doctHERs is a novel healthcare marketplace that connects home-restricted female doctors to millions of underserved patients in real-time while leveraging technology. doctHERs circumvents socio-cultural barriers that restrict women to their homes, while correcting two market failures: access to quality healthcare and gainful employment. doctHERs leapfrogs traditional market approaches to healthcare delivery and drives innovative, sytems change. For example doctHERS can access urban/rural patients through mobile and internet enabled technologies/vídeo-conferencing • Trained, trusted community Nurses/ Health Workers/Midwives assist DoctHERS in assessing patients at ‘point-of-care’ using diagnostic tools which creates a new ‘healthcare value chain’ • doctHERs can work across the healthcare sector: operate 24/7 tele-healthlines, conduct medical/claims reviews, contract services to health plans (PPOs, health insurance companies), promote health/wellness coaching and trainings via web, IVR-enabled health modules or SMS-enabled localized health messaging.
Over the past 18 months, doctHERs has provided ICT-enabled telehealth services in Sultanabad, an urban slum of 250,000 lives in Karachi which is inhabited by marginalised migrant workers.
80% of all medical school graduates in Pakistan are women, yet only 25% ever practice due socio-cultural constraints. In the same Pakistan, 95% women living in poverty can not access affordable, quality healthcare and have never seen a qualified doctor. Stuck in this status quo, millions of marginalized women face unnecessary high maternal-child mortality/morbidity, sadly in the presence of promising doctors who have historically been unable to reach them. All the while, the same Pakistan boasts 85% penetration of mobile access to mobile & internet technology. Given the significant demad-supply mismatch between doctors and patients, it behooves us to question how we can use information and communications technology to bridge this gap?
(i) Connect home-restricted female health professionals to marginalised communities who lack access to quality, affordable healthcare
(ii) Train and Capacitate community-based Lady Health Workers on how to provide communities in urban slums and remote rural areas with access to doctHERs
ICT-enabled 24/7 Telehealth (healthcare delivered via mobile phones)
Electronic Health Records (of patients visiting clinics or using doctHERs)
ICT-enabled Clinical Management System
(i) Conducted preventive health workshops delivered by video for 5000 urban slum dwellers
(ii) provided 7500 patients with high-quality primary care
(iii) Established a telemedicine-equipped Community Health Center in Sultanabad
Telehealth-facilitated OB/GYN consultations have led to 70+ safe hospital deliveries • 500 lives have been saved by providing them with access to life-saving interventions/surgery
• PBS Newshour
• Christian Science Monitor
• Fast Company
• Stanford Social Innovation Review
• Center for Health Market Innovations
• Foreign Policy Magazine
2013: GE/Changemakers Innovation Award 2013: Rockefeller Foundation Centennial Innovation Challenge 2012: G20 Financial Inclusion Challenge Award 2012: Wall Street Journal Asia Innovation Award Finalist 2011: WEF/Schwab Foundation Asia Social Entrepreneur of the Year
✕ The nominated project has been operational for at least one year. The community has already received the benefits of the activities.
doctHERs is the first ICT-enabled model anywhere in the world (that we are aware of) that specifically and exclusively integrates home-based medical health providers who have otherwise been marginalised from the health workforce. In addition, it provides skills-training and gainful employment for community-based lady health workers (LHWs) in remote, rural communities and connects them to urban-based doctHERs via telemedicine in a manner which creates significant impact and tangible value for end-users/beneficiaries.
Dr. Ashar Hasan