The Nakuru County government has unveiled a mobile app to aid in the treatment and management of diabetes and hypertension.
Health services integrated into the digital system nicknamed ‘Empower Health’ created through a partnership between the decentralized unit, the Ministry of Health, Novo Nordisk and Medtronic Labs include consultation, testing, treatment and monitoring of important medical conditions in accordance with national guidelines and best practices.
County Director for Administration and Planning, Dr Benedict Osore, said that by improving coordination between doctors and patients, the app will enable more personalized care, which he said was vital to management of diabetes and hypertension.
“With the mobile app, doctors and patients don’t just have face-to-face appointments that can be months apart – there’s continuous communication. Home blood pressure and blood glucose self-monitoring can improve treatment adherence and patient outcomes, this app will improve access to care for patients in the local community,” he said. .
Dr. Osore said that with technology, doctors will be able to track patients on medication and know if their condition is under control while identifying those who are not on medication.
According to the director, all relevant information and a historical view of each patient is easily accessible by the healthcare workers caring for them.
Once customers log into the app, they will have the option of using a self-management app where they enter their blood pressure and glucose levels.
They will then receive feedback based on their results, which includes alerts to travel to the nearest healthcare facility if their sugar or blood pressure levels are out of range. The app also offers push notifications to remind users when to check their blood sugar next.
Blood pressure and blood glucose readings are entered into the mobile smartphone that links health care providers from health centers. If the readings are not within normal range, doctors are alerted and can call to either give instructions on corrective action or have the patient taken to the hospital.
More than 60 healthcare providers have been trained in the use of the Empower Health system which also provides integrated tools and information at the facility and community level to improve disease awareness, support screening activities and guidance aimed at reducing the communicable burden.
“The app improves patient engagement by allowing them to take an active role in managing their health. This gives them a sense of empowerment and encourages them to follow the patient’s self-care which is often a key component to improving outcomes in the treatment and management of diabetes and hypertension,” added the director.
While stating that the user-friendly “Empower Health” app will help underserved populations, especially low-income families and adults over 65, Dr. Osore noted that most interventions and follow-up through the system can be managed by support staff, freeing up more time for physicians. This, he said, will ultimately save patients money while allowing doctors to see more patients.
“Technology makes things easier. You get an SMS notification when your patient is unwell and you can follow up remotely,” Dr Osore said.
Armed with the app, doctors can easily log into the system and get in touch with patients who need better attention, and book them to see a specialist at a healthcare facility.
“Telephone access and mobile phone penetration in the country is high and therefore we will also be able to have real-time data on the use of mobile technology and how it can be used to manage the chronic diseases,” he said.
According to the STEPS report of the Ministry of Health, the prevalence of hypertension has increased over the past 20 years.
More than half (56%) of Kenyans have never had their blood pressure measured and only one in five (22.3%) of those already diagnosed with hypertension are receiving treatment.