Reaching everyone, everywhere: Better access to care with telehealth
Thomas Yaw Berko rides an old bicycle 30km each way to reach some of the communities he works in as a volunteer health worker in southern Ghana. For the 7,000 people in the district he serves, early detection and diagnosis can mean the difference between an infection that can be treated in the home and one that could mean months in a hospital and possible long-term disability.
Almost half the world lacks access to essential health services, and in many places, health workers like Thomas are the first and sometimes only way people can get access to any level of health services.
Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) brings attention the biggest global health challenges on World Health Day. This year’s theme is universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere. It’s about making sure that all people can get access to quality healthcare, where and when they need it, without suffering financial hardships. Right now, about 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty (less than $1.90/day) because of health expenditures.
Digital technologies can help alleviate some of the stresses put on health systems by rising costs, staff shortages, ageing populations, and more. But solutions like telehealth have not yet reached scale, especially in the places where people could benefit from them the most.
However, around the world, telehealth is starting to have an impact on how patients seek care and how doctors improve and scale their skills. See 3 examples of how collaboration solutions are enabling access to healthcare for everyone, everywhere:
Getting access to specialists can be a challenge in small, regional hospitals. With telehealth, patients and local clinicians can get diagnostic support and consultations without leaving their community.
From an office in Mendoza, doctors are providing consultations, real-time diagnoses, and treatment recommendations for patients hundreds of miles away. It’s helping to cut travel costs, enable high-quality visits with patients, and deliver consistent online training for doctors in branch offices.
Patients were traveling hours away from their home to seek superior care. Through collaboration technology, the experts at Viet Duc Hospital are now able to give guidance to regional doctors, consult on cases, and provide additional training by conducting live surgeries. With this technology, patients can receive the quality of care they need without traveling great distances.
How healthcare is delivered is changing. The opportunities are growing every day to bring care to the people who need it, when and where they need it. In over 13,000 hospitals and clinics around the world, Cisco Healthcare is helping to securely connect patients, doctors, and processes to increase access, quality of care, and efficiency.
Want to see where else Cisco is helping to achieve health for all? Check out our new Digital Transformation Map.