas disease. Chagas disease is an inflammatory infectious disease transmitted through parasites common in Mexico and throughout Latin and Central America. The data gathered during the two-month pilot will be used to support the development of a long-term telehealth program in Chuquisaca in 2023. The telehealth program will provide improved access to healthcare services and cardiology specialty care to a population of over 25,000 rural Bolivians in the state of Chuquisaca.
During the launch of the pilot program, representatives from MobilTEK completed two days of hands-on training on the MobilTEK telehealth kit for 31 health providers and staff at SEDES clinics in Zudanez and El Villar. Training included extensive focus on the telehealth kit device features as well as hands on patient care use at both rural clinics.
Income level, ethnic origin, and geographical location serve as primary determinants of people’s access to health care, telemedicine constitutes a viable approach to overcoming many of the existing barriers to care. The MobilTEK telehealth kit and their international telehealth program creates time and place independence in healthcare by bridging the gap between the physician and patient resulting in improved patient care flow, and increased capacity of healthcare provider workflow.
Patients in communities surrounding Zudanez and El Villar have extremely limited access to specialists and must travel in most cases 4 plus hours to Sucre for consults and treatment. Distance is not the only barrier to access to specialists for Bolivians living in rural locations. The cost of travel, accommodations, food, and time away from work are additional barriers that prohibit patients from seeking specialty care.
MobilTEK has plans to replicate the telehealth pilot program in two additional departments in Bolivia by the end of 2022, providing improved access to healthcare and specialty care to 4 additional rural communities and approximately 34,000 additional Bolivians.