Prior to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the country’s healthcare programs were already poorly staffed with limited resources. According to the 2009 World Health Organization statistics, Haiti had one nurse and three doctors for every 10,000 people. Infant and maternal mortality, hypertension and stroke, and life threatening illnesses were among the highest in the world.
Today, Colleagues In Care is using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to virtually connect medical workers and volunteers from around the globe. Using the IBM SmartCloud, the volunteers and those on the front lines taking care of patients are armed with an online medical knowledge system that includes treatment options, clinical pathways, and best practices specific to the situation in Haiti.
For example, doctors on the ground in Haiti now have immediate access to information. Previously, a healthcare worker typically had no access to a specialist to consult about a specific medical condition. Via the IBM SmartCloud, they can now immediately determine how to best care for a patient directly in front of them, at the same time collaborating with colleagues to determine more population-based strategies of effective care.
Medical workers can then develop, post, and share their stories about their experiences, providing this critical background to incoming medical workers. The volunteers are also participating in approximately 70 online communities on topics including "Mother and Baby," "Hypertension," "Heart Failure," "Stroke," and "Eye Care" to track initiatives from start to finish.
"At Colleagues In Care, we share a deep level of purpose to stand with and support our medical colleagues in Haiti," said John Kenerson, M.D. and co-founder of Colleagues In Care with his wife Lisbet Hanson, M.D. "Working with IBM, we are helping the citizens of Haiti find relief from the devastations they continue to face daily. Many of our medical volunteers come from highly respected medical institutions, and we're humbled by the opportunity to share our knowledge with those that need it most."
Through social networking, file sharing, Web-based meetings, activities, and forums, the volunteers are sharing ideas and information as if they were in the same room.
The medical knowledge system has been so effective that Colleagues In Care is looking to replicate the system in other under-served regions and countries facing low and limited resources.
IBM's partnership with CIC began as the result of an IBM Services Grant, but has evolved to include dozens of IBM employees from around the world who volunteer their expertise to help connect medical colleagues. The long-standing commitment to working with charitable organizations around the world is part of IBM's On Demand Community, an innovative global program reflecting IBM's strategy to help the world work better, making a wide range of knowledge and expertise available to volunteers.