Leveraging digital health best practice so diverse populations can benefit from a successful telemedicine initiative.

Do you want to leverage digital health best practice and have your population benefit from a successful telemedicine initiative?

Access to healthcare for people in low- and middle-income countries is challenging. Patients often have to travel considerable distances to receive care, and experience high burden of diseases that can easily be treated.

The Novartis Foundation worked with the Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health to develop a telemedicine initiative that the government is now scaling-up nationwide. Telemedicine uses information and communications technology (ICT) to connect community health workers to medical specialists via 24-hour teleconsultation centers. Doctors, nurses and midwives in the teleconsultation centers coach and advise community health workers, helping them manage emergency cases that are beyond their capacity.

Its proven success was significant:

  • More than half of all teleconsultations could be resolved directly by phone
  • The referral rate to hospitals reduced by 31%
  • It strengthened healthcare capacity and empowered community health workers
  • It improved quality of care and reduced transport times and costs for patients

You can access the easy-to-use and comprehensive telemedicine toolkit below to see what can apply to your country.

For more background information, please visit: Ghana telemedicine

We welcome your comments and are available for your questions how to implement in your country.

For any questions, please contact Jason Shellaby

Kind regards,
Ann Aerts, MD, Head of the Novartis Foundation


We express our appreciation to Ghana’s leaders in the telemedicine effort, including the Ghana Health Service, the Ghana Ambulance Service, Ministry of Communication, Ministry of Health, and National Health Insurance Agency, and St. Martin’s Hospital, and recognize the pioneering leadership and continuing intellectual support given by Millennium Promise Alliance and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. We also thank Ericsson and Medgate for their contributions.

Key Materials

  1. High level Overview (ZIP 71.5 MB)
  2. Interactive Implementation Guide (PDF 7.6 MB)
  3. Support Tools:
    1. Watch the video:
    2. Business Continuity Plan (PDF 0.3 MB)
    3. What To Watch Out For (ZIP 1.3 MB)
    4. Rollout Template (ZIP 0.1 MB)
    5. Communication (PDF 0.2 MB)
    6. Reference List (ZIP 0.8 MB)
    7. Fact sheet (PDF 0.6 MB)
  4. Disease packs:
    1. Fever Overview (PDF 0.2 MB)
    2. Fever protocol template (ZIP 2.4 MB)
    3. Fever role play template (ZIP 2.4 MB)
    4. Postpartum Hemorrhage Overview (PDF 0.2 MB)
    5. Postpartum Hemorrhage (ZIP 1.5 MB)
    6. Postpartum Hemorrhage Protocol (ZIP 1.5 MB)