doctHERs: How professionally marginalized, home-restricted female doctors can provide Lady Health Worker-Assisted Telemedicine in Urban Slums & Remote, Rural Communities
doctHERs was a novel healthcare marketplace that connected home-restricted female doctors to millions of under-served patients in real-time while leveraging technology. doctHERs circumvented socio-cultural barriers that restrict women to their homes, while correcting two market failures: access to quality healthcare and women's inclusion in the workforce. doctHERs leapfrogged traditional market approaches to healthcare delivery and drove innovative systems change. For example, doctHERS can access urban/rural patients through mobile and Internet enabled technologies/video-conferencing:
• Trained, trusted community Nurses/ Health Workers/Midwives assist DoctHERS in assessing patients at ‘point-of-care’ using diagnostic tools which created 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 preceding 18 months doctHERs provided ICT-enabled tele-health services in Sultanabad, a densely populated urban area of 250,000 in Karachi which was inhabited by marginalized migrant workers. Over the past six months, doctHERs has opened three community-based clinics and one retail pharmacy clinic to cater to the unmet needs of informal workers and marginalized communities.