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American Samoa deploys technology driven health care

Charity Medical Center logo
Source: Charity Medical Center media release

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In American Samoa the marriage of the old time doctor’s house call and transformational technology offer a realistic promise of better community health.

Back in the day, when junior was running a fever or mom was about to deliver a new baby, the family doctor, black bag in hand, was on his or her way to the house.

Not so much anymore. Patients these days are given an appointment date to visit the clinic.

In American Samoa, and recently many other communities, the traditional doctor’s house call is making a comeback.

Technologies such as advanced mapping, automated workflow, telemedicine and wearable health monitoring devices are driving the trend back to personalized health care.

Think about the Amazon business model platform; once the customer metadata is recorded in the Amazon database, the supplier/buyer transaction is repeated millions of times over. The issue for Amazon is product fulfillment: getting that book or new sweater to the custom.

At the Charity Medical Center in American Samoa a similar platform model has been repurposed to serve one of the world’s unhealthiest populations.

 “By the time patients showed up at the local hospital emergency room many already had an acute diagnosis; amputation, dialysis, stroke or heart attack,” John Wasko, Charity Medical Center’s CEO and chief business model designer clearly recognized the need for early patient intervention. “If we don’t treat patients early on with proper medical care,” he noted, “ patient’s quality of life is seriously affected, medical costs skyrocket and our current medical resources become overburdened.”

Charity Medical Center, scheduled to begin service in 1st quarter 2021, employs a fleet of mobile units staffed with medical professionals. Each household is surveyed and primary vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar establish a triage scale for each patient. The data is the baseline for an individual patient care plan.

“Once the patient care plan is established,” added Wasko, “ The medical staff has several paths for providing personal care; regular checkups, clinic evaluation and management, telemedicine patient interaction, patient education and wearable health device monitoring.”

Skeptics might doubt if a small Asia Pacific island has the ability to deploy LTE, fiber optic connectivity or mobile devices as tools for transformational medical care.

“In fact,” concluded Wasko, “since 2011 American Samoa has invested more than US $200 million in internet infrastructure. That technology has to work for us in many ways, especially health care.”

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