Physical Examination in the Palm of Your Hand
NusaHealth app taking healthcare into the digital age
By Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Yogyakarta’s Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) is rising to the challenge of the digital era by providing healthcare services that are easily accessible through the one thing constantly stuck to many hands – mobile devices.
Demand for such services is rapidly increasing due to the rising number of Indonesians accessing the Internet. Data from the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association (APJII) released in October 2016, showed that just over 132 million Indonesians access the Internet, more than 50 percent of the population. Of that figure, 67.2 million were using the Internet through their mobile phone or computer, while 63.1 million accessed the Internet from a smartphone.
AmCham Indonesia spoke with Dr Andreasta Meliala, Director of the Hospital Management Graduate Program, Department of Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Medicine at UGM and one of the experts in a multidisciplinary team developing he NusaHealth mobile health application in cooperation with Singapore-based digital company SixCap Group.
The mobile app, which is available in Google’s Play Store and will be soon in Apple’s App Store, focuses on the users at the center of its services. The app is connected to users’ medical records stored in healthcare facilities, which monitor their physical activities, analyze the data collected and provide feedback to users on their current health condition.
AmCham Indonesia: Can you tell us about NusaHealth and its background?
Dr Andreasta Meliala: NusaHealth is a mobile application designed to help its users to live a healthier life and to increase health awareness. UGM and SixCap cooperated to develop this app in an attempt to answer the challenges of developing a health management program based on technology. The application is part of a digital healthcare support system that involves the university, healthcare service providers and the public.
NusaHealth will be supported by artificial intelligence to assist users to monitor their health every day through a notification feature in the application. This will help the user to obtain daily challenges that are adjusted to the capabilities and limitations of every individual. In a very short time, NusaHealth will be able to perform early detection, early warning and early intervention for users.
What is the purpose of NusaHealth?
The purpose of this application is to reform patterns of community and individual lifestyles using a daily interactive application. The user is expected to review his or her personal health status and compare it with the general health status, on a macro level. The app is expected to boost the users’ motivation to live more healthily and be more concerned with health. Moreover, NusaHealth will also be able to monitor the user’s individual health, personal medical records and perform tele-consultations even up to tele-electrocardiography. All these features will help the public obtain optimal health services in an easy way.
What benefits do users get by signing up to this app?
Users can get many benefits such as easy access to various health features in the application, for example a feature to view laboratory results with an interactive display. It also offers users challenges in conducting their activities with suggestions that are updated daily in order to help users to have a more active life.
How are you testing the project so far in terms of finding out whether it is really working to its objectives?
We rolled out the first phase involving the university, school of medicine, UGM hospital, local health agencies and healthcare community centers or puskesmas. We had a grant of 1,000 smartphones from SixCap and we distributed them to healthcare workers and individuals in the community as users. A team from UGM then trained them on how to use the app. We chose the users based on certain conditions, namely they suffer from non-communicable disease such as hypertension or diabetes. We provided the users with free blood tests and the results were then integrated into an information system that is accessible through the app. The users then had to do the daily challenges on implementing healthy living and the results were analyzed, resulting in recommendations based on the users’ individual health status, with reference to their blood types and the kind of challenge they had.
How many users do you have so far?
So far we have 500 users, and we have updated the app with heart rate measurement.
How do you plan to develop this app in the future?
We plan for this app to include new and advanced analytical features, based on health data collected in the NusaHealth database. It will be able to analyze patterns of diseases, to predict events related to users’ health status and to support the healthcare resources’ allocation policy. For example, it may be able to analyze the pattern of the disease at the community level, to analyze the allocation of resources in accordance with health problems in a certain area and to support accurate or proper deployment of health logistics based on the community’s health condition.
NusaHealth’s blueprint was to develop a tool to support health promotion and disease prevention, using an excellent quality app that is accessible to the people, and users can utilize it for early diagnosis, early detection and early intervention for some diseases.
What about the rules, regulations and ethics on electronic medical records collected through the app? How are you handling them?
Rules, regulations and ethics on medical records have been an important aspect since the initial development of NusaHealth. We apply the same standards on medical record privacy and we refer to the Electronic Information and Transaction Law, non-disclosure agreements and various regulations that specifically address the use of digital medical records based on the advice of experts from various disciplines, namely health information system, information technology, marketing, legal and medical practitioners. These experts provided comprehensive insights to the team in terms of the app’s legal aspects.