A technology-enabled model of care to improve the health of stroke patients in rural China

A mobile application designed for stroke patients and doctors in rural China led to significant improvements in patients’ blood pressure control and quality of life, reducing the risk of hospitalization, disability and death.

Enying Gong, member of our Career Development Program, has been contributing to a model of care to improve the health of stroke patients . The SINEMA project, led by Prof. Lijing Yan from the Duke Kunshan University and Prof. Brian Oldenburg, director of Connected Health CRE promotes the task-shift and task-sharing between primary healthcare providers and specialists.

The SINEMA program was implemented and evaluated by a cluster-randomized controlled trial involving 1299 stroke patients in 50 rural villages in China. Stroke survivors received regular follow-up visits from their village doctors along with voice messages to improve their self-management and rehabilitation.

“I’m excited with the results. These findings have the potential to be scaled up into other settings and for other chronic disease management.”  Enying Gong

“The team faced many challenges at the beginning,” said Enying Gong. “We trialed the intervention in a rural area with high illiteracy, where it’s hard to reach many patients with conventional health education and promotional methods.”

The findings add evidence to the field by showing that strengthening the primary healthcare system could be crucial in combatting the increasing burden of stroke and highlights the strategies of task-shifting and task-sharing, in addition to the great potential of using digital health tools in empowering both healthcare providers and patients.

The study was funded by the the Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council in the United Kingdom, the U.K. Department for International Development, and the Wellcome Trust.

You can read the findings here

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