Embracing digital for better health and stronger healthcare systems
In 2009, Novartis broke new ground when it spearheaded SMS for Life in Tanzania, using a combination of mobile phones, SMS messages, the internet and electronic mapping technology to track weekly stocks of malaria medicines in remote health facilities.
Building on this first experience, and working with our partners, we have expanded our digital activities to other Novartis Social Business (NSB) programs, including Novartis Access and Healthy Family.
Using digital along the continuum of care
To address the shortage of qualified doctors in rural areas in India, the Arogya Parivar (Healthy Family program) team is working on multiple digital partnerships to connect patients to healthcare specialists. The focus is on telediagnosis and telemedicine. We are also testing digital solutions to scale up health education activities and measure the outcomes of our activities on the ground.
In the Philippines, we are working with reach52 (formerly Allied World Healthcare) to help improve access to care for underserved populations. People register on Curis, a digital platform, during health camps and health education events, and based on their self-reported data, an algorithm flags potential health issues, so they can be referred to healthcare practitioners for further care. The aggregated data generated by Curis also informs local authorities about disease prevalence in difficult-to-reach regions and gives them a tool to detect and respond to healthcare trends. Over 50 000 patients are now enrolled in the Philippines, and 9 000 patients have been enrolled into Curis in Cambodia.
In Kenya, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), Medtronic Labs and NSB are working on a system for noncommunicable disease (NCD) management, linking patients to community health workers, pharmacists and clinicians. Once registered on the digital platform, patients will have access to blood pressure checks in their communities, and clinicians will be able to follow up with electronic prescriptions if needed. The program was started in three counties in 2019, and we expect to reach 50 000 patients through 2020.