UWC Telehealth:Project Overview

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For four years we have been iteratively evolving MUTI, a rural telehealth system, for hospitals and clinics in a remote rural part of the Eastern Cape in South Africa. MUTI enables nurses and doctors to use a wireless Internet Protocol-based communication system to conduct patient referrals, request ambulance services, order supplies and generally keep in contact with one another. The primary community-oriented goal was to prevent unnecessary travel by sick patients from the clinic to the hospital, as transportation in these poverty-stricken and geographically dispersed areas is difficult and expensive for the local inhabitants. We hope that the system can enable nurses at the clinic to learn how to treat a wide range of problems locally by consulting with doctors that they normally do not meet or even speak with. We also hope that the system will lessen the workload for doctors at the hospital. As we expected, integrating new technologies into their everyday work lives is not straightforward or easy.