Scalable Ecosystem Solution to Screen and Treat Patients with Chronic Infections and Hearing Loss in Emerging Markets
There are 60–330 million patients worldwide suffering from chronic ear infections, with over 90 % of those patients living in the developing world (Acuin Chronic suppurative otitis media: Burden of illness and management options. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 2004). More than 75 % of these patients suffer from hearing loss, leading to a significant global disease burden (Acuin Chronic suppurative otitis media: Burden of illness and management options. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 2004). The Medtronic Shruti program was designed to address this health burden through a sustainable and scalable model. An ecosystem solution leveraging community health workers (CHWs) is used to screen, diagnose, refer, and treat patients suffering from chronic ear infections. Using an Android phone-based diagnostic kit with customized software and an attached otoscope, CHWs can quickly screen and diagnose patients in a community camp setting. Remote upload of patient information enables ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physicians to monitor and review the diagnosis via Internet. Any infections and hearing loss diagnosed are referred to an ENT physician for treatment and potential surgery. Patients with positive diagnoses have the option of receiving low-cost care at partner hospitals, including medicine-based treatment, audiometric tests, and surgical interventions. Medtronic is in the process of developing a product portfolio designed specifically for low-income, emerging market populations. At the conclusion of the first year, over 40,000 patients have already been screened and 1,900 were treated as part of the program. To date, the program has been implemented in three cities in two countries, with plans to expand across India and into additional emerging markets.
KeywordsHearing Loss Tympanic Membrane Community Health Worker Pilot Program Chronic Suppurative Otitis Medium
- Acuin, J. (2004). Chronic suppurative otitis media: Burden of illness and management options. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/pbd/deafness/activities/hearing_care/otitis_media.pdf. Accessed 6 February 2014.
- World Health Organization [WHO] (2009). Mortality and burden of disease estimates for WHO Member States. http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/gbddeathdalycountryestimates2004.xlsAccessed 8 February 2014.