Posted on August 3rd, 2012 by Admin
Editor's Note: Marie K. is a patient/caregiver who submitted the following essay as part of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Patient, Caregiver Scholarship Contest. To vote, simply use the Facebook "Like" or Twitter "Tweet" buttons at the bottom of each post to share or leave a positive comment. The top vote-getters will be finalists.
Haiti is one of the world’s most extreme medical environments. The statistics are staggering: the maternal mortality rate is 1 in 16; the mortality rates for hypertension and stroke are the highest in North America. Throughout the past decade, as Haiti has faced natural and political hardship, doctors and medical volunteers have spent countless hours in Haiti providing health care to those in need. Millions of dollars have been donated. The estimated 4500 non-governmental organizations and 10,000 charities working in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake highlight that fragmentation, redundancy and waste are inherent to the current disjointed means of support. It is clear that the familiar health care model of “hit and run relief” and “drive-by medical tours” however well-intentioned, is not sustainable in Haiti. There must be a simpler, more inclusive and effective way to solve systemic, chronic health problems.
Colleagues In Care (CIC) was founded to help answer this very call to service and change for the destitute poor in Haiti. We needed new cloud-based, crowd-sourcing, social, mobile technologies, and enhanced learning tools to truly make a difference for patients and caregivers. We needed to develop adaptable “best possible practices” for quality protocols of care and for sustained collaboration and learning on a global scale.
As a volunteer, I have witnessed, first hand, the power that comes from creating a single, vital, purpose-driven, volunteer, global health network. Through engaging the best medical minds in the world, we are helping transform the working medical blueprint in Haiti – “CollaborHaitian!” We are changing the rules of the game!
Using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, we are creating a grassroots movement to transform the future of health care for the underserved, anywhere in the world. This Haitian model will be easily replicated and tailored to assess and address the medical issues of any area affected by poverty, limitation and extreme need. The cloud-based technology has offered a means to recruit, introduce and connect the world’s specialists with local health care workers. Doctors, nurses, medical personnel and other volunteers, are now connecting with one another sharing best practices, tools and knowledge. The emerging insights are used within the community, and more importantly, by the vast number of volunteers training practitioners on the ground in Haiti to serve patients. CIC forges agreements with leading organizations to gain access to U.S. protocols, standard order sets, and clinical pathways, as well as medical educational content.
We are bringing the world of medical expertise to Haiti and through these virtual relationships, we advocate for patients and address health care issues with an immediacy that is unprecedented, offering the on-site practitioners an arsenal of resources and support that has never before been available with such efficacy. The result is pinpoint focus of resources and care on the highly critical illnesses, diseases and medical conditions, helping to reverse the dire health and health care of the underserved people in Haiti.
As the volunteer Chief Collaboration and Learning Officer for CIC, I have combined organizational learning principles, dialogue skills and collaboration strategies with cloud technologies to “crowd-source” a network of top medical professionals and volunteers from around the world in order to co-create and deliver localized best possible medical practices in Haiti.
Now, we are interested in learning to apply the tools of social media, specifically using twitter, Facebook, youtube, blogs and other applications to communicate directly with the patients in Haiti, to open education and communication channels through the recent explosive growth in the use of cellular smartphones among the population. Social Media tools will prove to be the best way for our virtual networks of medical specialists, practitioners and patients to learn from each other in Haiti where broadband Internet access and sometimes electricity are non-existent. We know from experience that we need to learn with others to use these technologies and to innovate further uses of them. We want to collaborate with the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media’s community of learners experimenting and sharing what we can do to empower patients and all caregivers.
We’re helping to transform good intentions and volunteerism into tangible outcomes. We are empowering Haitian citizens to improve health care in Haiti!
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