outREACH system

outREACH system for the delivery of personalized upper extremity assessment and rehabilitation management for stroke patients in sub-Saharan Africa

The Issue

80 percent of stroke burden occurs in low and middle-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa stroke prevalence has doubled in the past four decades causing serious, long-term physical disabilities, and has pervasive negative influences on an individual’s quality of life, participation in society and independence. Evidence shows post-stroke rehabilitation facilitates recovery and improves quality of life and independence.  However, in sub-Saharan Africa there is a scarcity of rehabilitation professionals and access to healthcare is limited by geographical distances.

 

This study

This study will leverage mHealth technologies to develop a community-based stroke management system in order to enhance access to healthcare. Using an iterative user-centered design approach we developed a community-based tool for the personalized delivery of upper extremity stroke assessment and rehabilitation.

Aim 1: Evaluate the usability and acceptability of the outREACH system in Gondar, Ethiopia

Aim 2: Establish the extent to which the outREACH system leads to improvements in post-stroke upper limb function

         

Figure 1. outREACH system graphical user interfaces (GUIs)

outREACH system features

  • The creation and modification of tailored rehabilitation programs
  • Tracking patient progress based on performance
  • Visual feedback about psychological and physiological progress
  • Asynchronous patient and clinician communication

Figure 2. outREACH system architecture

Implications

  • The outREACH system will provide an innovative and entirely new approach to stroke management. If successful, our community-based mHealth application may lead to a shift in the way that patients with physical disabilities are treated
  • Community-based mHealth solutions can serve as a model for rehabilitation during stroke recovery improving access to healthcare across sub-Saharan Africa and in other areas with limited access to quality rehabilitation services

 

Project Team

Principal Investigator
Charmayne Mary Lee Hughes, Ph.D
Health Equity Institute NeuroTech Lab
cmhughes@sfsu.edu

 

Co-Investigators

Binyam Tilahun, PhD
Department of Health Informatics
University of Gondar

 

Kedir Sany, MSc
Department of Physiotherapy
University of Gondar

 

Paul Cunningham, MSc
IST-Africa Institute