How Health IT is transforming healthcare in Kenya [ILARA HEALTH ResAppDX]

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked many changes in our socio-economic life since its outbreak in December 2019. Notwithstanding the negative impacts of the pandemic, the disease put forth trends in health and Information Technology (IT) across the world.

The technological transformation in healthcare systems has provided an upper hand in the fight to control diseases and viruses, driving good healthcare especially in the face of the pandemic.

Take for instance the Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs), which correlate with COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These infections are common and patients or medical practitioners could easily miss a point when it comes to diagnosing them

The infections come with similar symptoms including a cough (some with mucus –phlegm), sneezing, a stuffy or runny nose, a sore throat, headaches, muscle aches, breathlessness, tight chest or wheezing, a high temperature, and feeling generally unwell.

Respiratory Infection Symptoms

Wrong interpretation of these symptoms increases the chances of infection and the spread of viral RTIs. However, thanks to Health IT and efforts laid by technology-powered diagnostic institutions, such dangers are on the radar.

In Kenya, health IT is gaining traction as stakeholders continue to embrace technological changes in the fight to control diseases such as coronavirus.

Technological resources developed by health tech institutions allow medical professionals and researchers to track, retrieve and utilize valuable data in the fight to control disease and provide better healthcare conditions.

The recent initiative powered by ILARA HEALTH is a good indicator of healthcare transformation in the country. With the development of the ResAppDX, an App that diagnoses lower tract respiratory infections by listening to cough sounds, the company said medical practitioners will be in a position to provide accurate diagnosis and in real-time.

The ResAppDX is set to show the doctor conditions surrounding the respiratory tract and define the severity of diseases such as Pneumonia, Asthma, Bronchiolitis, and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) –which have been identified as acute conditions for Covid-19 patients.

According to ILARA HEALTH, the App offers acute respiratory diagnostic tests, analyzing the cough signatures it picks through a smartphone’s in-built microphone.

“Patients cough and the application’s in-built technology detects lower tract infections. This provides accurate diagnostics which enable evidence-backed treatment. Coughs and breathing sounds tell vital information about the condition of the respiratory tract...,” read part of the statement from the company’s website.

Traditionally, doctors use a stethoscope to examine the condition of the respiratory tract and give their interpretation which may compromise the accuracy of the diagnosis. But with the ResApp, the company says accuracy is improved based on the fact that a bout of cough exposes audible sounds to the automated tech device.

ILARA HEALTH IT Network in Kenya. Image|Courtesy

“Stethoscopes hear sounds that are compromised since the sound has to first pass through the chest musculature. This muffles high-pitched components of respiratory sounds. During a bout of coughs, however, the lungs are directly connected to the atmosphere. That is the opportunity that ResApp taps into through automated technology. The device picks audible respiratory sounds that carry crucial information about the respiratory tract condition…” the statement continues.

The App, which was rolled out in May 2021 is compatible with both IOS and Android smartphones.

ILARA HEALTH says it rolled out ResApp after an intensive pilot evaluation that the company undertook at five partner clinics.

The company adds that ResAppDX is a game-changer in the fight to control respiratory diseases like Covid-19 and that it is ready to offer appropriate training to facilities and medical practitioners on the effective use of the application.

“We shall charge the facilities KES 220/test (VAT included), enabling them to detect respiratory tract infections in their patients and offer apt care and treatment, while increasing their revenue.

Covid-19 in Kenya

“The ResApp runs on data bundles, and to facilitate this, we have come up with an arrangement where facilities buy prepaid test-bundles in set packages (similar to how we buy data bundles) on a need basis…” reads the statement in part.

The COVID-19 positivity rate currently stands at 9% with a total of more than 176,622 cases confirmed. The ministry of health reports shows that about 102 patients are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 29 of whom are on ventilator support and 60 on supplemental oxygen.

These cases could be contained following full implementation of Health IT resources like the ResAPPDX which analyses and gives an accurate diagnosis for severe diseases like Asthma, thus containing Covid-19 infections.

Health IT is a game-changer for effective and efficient healthcare in the country, especially during this post-Covid-19 pandemic. Allowing doctors and nurses to accumulate lab results, records of vital signs, and other critical patient data into one centralized area is transforming the level of care and efficiency a patient can expect to receive.

Health stigma and fear developed across the world are becoming intense, hindering the fight to control the coronavirus pandemic.

But with the development of technological diagnostic resources like ResApp the fight against the pandemic is rife. The health IT resources make common diagnostics affordable and accessible to all patients.

See also: Kenyans faults government for allowing in flights from China

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Articles by Wycliffe Musalia