Ikedinachukwu Nwankwor Explores How Technology Has Helped To Improve Developing Countries Medical Landscapes

Since healthcare in many developing nations faces challenges, technology is taking the lead in improving the way people access health information and get treatment. Exciting innovations in smartphone technology are proving to be vital in changing the medical landscape.

Ikedinachukwu Nwankwor, the registered psychiatrist with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, is a passionate advocate of the use of technology in the medical field. “It is estimated,” he says, “that about 87 percent of doctors use smartphones and tablets at work. It’s a way to increase the accuracy of diagnosis and transparency of drug prescriptions.” But it’s not just physicians who rely on technology in the office, the internet and its many applications are making it easier for many people in developing countries to seek medical help even in less-than-favorable conditions.

Reducing Healthcare Costs

The rising costs of providing healthcare to everyone who needs it is not just a problem in the US and Europe. Developing countries are also struggling with drug shortages and the lack of trained medical personnel. According to Ikedinachukwu Nwankwor, that’s something that technology can and is helping with.

Using smartphone apps, treating doctors can monitor the condition of their patients remotely without the need for either side to be in the same room together. This is true for patients with HIV, type 2 diabetes, and Hepatitis B who require regular medical attention. Many of them cannot afford the medical costs of being hospitalized for long durations. However, with the help of portable devices that the patients carry on them, their physicians can track their blood glucose and the status of their illness and even recommend the drug dosage as well.

Reaching Remote Areas

Despite their best efforts and the great work, they do, non-profit medical organizations such as Doctors without Borders cannot reach every remote corner of the globe. But if doctors cannot get to a secluded area, that doesn’t mean that the people in that area won’t get treated. As mobile coverage is getting better and more widespread, physicians can use technology to reach those hard-to-reach patients.

For example, if the doctor in the local clinic doesn’t have the equipment or expertise to diagnose a skin disease, they can take a picture of the skin growth and send it to a hospital in the city or even in another country to get a second opinion. Even problems like the scarcity of laboratories can be addressed with digital microscopes that analyze samples with great accuracy.

Health Information on the Fly

Another application of technology to enhance people’s access to healthcare is the use of digital communication to increase people’s awareness and provide them with much-needed health information. Ikedinachukwu Nwankwor explains that in Bangladesh pregnant women can now receive text reminders on the phones of their doctor appointments as well as nutrition and medication best practices.

With these advances in telecommunication, technology can make healthcare for all a more attainable goal. Even when governments fall short, volunteer groups and individual efforts are making a big difference in the medical field to improve the quality of life of billions of people across the globe.

Ikedinachukwu Nwankwor

Written by

Located in Winnipeg, MB. Staff psychiatrist with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority & Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba.

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