In November 2015, Power of Love will launch its “Digital Doctor” program in the Matero compound of Lusaka, Zambia. This new program will increase the effectiveness of POL’s healthcare delivery by creating an electronic health record (EHR) system for all 250 HIV+ children in our pediatric HIV care program. Digital Doctor will not only improve our ability to organize and maintain records about our benificaries, it will also allow us to aggregate data for analysis and continually improve the quality of care.
Our primary goals with Digital Doctor are to:
- Strengthen the health outcomes for children in POL’s pediatric HIV care program
- Optimize the cost structure of healthcare delivery so that more children can benefit benefit from precise allocation of funds.
Secondary goals for this program include community-wide outcomes such as: (i) reduction in poverty due to better health of the children, (ii) better health leads to an increase in school attendance which leads to learning about prevention of HIV, (iii) improved knowledge about HIV prevention and care which can reduce unemployment and poverty, and (iv) reduction in stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.
Vision for the Future: Once the program has been implemented in POL’s clinic in Matero, we would provide the software and training, free of cost, to other NGOs in Matero, and subsequently to NGOs in other parts of Zambia and Southern Africa. By spreading this software, we are aiming to improve the speed and quality of healthcare services available to the entire community.
The EHR system will track the health (medical history, past and current infections, trajectory of the underlying HIV infection, etc.) of each child in our pediatric HIV care program from the date of enrollment. This will have significant impact on our ability to quickly monitor, diagnose, and treat infections. It will allow us to detect larger community-wide infections, to catch health issues early on, and to rapidly administer prophylactic response on a community level.
Once the data for all our children (about 600 from over the last 10 years) is synchronized with the EHR software, we will be able to make predictions about possible health episodes for each child and continue to provide anticipatory care for these children. In addition, having a fully integrated EHR system will permit us to swiftly engage physicians from around the world to tackle difficult cases. The software will be implemented on a standard Windows-based computer and is built like a phone app with pre-set fields.
POL’s pediatric HIV care program, which provides food, medicines and life-saving health care services to 250 HIV+ children, has been operating in Matero since 2004. It is a community-based and comprehensive program through which we have built working partnerships with local churches, community-based organizations, schools, and residents.
Our pediatric HIV care program has a demonstrated track record in preventing childhood mortality due to HIV infection. Children infected with HIV at birth live to an average age of 48 months. In our program of approximately 600 children, cared for over a 10 year span, 13 have died. While every life is precious, losing 13 of 600 HIV+ children is an impressive result, especially considering the resource-constricted environment and a highly-optimized cost of approximately $0.80 per child/day. All children in the program today are leading close-to-normal lives and attending school regularly.
Digital Doctor promises to help us improve the health of children, increase school attendance, and teach income generating skills with a relatively small budget. A large percentage of the resources needed to implement the project have already been acquired (see list below).
This project leverages resources from multiple sources. To date we have been able to procure:
- Electronic Health Record software customized for POL use, obtained from a US-based health software company who company will charge a nominal amount for customizing the software. This software is fully HIPAA compliant and up to date with ICD 10 codes.
- Four computers and laptops from donors.
- Time (60-90 days) of a software development volunteer on the ground in Lusaka.
- A room to house the four computers where children can learn (when the computers are not being used by our staff for EHR work).
The project will be ready for immediate implementation once all of the necessary resources have been accrued. Power of Love is already embedded in the community and doesn't require several months/years to establish credentials and set up working relations with community leaders and organizations.
This project promises to improve the health of children, increase school attendance, and provide income generating skills with a relatively small budget. In addition, this project will have a huge, and sustained impact on the community in a relatively short time of 12-18 months. Its implementation will allow us to optimize our record-keeping quality of care.
The budget for the implementation of the EHR system is $12,000. This will cover the cost of a qualified person to travel to and live in Matero for 60-90 days, customization of the software by the company, and a few other items that will need to be purchased locally. Once we have our own EHR system up and running, we will aim to provide the software and any subsequent training to other non-profits operating in Zambia and, eventually, the rest of South Africa. Your generous donations will help to fund this and our other programs related to our pediatric HIV care program. As always, 100% of donated funds are allocated to projects with none diverted to overheads.
Thank you for caring.