Imagine you can check up on your patients anytime you need to. Imagine you receive automatic reports on their medication uptake and symptoms occurrence. Imagine you can give them your professional medical advice, no matter how remote the region they live in is.
If your imagination shows you a satisfying picture, please stay here for a few moments. We will show you that all of the above scenarios are not only possible, but also easy to access.
With Connect for Life you can communicate with your patients in real-time, monitor their condition and provide them with information whenever it is necessary.
We invite you to read this article and find out how you can elevate your communication with patients to take care of their health in a more efficient and effective way.
What is Connect for Life?
Connect for Life is a mobile application developed by Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health in collaboration with SolDevelo. Its purpose is to enable healthcare workers to easily communicate with patients in real-time. It is a simple, yet powerful tool that can provide patients with more complex, integral and high-quality treatments.
The application uses mobile phone technology to send short and simple SMS messages, WhatsApp messages or voice messages to patients, and reach even those who live in remote areas with no internet connection and without quick access to medical facilities.
It offers the following features:
You can set reminders for patients to take their medication. They will be sent regularly, according to schedule. Additionally, the medication intake will be tracked, based on the responses from the patient.
In case the patient stops taking their medication, you can contact them, in order to find out the reason and take appropriate measures to continue the treatment.
You can set appointment reminders that will be sent to the patients, in order to make sure they do not miss their visits.
In countries with a low literacy rate patients often struggle to remember the next appointment date, because even if the physician writes it down for them, they can not read it. Appointment Reminders can solve this problem, as they can be sent both, in a form of text and voice message. Besides that, appointment reminders can be useful to anyone, as we are living busy lives and tend to forget. Such reminders make things easier for both patients and healthcare workers.
Your patient can report a new symptom or ask questions about their treatment and medication. Such messages will be delivered to you in real-time, giving you a chance to respond as soon as possible and provide your patient with professional medical advice.
In countries with low health literacy, it is especially important to offer guidance to the patients even after the appointment is finished. It can help them deal with their health issues on a daily basis, and sometimes even save their lives.
Patients can receive messages containing health tips tailored to their needs. The messages are based on the medical data of every patient and adjusted to their situation.
It is important to share knowledge and positive comments on responsible decisions made by patients. It can encourage them to have regular check-ups and to change their habits for healthier ones.
Patients can receive automatic weekly feedback on their behaviour, along with positive messages, inspiring further improvement of their habits.
Such messages serve as motivation for patients to focus on their health. They also spread awareness on the importance of patient compliance.
How does it work?
The main link of communication happens between the clinic and the patient’s mobile phone. For example:
A doctor enrolls a patient with a messaging service. Connect for Life sends a Medication Reminder, based on a messaging calendar in the preferred contact time. It is then received by the patient. The patient reports if they had taken their daily dose of medication and this report is sent back to the clinic. The information about reported adherence is visible on the patient dashboard. There are a few other features that can be integrated into the Connect for Life application:
All of the reported data are gathered on the Clinic Dashboard.
The dashboard provides clinicians with a quick and simple overview of the patient’s data, and their feedback from the application. It also displays the patient’s electronic medical records and lab results if integrated. The dashboard is fully customizable, which means you can adjust it to yours and your clinic’s needs.
Electronic Medical Records
Another link of communication happens between the application and an Electronic Medical Records System.
Connect for Life is an OpenMRS distribution. What it means is that it is built on top of the OpenMRS platform set in a specific configuration that can be installed as one integral product. Therefore, In general, Connect for Life is a medical records system.
The application has access to all of the patient’s medical data stored in the EMR. The data can be displayed on the Clinic Dashboard along with the patient’s feedback received through Connect for Life. Such configuration provides clinicians with more detailed and comprehensive information on the patient’s health.
Health Program and Research Managers
The application also provides the information to the Health Program and Research Managers.
Based on the feedback collected by the application, the program managers can continuously work on the improvement of service operation, in order to offer high-quality care, suited to beneficiaries’ needs.
Depending on a health facility’s capabilities, areas of expertise and local needs, different features will be useful. For that reason, Connect for Life is a customizable tool that can shapeshift according to the situation. It is able to support a broad range of diseases, in order to improve communication and data flow in different types of facilities.
How does it help people?
Let’s say your patient lives 3 days on foot from the nearest healthcare facility that you work in. When they come to the appointment you examine their body, note down their symptoms and your observations, and make necessary tests. After receiving diagnosis and prescriptions they go to the pharmacy, buy the new medicine and then leave. They start their journey back home.
After 4 days, however, they stop taking the medication you prescribed them, due to unexpected side-effects that have occurred. But you do not know about this. You will find out only a week or two later when the patient manages to come back to the faraway clinic and report what happened. Their condition now is much worse than it was two weeks ago. Their illness has progressed, untreated. Additionally, its symptoms have combined with the side-effects of medication that, as it turns out now, the patient is allergic to.
If only they had a chance to contact you earlier. If only there was a way to monitor your patients’ condition and medication intake after they leave your office. You would have taken action and given another prescription, offered your advice or preordained that the patient must go back to the clinic as soon as possible, as their life is in danger. But you could not do any of these things. And your patient was left alone, suffering from a situation that they do not understand.
Things like this occur all the time. Sometimes patients forget about taking their medication regularly. Sometimes their treatment must be quickly changed due to various reasons. Sometimes they just have many new questions even after the appointment is finished.
Either way, we stand before the quest for sufficient communication between the physician and the patient. And that is where Connect for Life comes with help. It pulls down the barriers between medical workers and patients and enables the easy flow of information in both directions. By using basic mobile phones as the means of communication, Connect for Life is accessible even in remote areas of developing countries. It helps in offering medical help quickly, despite the time constraints that prevent patients from visiting their clinics regularly.
Connect for Life also protects patients from social and cultural pressures that often touch people affected by certain diseases. Communication with physicians through the application is fully private and can be left hidden from other people, in order to prevent the stigma.
Additionally, Connect for Life helps in spreading awareness on healthy habits and provides guidance to the patients that come from low health literacy countries. Knowledge is power. And by sharing knowledge with people, we give them the power to take care of themselves.
Why should you use Connect for Life in your clinic?
Connect for Life gives you a lot of advantages. By using it, you can empower both medical workers and patients in your local community. Medical workers, having a tool that gives them more control over their treatments, will be able to offer more integral and high-quality care. Patients, guided and taught by the application, will be gaining more understanding of their health.
Additionally, Connect for Life is based on a system that is solid, trusted and used by many – OpenMRS. It has a big, helpful community, full of people passionate about helping others. You can join them and become a part of this supportive circle.
As an open-source application, Connect for Life is also free of charge. Its purpose is to help as many people as possible and bring positive change to the world.
Connect for Life is always open to collaborating with nonprofit organizations and local government institutions, in order to adjust the application to specific needs of communities, and stay useful and relevant, despite changing circumstances.
Connect with your patients today!
Our responsibility as human beings is to do what we can in an effort to bring professional medical care to anyone that needs it. Connect for Life is just a small droplet in this big ocean of change that is necessary to provide healthcare equity around the whole world. But even this small droplet consists of thousands of lives that can be saved or made easier and happier thanks to our service.
We encourage you to join us and connect with your patients today!
For further information visit our website: Connect for Life.