"Researchers at the New Cities Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Paris that seeks to tackle the most intractable issues facing the world’s fastest-growing cities, joined by a small team of health-care workers from Rio de Janeiro, recently concluded an 18-month trial in one of the poorest parts of the city, the favela of Santa Marta, a community of 8,000. Santa Marta was chosen for its unique geography and its remoteness—the rows of shanty homes appear to tumble down this hillside community where, until recently, there was no sewage, running water, or electricity to the upper reaches of this slum community, and access to even basic health care for the sick and elderly almost always involves an arduous slog downhill and up again.""Equipped with a backpack of nine mobile medical devices, many of which were developed by General Electric, a New Cities Foundation backer, a team of 11 doctors, nurses, and nursing assistants climbed the winding streets of Santa Marta to conduct regular medical health checkups with 100 elderly patients. The patients suffer primarily from hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, the kinds of chronic health-care disorders that affect the poor and elderly in most parts of the developed world, as well.
Inside the backpack was $42,000 worth of equipment, ranging from the high tech—GE’s V-Scan (in photo), a pocket-size ultrasound device to conduct abdominal and heart tests and, for younger women, obstetric readings, plus another GE device, the Tuffsat, a pulse oxygenation and heart rate oxymeter—to the everyday: a tape measure, stethoscope, and thermometer. Using the backpack, the e-health-care workers were able to detect among the patients 20 different diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, within minutes. And underscoring the advantage of using mobile health-care technology, the e-health team was able to obtain blood tests on-site and have the results within three minutes, a procedure that can take as much as 15 days. Also, the test results were recorded and added to the patients’ existing medical file."