The villages in Ballabgarh in Haryana and those in the Gongbujiangda and Linzhou counties of Tibet may not have anything in common, but they have now become the testing grounds of some new and innovative ideas in healthcare delivery.
An India-China study carried out in these two distant locations may perhaps lead to more cost-effective ways of addressing common health issues like cardiovascular diseases using smartphone applications. Management of cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart disease involves regular medication, lifestyle modification and monitoring of parameters like blood pressure - all of which requires access to healthcare facilities.
In rural and remote areas, such facilities are often absent but researchers have noticed that the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases has been steadily rising due to the changing lifestyles being followed by the people here. A one-year study carried out by Public Health Foundation of India, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center and Tibet University at the two locations tested if trained community health workers armed with a specifically developed mobile phone app on CVD management can provide requisite care to individuals who are at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. These people were given blood pressure lowering drugs along with aspirin, and advice of changing habits like tobacco and salt intake.
The study result, published in the journal Circulation, shows that the method is effective in increasing adherence to drugs, lowering of blood pressure and follow up of high risk patients though lifestyle changes could not be achieved.