Peek: innovation to bridge the gap between providers and patients
Can mobile technology help us bridge the gap and deliver eye care to poor and remote settings?
80% of the 285 million visually impaired and blind people in the world who have treatable or preventable visual impairment live in low-income countries: often in rural and remote settings. How do you test and treat these people where expensive, bulky eye equipment is hard to come by or difficult to carry?
More people in Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa have access to a mobile phone than they do clean running water (The New York Times, 2010). Can we harness the power of mobile technology to deliver eye care in a new way?
Peek Vision is a smartphone system, currently in trial phase, that might just help. Peek is an easy to use, affordable and portable system for testing eyes. It replaces traditional hospital equipment, which is bulky, expensive and fragile, with apps and hardware that make it possible to test anyone in any language and of any age. It enables community healthcare workers and empowers them to deliver eye care everywhere.
Is innovation the answer?
Patient awareness and local beliefs often prevent people from accessing eye care services. How do you think this technology can influence patient demand for services?
Consider also that diagnosis in the field has to be followed up with good referral mechanisms. Can this be established or strengthened to cope with the demand that this technology may create?
Image credits: Peek Vision, peekvision.org.
© London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine