Himachal model shows the way

Pilot project in Solan district screens patients and uses smartphone-enabled system to manage hypertension

By Jyotsna Singh
Published: Saturday 06 April 2013

imageA pilot programme being implemented in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh could prove to be a model for health authorities of other districts to improve detection and management of diabetes and hypertension. The pilot by Delhi-based research organisation Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC) in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences uses a smartphone-based decision support system for follow-up of patients found suffering from these conditions. Through the programme, CCDC is also generating data to evaluate the success of community outreach, screening and use of mobile technology in ensuring better results.

The project started last year in five primary health centres (PHCs) in Nalagarh, Kunihar, Darlaghat, Dharampur and Syri. From November 2012 to March 2013, a total of 7,500 OPD patients were screened, out of whom nearly 1,600 had hypertension or diabetes or both. Fifty-three per cent of all individuals with hypertension were those whose condition was newly detected.

"We need at least two years of data for further analysis. But still the existing data shows that if screening is done more intensively, then we can catch more people with the disease and treat them," said D Prabhakaran, executive director of CCDC. He said the data generated through the project will be used to design a feasible and sustainable evidence-based, decision support-enabled, health care delivery model for the management of hypertension and diabetes at the primary health care facilities

image"The nurses in the health centres are being trained to enter data on mobile phones each time the patient's blood pressure is checked. Whenever the mobile is connected to 3G, the data is sent to a central data collection centre. Through the use of technology, patients are reminded after every three months to visit the facility for treatment," said Prabhakaran.

In the model that is being developed, all patients who come to the primary health centres are tested for blood pressure. This eliminates possibility of missing out patients who are suffering from the disease but do not come for its specific check-up."We found that 50 per cent cases were going unreported till all patients started to be screened," said Prabhakaran.

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