Note: This blog entry is from Messias Soares, 19Labs Business Development Head.
Growing up in the Brazilian countryside, I was exposed firsthand to the challenges of rural healthcare. Working with 19Labs, I've had the privilege of traveling worldwide to understand client needs and broaden my perspective — so I thought it would be great to share some tips on how to effectively deploy telehealth in rural schools & communities.
Tip #1: Good Connectivity Is Essential
Telehealth requires reliable connectivity. This means that you need a dependable internet connection, as well as a telehealth platform that can deliver and function when connectivity fluctuates. Through 19Labs' partnerships with Viasat and AT&T, we can offer customers a convenient "one-stop telehealth shop" — and get you reliable internet if you need it. Check out how these partnerships allowed us to bring telehealth and connectivity to rural areas in Molokai, Hawaii! Tip #2: Democratize Care Through Collaboration & Usability
There is a global shortage of doctors and clinicians in rural areas. In rural Utah, one nurse has to cover five schools (about ~3,500 students). Having an "Uber for Healthcare" that allows multiple doctors from different organizations to cooperate & provide healthcare to these locations is key.
Example, see below how care can be provided from four different organizations, using two different technologies (Zoom & Amwell), in a single point-of-care tablet. This allows clinicians to remotely conduct full medical exams from their office — or even while working from home.
Ease of use is also critical in democratizing care. Rural areas have limited resources, and local community workers (or other non-healthcare professionals) should be able to operate the solution with 1-2 hours of training. GALE is built for usability — in rural Mexico, a local high school graduate runs a GALE-equipped clinic all by herself!
Tip #3: Go Beyond Video — Doctors Need Clinical Data
"Video-only" telehealth solutions are inherently limited to a small percentage of healthcare use cases. Doctors need clinical data from diagnostic equipment to make informed decisions and effectively treat patients. Our GALE open platform has a growing portfolio of 25+ smart diagnostic devices such as five exam cameras, stethoscopes, & pulse oximeters — to advanced technologies such as ultrasounds & 12-Lead ECG.
Having a deployment management system is also important. Each location has different patients with different clinical needs, and it's crucial to have a platform that allows you to manage each end unit and configure which devices or workflows to use.
About 19Labs 19Labs is the creator of GALE: Next Generation Point-of-Care platform for pharmacies, schools, and rural communities. GALE brings together cutting-edge diagnostic technologies from industry leaders like Zoom, Elo, Amwell, Eko, Samsung Mobile, MIR, Omron, Viasat, and many others in one smart, efficient, and cost-effective platform. It was designed from the ground up to be operated by non-healthcare professionals, in locations with limited infrastructure and optimized for low bandwidth and intermittent connectivity. To learn more about GALE, please visit www.19labs.com/platform.