Health4TheWorld, a Silicon Valley start-up providing education and technology solutions for resource-poor communities worldwide, has been named the 2018 Stevie Silver Award Winner by the American Business Awards for the category of Services. Created in 2002, the Stevie Awards are meant to “honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide.” One of the competition judges described Health4TheWorld as, “One of the best uses of technology to help patients with limited access to healthcare.” Commenting on the recognition, Dr. Bhavya Rehani, President, CEO, and Founder of Health4TheWorld commented, “This is a great acknowledgment of the hard work and dedication of the team members who have volunteered their time and effort towards our mission of bringing health to remote parts of the world via innovative technologies like machine learning, mobile health, and virtual reality.”
A 100% volunteer-driven nonprofit organization, Health4TheWorld provides a combination of education and technology solutions to support communities around the world. All services provided by Health4TheWorld are available for free. The company’s Health Education Platform is touted as the largest online education platform for medical professionals. Users can search for skills and educational resources to help address the needs of their patients, sign up for educational courses, and interact with faculty and other users engaging on the platform. A new e-learning website, H4TW Academy, is also launching soon. In terms of technology, Health4TheWorld’s first offering is a stroke management app for patients and families. The app helps users with post-stroke rehabilitation exercises as well as management of health parameters in order to avoid another stroke.
To learn more about the great work taking place at Health4TheWorld, Medgadget heard from its founders, Dr. Rehani, Dr. Ankur Bharija, and Dr. William Dillon. In addition to their roles at Health4TheWorld, all three founders also hold clinical positions. Dr. Rehani and Dr. Dillion are at the University of California, San Francisco and hold roles as an Assistant Professor of Neuroradiology and the Elizabeth A. Guillaumin Professor of Radiology, Neurology and Neurosurgery, respectively, while Dr. Bharija is faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine where he specializes in Geriatric and Palliative Medicine.
Michael Batista, Medgadget: Congratulations on Health4theWorld’s recognition as a Tech Startup of the Year by American Business Awards! As a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization, what is Health4TheWorld’s mission?
Dr. Bhavya Rehani: At Health4TheWorld, our mission is to bring health to remote communities globally through educational and technological solutions. We believe in harnessing the power of technology to empower local health providers and public, in resource-poor communities, to alleviate suffering associated with major causes of death and disability worldwide.
Medgadget: Can you share a little about the organization’s design process for tackling health challenges around the world?
Dr. Ankur Bharija: While many global health solutions may be short-lived and based on a “one size fits all” strategy, we believe in “never leaving” once we commit to a site. Hence, our solutions are designed for long-term sustainability and based on local needs and capabilities. In partnership with local care providers – our “local champions.” we work to iterate the existing tool to be culturally and linguistically appropriate and assist in a systematic dissemination process. We are engaged with our local champions for improvement and measuring impact. For example, our stroke mobile app has been systematically improved and translated into multiple local languages.
Medgadget: Today you have a two-pronged approach of providing education and developing technology solutions. How do they work together in tandem to achieve Health4TheWorld’s goals?
Dr. Rehani: Education and technology are interdependent in creating a sustainable global health solution on a scalable level. Education is what stays locally forever with empowerment of local champions while technology is how it stays and reaches remote corners of the world. As academicians and educators, we have been educating small groups of students at our local institutions and know its value in improving care and practice. With the improving access to technologies in today’s world, we can not only teach in different corners of the world from here but also create educational tools that are accessible to millions globally.
Medgadget: Let’s talk a little bit more about the Health Education Platform. How does it work? Can anyone, anywhere access the platform?
Dr. Dillon: Over the course of last year, we have delivered about 100+ live lectures and workshops virtually to health care professionals globally at our partnering sites. Very soon, these will be available online to anyone, anywhere at no cost by registering via email to the – Health4TheWorld Academy platform. Distinguished volunteer faculty from multiple academic medical institutions in the US have donated their time and expertise towards the curation of this content.
Medgadget: Turning to Health4TheWorld’s Mobile Application, why did you decide to focus on a tool designed to support stroke patients? How was the platform developed and what kind of success has it seen to date?
Dr. Rehani: Stroke a leading cause of death and disability globally. The tool was inspired by a personal journey of my grandparents living with stroke in a village in India. The mobile application was developed in collaboration with leading stroke doctors, therapists, and technology experts. The stroke app has been disseminated in 20+ countries and translated into Spanish, French, Swahili, Nepali, Tagalog (Filipino), and Chinese. We’ve received patient testimonials from Nepal, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Paraguay, and the Philippines about how the app is a useful tool in their recovery from stroke even if they are in a remote location away from a doctor. Doctors using the app have shared their experience with how the app has helped educate patients about regaining mobility, communicating if they have lost their voice, knowing about how to prevent additional strokes, and reminding them of medications as well as appointments.
Medgadget: Does the success of the stroke management app drive you towards developing other mobile solutions for different use cases? Your website mentioned virtual reality and chat bot technologies. Do those play into your mobile app strategy or represent different technology initiatives?
Dr. Rehani: Yes, we would like to expand to different use cases. Virtual reality and chatbots are emerging technologies we use to engage our users through both mobile and web based applications. Virtual reality has been used for mind exercises to help stroke patients in recovery. Virtual reality models will be used for anatomy education of organs on our education
al website. The chatbot is being used in our mobile application as an interactive tool for helping fight negative emotions and depression after stroke. Educational chatbots with step wise approaches to diagnose diseases will be a part of our educational website, Health4TheWorld Academy.
Medgadget: How is Health4TheWorld able to offer all of these capabilities to patients and healthcare providers free of charge?
Dr. William Dillon: Through the marvelous time and energy of hundreds of volunteers who give of their time and expertise to support the work, give lectures, and develop tools. If not for these wonderful people on the H4TW team, we could not accomplish nearly what has been done, or will be done, for those suffering around the world. We are also receive and are similarly thankful for our monetary support as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization and use 100% of the donations to support the site and mission of Health4TheWorld.
Medgadget: What’s next for Health4TheWorld? Are there any exciting milestones or announcements coming up for the organization?
Dr. Rehani: Yes. We are working on a learning management system to provide videos and training from top medical faculty across a range of specialties to help doctors and patients who lack access in under-resourced communities. Our aim is to create one of the largest free of cost systems where anybody in the world can access information they can use to help their patients.
Medgadget: Thank you again for taking time time to speak with us! To close, how can individuals get involved with Health4TheWorld?
Dr. Bharija: Our work and its impact thus far has only been possible because of our diverse, talented and passionate team and we hope to grow our global community further with professionals from technology and business who share our vision. For those interested in supporting Health4TheWorld’s mission of bringing free-of-cost solutions to health challenges in every corner of world; may get involved as a volunteer, as an expert advisory board member or support monetarily. More at – https://health4theworld.org/get-involved/