Delhi’s Mohalla Clinics Gather Big Data On Public Health

Using and analysing digital health records, a Bengaluru-based start-up initiative hopes to change the way India’s healthcare space functions.

New Delhi: A physician at a mohalla clinic in Delhi’s Todapur district sees 60-70 patients every day. He spends four minutes with his patients, who majorly comprise of women and children. Each of his patients is contributing to public health data in the capital city.

Using and analysing digital health records, a Bengaluru-based start-up initiative hopes to change the way India’s healthcare space functions.

The tech start-up MedOnGo, founded by B.Tech graduate Balaji Krishnamaggaru, has in the last year, collected data of over three million public health consultations.  Mr Krishnamagarru feels that the patient-doctor interaction time represents crucial medical data and can make an impact in the healthcare space.

In the last year, the initiative joined hands with Delhi’s mohalla clinics and the WISH Foundation and got over 100 clinic doctors on board. Each doctor is trained to enter patient data into a tablet, which stores personal details, symptoms, diagnosis, tests and prescriptions per visit.

Dr Shoebul Haque, physician at Munirka’s mohalla clinic, said, “In the beginning it was difficult to get used to it, but now that I use it every day and prefer it to the older, manual method of pen-paper records.”

Patients often forget the medical records at home, now we have their data on out fingertips, he added.

Amit Jain, CEO of the WISH Foundation, explained, “This technology helps us look at the data analytics of every person who comes into a mohalla clinic. This kind of public record has never existed before.”

The system is linked to an automated 60-medicine capacity vending machine which reads signals off the tablet and immediately releases the prescribed drug.

Over the last year, 70 per cent of patients at the mohalla clinic have been women, children and elderly, and 30 per cent have been repeat consultations. This system has gathered immense data regarding public healthcare on the ground and can now be used to predict health trends and take preventive action.

“If you continue analysing trends you can have larger applications in the public health system,” says Irfan Khan, head of the mohalla clinics programme, WISH foundation.

This data that can be sliced by age, sex, geography and disease pattern has made accessible to the Health Ministry by MedOnGo.

It can be used to make public health policy measures and show cases of typhoid in one mohalla or district that could indicate water contamination.

“If you maintain the data in the tablet for several years then you can retrieve it and you can know the trend of diseases in a particular year, season and geography. You can then tailor your public health system for prevention,” says Dr Bal from the Todapur mohalla clinic.

The system is also linked to an automated 60-medicine capacity vending machine which reads signals off the tablet and immediately releases the prescribed drug.

While MedOnGo has gathered data worth three million consultations in the last year itself, the road getting here was not easy. The first challenge was that patients had no ID proof or phone number.

“How do you identify a patient uniquely when he doesn’t have a UID number, Aadhar card, ration card, phone number, address proof – nothing,” asks Mr Krishnamaggaru.

He found that the solution to this was a smart photo-tagging system that recognised faces, along with the mothers’ name of the patients as a second layer of identification.

Another obstacle for the initiative was training of over 100 doctors to use this tablet, which had to be baselined for all physicians from tech-savvy ones to those who had to be on-boarded from scratch.

Overcoming all these challenges, this initiative has paved way to a digital record-keeping that can help formulate health policies in future.

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