Connected care set to improve mother and child health in India

Mother and childcare is an area which is of key importance to measure the health parameters of a

Mother and childcare is an area which is of key importance to measure the health parameters of a country. Lancet recently released a ranking of the healthcare systems across the world and India was ranked 154th out of 199 countries. This is mostly because of the Infant Mortality and Maternal Mortality rates in India. Though India has managed to bring down infant mortality from 57 to 41 per 1000 live births over the years, this remains one of our biggest health challenges. Even the 12th 5 year plan talks about this and the importance it brings  in at a National level.

 

Recently I had the chance to visit the Philips Innovation Campus (PIC) and I got around to talking to Ravi Ramaswamy, Head of Health systems, PIC. I was curious if Philips had done any work in the area. That’s when Ravi told me about The Philips Mobile Obstetrics Monitoring (MOM) that tracks a mother’s health from conception to delivery.

MOM is a software solution that helps community caregivers and doctors work together to identify and manage high-risk pregnancies, bringing care to where it’s urgently needed: primary health centers and patient homes. MOM features a way for community caregivers to capture vital information so that a clinical decision support (CDS) pregnancy risk level can be calculated. This helps standardize pregnancy risk stratification so that high-risk cases are not missed. Mobile applications connect doctor, caregiver, and patient for diagnostic assistance and progress assessment. What is interesting is that this solution has been built in India, keeping in mind the challenges one might face while visiting an expecting mother in a rural setting. The information is relayed back to the doctor or physician, which he can view through a doctor’s application. All this information is also stored in the MOM portal which can be accessed from the rural medical center. Below chart gives a workflow of MOM.

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(Source: Philips Mobile Obstetrics Monitoring Brochure)

“This is a key solution that would really improve the health of both mother and child” Says Ravi Ramaswamy , Sr. Director and Head of Health systems PIC “ The solution has a simple interface, with a check list that can help the ASHA worker to record the key clinical parameters”

The solution is indeed very simple and it is so small that fits into a backpack. It consists of a mobile phone that has a touch screen and all the ASHA worker should do is to select observations form a drop-down checklist.  Considering the lack of connectivity in the rural area it operates totally offline. The MOM backpack also contains a mobile Fetal Doppler. This instrument is charged by a winding mechanism, like we used have in radios in the older times. So it does not depend on the electricity supply and the ASHA worked can record her observation irrespective of the availability of infrastructure. You are now in a position to measure the Fetal heart rate even when you are off grid (no power supply around).

The feature I personally liked about MOM is the risk stratification. The analytics built into the system ensures that the high risk pregnancies are identified in the very beginning. This helps the physician/ GP or Gynecologist to monitor the high risk pregnancies. I have always felt that we have to be smart about where we spend our limited time and resources. This is another example of how technology and digital is helping us increase efficiency and improve care outcomes.

The MOM solution has been piloted at Yadgir in Maharashtra at 4 Primary health Centers (PHCs) and one District hospital (DH) covering more than 1500 patients. The program is being run in collaboration with Narayana Hruduyalaya (NH).  But the biggest success of MOM is in Indonesia where the solution resulted in lowering maternal deaths to zero in the Padang district of West Sumatra. More than 600 women were monitored as part of the program.  High risk cases including chronic anemia were identified early and managed well. The program has been so successful that there is increased enrollment and footfalls into the program.

“We do have chronic problems like the shortage of nurses and doctors in rural settings” Says Ravi “ Technology is helping us overcome those gaps while increasing the efficiency of our healthcare system”

 

Ravi Ramaswamy will be speaking about MOM and other innovations from the Philips Innovation Campus at the Philips Digital Health Conclave to be held on July 28th at Bangalore. Do register for the event if you want to know more about MOM and other initiatives by Philips in the mother and child care.

I will be attending the conclave as well so do look forward to meeting you all there.

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