doctHERs: How professionally marginalised, home-restricted female doctors can provide Lady Health Worker-Assisted Telemedicine in Urban Slums & Remote, Rural Communities...



Organization Type: Civil Society | Category:

Project Summary

doctHERs is a novel healthcare marketplace that connects home-restricted female doctors to millions of underserved patients in real-time while leveraging technology. doctHERs circumvents socio-cultural barriers that restrict women to their homes, while correcting two market failures: access to quality healthcare and gainful employment. doctHERs leapfrogs traditional market approaches to healthcare delivery and drives innovative, sytems change. For example doctHERS can access urban/rural patients through mobile and internet enabled technologies/vídeo-conferencing • Trained, trusted community Nurses/ Health Workers/Midwives assist DoctHERS in assessing patients at ‘point-of-care’ using diagnostic tools which creates a new ‘healthcare value chain’ • doctHERs can work across the healthcare sector: operate 24/7 tele-healthlines, conduct medical/claims reviews, contract services to health plans (PPOs, health insurance companies), promote health/wellness coaching and trainings via web, IVR-enabled health modules or SMS-enabled localized health messaging.

Over the past 18 months, doctHERs has provided ICT-enabled telehealth services in Sultanabad, an urban slum of 250,000 lives in Karachi which is inhabited by marginalised migrant workers.


80% of all medical school graduates in Pakistan are women, yet only 25% ever practice due socio-cultural constraints. In the same Pakistan, 95% women living in poverty can not access affordable, quality healthcare and have never seen a qualified doctor. Stuck in this status quo, millions of marginalized women face unnecessary high maternal-child mortality/morbidity, sadly in the presence of promising doctors who have historically been unable to reach them. All the while, the same Pakistan boasts 85% penetration of mobile access to mobile & internet technology. Given the significant demad-supply mismatch between doctors and patients, it behooves us to question how we can use information and communications technology to bridge this gap?


This project nominated to the ISIF Asia award because…

doctHERs is the first ICT-enabled model anywhere in the world (that we are aware of) that specifically and exclusively integrates home-based medical health providers who have otherwise been marginalised from the health workforce. In addition, it provides skills-training and gainful employment for community-based lady health workers (LHWs) in remote, rural communities and connects them to urban-based doctHERs via telemedicine in a manner which creates significant impact and tangible value for end-users/beneficiaries.



(i) Connect home-restricted female health professionals to marginalised communities who lack access to quality, affordable healthcare

(ii) Train and Capacitate community-based Lady Health Workers on how to provide communities in urban slums and remote rural areas with access to doctHERs

Technical details and contribution to innovation

ICT-enabled videoconsultation
ICT-enabled 24/7 Telehealth (healthcare delivered via mobile phones)
Electronic Health Records (of patients visiting clinics or using doctHERs)
ICT-enabled Clinical Management System


(i) Conducted preventive health workshops delivered by video for 5000 urban slum dwellers
(ii) provided 7500 patients with high-quality primary care
(iii) Established a telemedicine-equipped Community Health Center in Sultanabad


Telehealth-facilitated OB/GYN consultations have led to 70+ safe hospital deliveries • 500 lives have been saved by providing them with access to life-saving interventions/surgery

Publications and dissemination efforts

• PBS Newshour
• Christian Science Monitor
• Forbes
• Fast Company
• Stanford Social Innovation Review
• Center for Health Market Innovations
• Foreign Policy Magazine

Awards and distinctions

2013: GE/Changemakers Innovation Award 2013: Rockefeller Foundation Centennial Innovation Challenge 2012: G20 Financial Inclusion Challenge Award 2012: Wall Street Journal Asia Innovation Award Finalist 2011: WEF/Schwab Foundation Asia Social Entrepreneur of the Year


YouTube movie about the project

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Project Representative

Dr. Ashar Hasan

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