Idea submitted by: Victoria Hill, PhD
In low/middle income countries, public healthcare tends to be distributed as if by tiered levels of service. It’s not an intentional policy but the result of difficulties funding remote and sparsely populated regions. However, there are patients in these regions that are elderly, weak or otherwise vulnerable. E.g. patients in the remote southern region of Jordan recovering from colorectal cancers suffer higher morbidity rates than those living in the more densely populated central region (where more physicians and cancer-treatment centres are located).
Even in villages lacking public transportation, inhabitants tend to all have access to mobile phones, either their own or those of other family members. An app could send Quality of Life (QLQ) questions (based on combination of QLQ C-30 and QLQ C-29 symptomatic, functional, psychological scores). By checking answers against the patient’s historical scores, significant factors (e.g. increase in abdominal pain) could be identified and transport for the patient to a cancer centre could be arranged when the personal mix of scores suggests a visit is necessary. The app could also be used to automatically set-up the appointment and coordinate arrangements for transportation. Alternatively, it might arrange a visit from a mobile clinic-van/bus.
Improving quality of life for colorectal cancer survivors is just one example. The app could collect other types of data from a variety of patients in otherwise remote locations.