Mobile App for Eye Care Diagnosis

Vula Mobile is a smartphone app that improves the treatment of patients in rural areas by connecting health workers with eye specialists, who could be far away in urban centres. The app guides health workers through condition-specific examinations of the patient’s eye, helps them capture basic patient information and allows them to take photographs, before uploading the information to the platform. After receiving the pictures and the relevant patient information, the eye specialist can quickly offer treatment advice, schedule an appointment or arrange for an urgent referral. 

This enables the more than 200 people I see with eye problems each month to get a specialist opinion, if needed. Something that they had to wait months and even years for because of long waiting lists.

Sister Elizma AnthoinessenRural Nurse, Vredendal Clinic

Initially, the app was designed for eye care diagnosis only, but feedback quickly revealed a large need for the same functionality in different health fields. Specialists from several fields have donated their time to work with the Vula team to design functionalities for other health problems, and Vula has since added diagnosis assistance for cardiology, orthopaedics, dermatology and burns to their app, among other features.

Why you should care

Specialist doctors are scarce in rural areas, resulting in a lack of highly-technical knowledge needed to diagnose and treat complex conditions. This solution enables a general health worker to perform eye examinations which would otherwise require a specialist to be physically present. The mobile app also gives specialists more control over which patients are referred to them, allowing them to reduce unnecessary referrals and prioritize urgent cases.

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