Rahbar (Guide), mHealth Prescription Application - Improving Health Outcomes for Stroke Patients in Pakistan

Stroke, a life-threatening and debilitating illness, is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Pakistan shares a considerable burden of this devastating disease, which results in serious economic and social consequences for the country. The country also lacks stroke management and post-stroke rehabilitation facilities. To overcome the rising mortality rates and stroke recurrence in the first year post-stroke, Aga Khan University (AKU) developed an electronic prescription application, Rahbar.

The Rahbar application is a product of a successful pilot study, Movies4Stroke, carried out under the Dr Ayeesha Kamal, Professor, Department of Medicine, AKU through evidence-based research and clinical testing at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi (AKUH, K).

Rahbar, meaning ‘Guide’ in the local Urdu vlanguage, provides stroke survivors and their caregivers with access to 42 educational videos., which have been validated through the Movies4Stroke pilot study. Educational videos are available in the local language with graphic animations for stroke patients and their caregivers’ better understanding. The educational videos contain information, which cover topics like what a stroke is; rehabilitation skills; safe swallowing and language; understanding the purpose of medications and how they function; and prevention of further stroke through adoption of lifestyle changes.

The Rahbar app aims to empower the caregivers to provide improved care at home in areas where there is a dearth of doctors and nurses and to prepare them for emergencies. The application offers user-friendly design with robust functionality that equips stroke patients and their caregivers with a powerful tool to address day-to-day complications. Rahbar is the first mobile solution prescribed to patients at the AKUH, K. The app is included as part of the Mind and Brain service line. Till date, 11 stroke patients and caregivers of stroke patients have been registered for post-stroke rehabilitation management. The app is available on the Google Play Store and since February 2019, it has been included as part of the post-stroke management package at PKR 10,000 to help reduce the number of re-admissions and avoidable deaths due to aspiration pneumonia.

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