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mHealth Program Aims to Provide Support to Rural Louisiana

April 23, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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As the third anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster just recently passed, a new mobile health program is launching to help address the still lingering health issues for residents of parishes affected by the spill.

Physicians Interactive, a Marlborough, Mass.-based provider of online and mobile clinical resources and solutions for clinicians, has announced a partnership with the Teche Action Board to provide mobile medical resources for community health professionals in four parishes in Southwestern Louisiana. The partnership employs the services of Health eVillages, a program of Physicians Interactive and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights.

As a non-profit organization with limited financial resources, clinicians at the Teche Action Clinics previously had to rely on books and intermittent internet service for medical references and clinical decision support tools.  Under the partnership, Health eVillages will now provide handheld devices, such as iPod Touches, which include the latest specialized medical reference content in an easily portable format.

By providing immediate access to these clinical decision support resources via mobile devices and apps, Health eVillages will transform the way the clinics' healthcare professionals provide primary and preventive healthcare for patients in Southwestern Louisiana, a rural area heavily affected by the oil spill, natural disasters and other challenges.  A recent study of Gulf Coast residents in four states by the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) showed 87 percent of those surveyed were experiencing medical conditions potentially linked to the oil spill and cleanup effort.

Health eVillages provides customized healthcare information via mobile devices and tablets using Physicians Interactive's Skyscape medical resource app. The content is available on-demand to physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and physician assistants, and is specialized based on needs in primary and acute care, maternal and child health, chronic disease, tropical disease and more. Since the program launched in 2011, Health eVillages has put devices in the hands of clinicians worldwide, enabling critical improvements to patient care in Kenya, Uganda, China, Haiti and now rural Louisiana. The program will start at Teche's main clinic in Franklin, Louisiana, with the potential for expansion to all 10 Teche Action Clinics in rural areas, serving nearly 18,000 residents.

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