June 5, 2018

Real world health problems leading to smart community solutions – The Slums of Delhi


Phenix Health has for a long time been associated with the Indian people. Following our trip last year with Austrade to India during the ABWI (Australia Business Week India) we were fortunate to meet with the compassionate Dr Monica who is working with the Holy Family Hospital in Delhi India.

Dr Monica writes of her plight for the people she genuinely cares for.

Dear All,

I am a clinician who has practised in resource rich, urban settings – my apologies for lack of expertise; what I bring to the table is a desire to improve access to A class, affordable services for the urban poor. I visited the Ali Gaon and Ali Vihar slums yesterday with the community health team from Holy Family Hospital. These clusters are barely half a kilometre from the main Delhi Mathura road, on which are situated swank offices and the super tertiary Apollo hospital, symbols of shining India, and success of globalization and the market economy; yet that change has not reached half a kilometre off the main road into these jhuggi jhopdis, and tenement housing with smelly drains and open defecation.

Thirty years ago, I used to visit Gautam Nagar slums behind AIIMS (which used to be served by Sharan- the occupants of the slums were moved to the area that I visited yesterday – it’s a full generation later, but the health condition, illiteracy, lack of knowledge about when to access a hospital, the sense of helplessness and financial powerlessness are unchanged. Thirty years ago, well meaning NGO’s and individuals used to try and offer help by way of dispensing medication, and writing referral slips to the neighboring hospitals; we from Holy Family Hospital did the same exact activity yesterday (one definition of insanity – doing the same thing and expecting a different result ?)

So, what can we do different this time around?

We need to brainstorm, innovate, and deliver services that will bring change.

So Phenix Health listened and we sent our key technology lead (previously from Hyderabad) residing in Brisbane to Delhi to immerse himself in the Slum project initiative in trying to find a solution using our smart technology that could help improve and bring about some positive change to a worsening social and health issue.

Naturally we were presented with numerous challenges.

The Situation

Holy Family Hospital has had donated a couple of mobile health vans to go out to the slums where they diagnose, treat and administer medication to 100s of people in a day. In fact at any one time 1 x Doctor and 2-3 nurses and a driver (crowd control and safety of the doctors/nurses) could have over a 100-200 patients waiting in a line to receive treatment. These people are very poor and can not afford treatments, transport or the time off from work to go and be treated at the hospitals. This is their only option.

Prior to Phenix Health association HFH treated but did not record any health data from the patients. Consequently, there is no historical understanding of what has happened to these people who have low literacy levels and little health education knowledge. The mobile vans provide a visible symbol that they are not forgotten.

Some of the other encountered issues and solutions:

  • No patient identification: Phenix Health have resolved this by building our own Aadhaar QR BarCard reader (12 digit unique identifier for the residents of India collecting biometric and demographic data). This saves duplication of patients in the database and the Information from this card saves significant time in entering patients details. This data allows for geo location of that particular patient for reporting and analytics. Doctors are able to place their clinical notes of the patients at the time of consult and record vitals data and medication dispensed.
  • Lack of connectivity to internet – Phenix Health is nearing completion of an offline access of the data to overcome the inability to connect in areas. This then allows for the nurses when back at the hospital to upload and sync with the Administration at the hospital on their return. This amends the current record without overwriting previous records. Essential from many countries with internet connection issues.
  • Lack of time by the doctors and nurses : Phenix Health was able to adapt previous developed software to create a simple and effective and efficient system for the doctors and nurses enabling them to see huge volumes of 100s of patients a day.

Phenix Health has designed a suite of useful mobile software and workflow applications to resolve remote connectivity for mobile clinics such as the slums of Delhi.

One of our unique offerings is a software program developed for the use by Ambulance Victoria with the assistance from Advance Queensland and that was to cluster map on a live platform allowing the Emergency services to track where there were hot spots for call outs. We have now adapted that platform for the use in India and other 3rd world countries that are particularly looking for solutions to outbreaks of communicable diseases such as Aids/HIC, Malaria, TB which in areas such as slums where the conditions are far from healthy allow government the ability to monitor and respond to these outbreaks in a timely and appropriate fashion. Hot cluster mapping of health outbreaks is apparently not included in any other software. We believe that the doctors, nurses, and hospital team deserve to be commended on their social initiative.

Should anybody be interested in knowing more about our project and the software that we have available to run these type of initiatives or wish to assist funding this currently self funded initiative, we welcome your inquiry.

June 5, 2018