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  • Mark Zanders

Healthy Habits - A Day with Daktari

The views portrayed in the Healthy Habits article are based upon individual research and are current as of March 14th, 2020. While all material is deemed to be reliable, accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.

Start thinking about the big picture. An afternoon with Dr. Charles, who serves as CEO of Daktari Africa allowed that for the AFZA team. His vision for Daktari Africa is big but realistic. His adoption of Telemedicine starts with creating healthy habits. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern that you follow so regularly that it becomes almost involuntary. The reason habits are so powerful is because they happen subconsciously, and your environment is usually arranged in a way to support that habit.

In Africa, Dr. Charles pointed out that the adjustments need to be made small. It is as simple as making routine appointments. Currently, this isn’t always the case. A growing Nairobi society positions multiple challenges that include scheduling conflicts, timing, and basic access. This is where Telemedicine starts to enter our discussion. Telemedicine refers to the practice of caring for patients remotely when the provider and patient are not physically present with each other. Modern technology has enabled doctors to consult patients by using what we refer to in the states as HIPAA compliant video-conferencing tools.

In our meeting, we discussed program adoption. Several topics include:

Conduct a market assessment. The first step is to do an honest assessment of our capabilities and the needs [of] communities. Key partnerships could include corporate companies, universities and even pharmacies. Personally, I liked the idea and option of placing the service within Pharmacies. At one time, Daktari Africa was utilizing a Pharmacy partnership. In addition to direct communication, medical services can analyze data to assess the needs of the community. Patient outcomes data can also be very helpful in determining what services to develop and which communities have a high need for a particular service. This requires another topic on Big Data and using analytics to drive a market for better good. Aligning goals with an organization's mission.  Ability to customize the goals of a telehealth program with the mission of any organization is a part of our plan. This alignment will help medical leaders develop a telemedicine program that is strategically valuable for more than one organization and address a lot larger Develop a timeline for implementation. It is important to organize a thorough implementation a timeline. Many factors affect the timeline, including the size of the hospital and the goals of the telemedicine program. Less tangible factors such as support of the program also be accounted for. The reality is that any time you do something innovative, your timeline is going to be dictated by the level of support you have from the highest level of leadership. Gain administrative support. Executive leadership is important not only for a tighter timeline for telemedicine, but also for accessing needed resources, gaining buy-in from physicians and encouraging patients to use the technology. Train providers. Training is a key component of a successful program. Analyze outcomes. Its more than just data. Studying outcomes and sharing them with others will help develop additional best practices.

Start simple.  Back to Doctor Charles initials words of wisdom. Start simple!

The first step in taking control of your well-being is to set goals, and a sensible way to do this is to “baseline” your health. Gather some basic facts that realistically inform you about your body: weight, height, family history, exercise habits, general diet, and a self-assessment of your stress levels at work and in your home life.

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