App for Remote Eye Care Diagnosis

The Vula Mobile app improves eye care diagnosis, treatment, and referrals by putting health workers in rural areas directly in touch with eye specialists.

Vula Mobile is a mobile app that improves the treatment of patients in rural areas by connecting health workers with eye specialists regardless of geography. Following appropriate directions on the app, health workers are guided through condition-specific examinations of the patient’s eye, capturing basic patient information and taking photographs, before uploading the information to the specialist platform. After receiving the pictures and the relevant patient information, the eye specialist can quickly off er treatment advice, make an appointment, or arrange an urgent referral.
Initially, the app was designed for eye care diagnosis only, but it quickly highlighted a widespread need for the same functionality in different health fields. Specialists from several fields donated their time to work with the Vula team to design platforms for other specializations, and, by April 2016, Vula added diagnosis of cardiology, orthopaedics, and burns to their app.

Relevance of solution

Specialist doctors are scarce in rural areas, resulting in a lack of knowledge needed to diagnose and treat complex conditions. The solution enables a general health worker to perform eye examinations otherwise requiring a specialist to be physically present. The mobile app also gives specialists more control over which patients are referred to them, allowing them to reduce unnecessary referrals, and prioritize urgent cases.

Triple Bottom Line

Environmental

As the app does not require any initial transportation between doctors and patients, it can reduce carbon emissions from doctors’ commutes.

Social

The solution gives patients quick access to the right specialist advice, which means urgent cases are seen more quickly, and less urgent cases do not require a trip to the hospital.

Economic

Both free of charge and providing quick diagnoses, the solution makes it easier to treat people so they can return to work sooner.