No area of our individual and collective lives remains unaffected by technology. Be it shopping, travel, business building, or our interpersonal relationships via social media apps, our inner and outer worlds have become intrinsically interconnected with the evolution of technology.
Simply put, technology is the real-time application of scientific concepts for finding solutions and solving real-world problems. Britannica.com defines technology as “the application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of human life or, as it is sometimes phrased, to the change and manipulation of the human environment.”
This is the defining era where technology filters into every aspect of our lives and its impact on healthcare is far-reaching and deeply consequential for other aspects of one’s life– education, career, and overall life quality.
We see technology improving our quality of life and helping us in our day-to-day tasks. So naturally, the modern adoption of technology in healthcare has made the administration of treatment to patients easy, efficient, cheap, and without errors.
It’s true that the penetration of mobile and telephones in our lives has brought healthcare to our homes. The real importance of healthcare technology is not only in diagnosing and treating patients but in prevention – that is to prevent people from getting sick.
Technology integration in healthcare closes gaps, increases access, improves beneficiary care, and spurs innovations that might save lives. The healthcare programme of Smile Foundation is a good example of how technology integration into healthcare is transforming lives completely. The 78 Mobile Medical Units, 8 Mobile Telemedicine Units, 4 Mobile Dental Units, and 3 Static Clinics of the programme benefit over 1M people by addressing problems of mobility, accessibility, and availability of primary health care. All our healthcare projects have a special focus on children and women in urban slums and remote rural areas in India.
Smile Foundation’s venture into technology-driven healthcare is driven by a range of strategic considerations. One of the primary goals is to enhance healthcare access, particularly in areas where such access is limited. By leveraging technology, we have extended our healthcare services to a wider, underserved population. This means that individuals who may have traditionally faced barriers to accessing healthcare can receive vital medical support and guidance.
The main purpose is to democratize access to medical services, raise healthcare standards, and enhance the overall well-being of marginalised communities. With a special focus on children and women in urban slums and remote rural areas, Smile Foundation seeks to address the problems of mobility, accessibility, and availability of primary healthcare.
Efficiency is a significant factor. Technology can streamline healthcare operations, making them more efficient. For instance, electronic health records, telemedicine, and health information systems can facilitate more effective management of patient data. This not only reduces administrative burdens but also allows for faster and more accurate diagnoses and treatments.
Revolutionising Medical Records
With the growing volume of projects and the beneficiaries impacted by our healthcare projects, the need for technological intervention became evident. Our first technological intervention was the introduction of an Electronic Health Record Management System, aka E-Health MIS. By adopting E-Health MIS, Smile Foundation simplified the real-time storage process of beneficiary information, allowing healthcare providers access to a comprehensive and up-to-date view of a patient’s medical history, including diagnoses, treatments, medications, and test results. offering the medical and concerned personnel a full view of their medical history.
This means that healthcare professionals can make more informed decisions, leading to better and safer patient care. When a patient’s health records are easily accessible, it reduces the risk of medical errors, as critical information is readily available. The intervention not only improved beneficiary care but also helped our teams in the field notice any patterns or places where we could do better. E-Health MIS also helped us analyse and identify health trends in underserved communities, allowing for effective resource allocation and preventive measures.
Mobile Telemedicine Unit
Bringing Healthcare to the Doorstep
Recognizing the unique challenges faced by healthcare facilities in remote areas, Smile Foundation implemented a second technological intervention– the Mobile Telemedicine Unit. The unit includes a digital platform with a portable diagnostic kit called Neurosynaptic that enables beneficiaries to do video consultations with medical professionals. It can also perform 30-35 rapid point-of-care tests, ensuring timely diagnosis and treatment for marginalised communities.
This is crucial for cases requiring specialized expertise that may not be available locally. It allows for accurate diagnoses, treatment recommendations, and the sharing of medical knowledge, which can be critical in managing complex health conditions.
In addition to treating existing health problems, the Mobile Telemedicine Unit supports preventive healthcare. It conducts screenings, check-ups, and health assessments in the community, helping to identify potential health risks early on. This proactive approach significantly reduces the burden of preventable diseases and contributes to the long-term health and well-being of the population.
In a continuous effort to boost our diagnostic capabilities, Smile Foundation introduced a third technological intervention– the HealthCube. This innovative device significantly improves the diagnostic test facility, offering the capability to perform 20-25 diagnostic tests of patients in just 5-10 minutes. This leap in diagnostic efficiency not only accelerates the diagnostic process but also significantly advances the accessibility of healthcare services to those in need.
As projects expand, efficient implementation and monitoring become increasingly important. To address this, Smile Foundation has embraced digital solutions, including Anglecam and GPS tracking. These digital tools are employed for remote monitoring of field activities and for accurately tracking the attendance of field staff. This digital integration ensures that project initiatives are executed seamlessly, and monitored effectively and that the organisation keeps proper track of the progress of its field operations.
Impact of Our Technological Interventions
The results of integrating technology into Smile Foundation’s healthcare endeavors have been nothing short of transformational. Access to quality healthcare has dramatically improved in underserved areas, as telemedicine units connect beneficiaries with skilled doctors who can diagnose and treat a range of medical conditions.
E-Health MIS has streamlined beneficiary care, reduced administrative inefficiencies, and ensured that beneficiaries receive the right treatment promptly. Technologies like Neurosynaptic and HealthCube have added value to curative services through a variety of diagnostic tests. Apart from enhancing healthcare services, technology solutions like Anglecam and GPS tracking have made project monitoring more efficient, ensuring that the quality of services remains high.
Collectively, these technological interventions have made a substantial difference in the lives of underserved populations. They have increased access to healthcare, improved the quality of care, and empowered individuals to take charge of their health. Underserved communities are now better equipped to address their medical needs promptly, and early interventions have become a reality. These interventions represent significant steps toward healthcare equity, ensuring that even the most vulnerable populations receive the care they deserve.
One of the remarkable advantages of technology in healthcare is data collection and analysis. These technological interventions allow Smile Foundation to collect valuable health data, identify health trends, and enhance decision-making. This data-driven approach contributes to early interventions, resource allocation, and the development of healthcare strategies that are better tailored to the specific needs of underserved communities.
Empowering Individual and Community Health
The work of Smile Foundation in healthcare and its integration into technology is a testament to the power of innovation and compassion. In a world where technology can often be seen as a privilege, Smile Foundation is making efforts towards healthcare as a right for all, regardless of their economic background. As we continue to expand our reach and impact, the smiles they bring to the faces of the people we serve are a true testament to the success of our work. Smile Foundation is committed to leveraging technology for better healthcare efforts to ensure that no one is left behind in the pursuit of good health and well-being.
Sarva Shiksha AbhiyanNational Education Policy Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Digital India
Skill IndiaEnhancing Formal Skilling
National Rural Health Mission Universal Health CoverageNational Digital Health Mission Promotion of Govt. Health Schemes
Anaemia Mukt Bharat Poshan Abhiyan Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan Anganwadi Strengthening