Health-E-Net makes high-quality medical consultations accessible to everyone by linking medical skills all over the world to places where they are in desperately short supply.

Remote consultations through Health-E-Net empower patients and healthcare providers in developing countries to make better healthcare decisions, and seek timely and appropriate care.

How it works

 "Access" Clinics

Nurses who are part of the community health infrastructure help patients collect their medical records, digitise and store their data on Health-E-Net's electronic platform. These 'mediators' then share cases with the appropriate remote doctors, mediate the consultation, and counsel patients on future steps.

Patented tech

Our unique electronic platform for remote consultations allows both paper-based and electronic medical data to be shared and viewed easily, with no training required. The technology allows private and confidential information to be removed and requests patient consent before any data is shared.

 Global network

Health-E-Net has built a global network of volunteer medical professionals who review patient data and provide advice. These include retired specialists, doctors in the African and Asian diaspora, and others committed to helping communities in need and building better healthcare systems.



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Why remote consultations?

Secondary care is concentrated in large urban centres. For example, in Karnataka, an Indian state, the population served by one hospital bed ranges from 322 in urban centres to 4,356 in rural areas![1] There is a similar disparity across the provinces of Kenya, with urban populations served by ten times as many hospital beds than in rural areas (click here for a chart). While second opinions cannot solve such large healthcare infrastructure issues, they can reduce the inequities in healthcare information and help patients in the more remote areas to seek better care.

Remote consultations are a more sustainable and scalable method to bring specialist opinions to more remote areas than, for example, medical camps or primary telemedicine facilities. Second opinions delivered by health-E-net would not depend on specific technological facilities, but build on existing infrastructure in these areas. In the long run this would create a genuine market for secondary care services beyond the urban centres.

[1] Central Board of Health Intelligence.

Who should get remote consultations?

Remote consultations work best when:

  1. There is a provisional diagnosis
  2. There is data (e.g. lab tests, X-rays, etc.)
  3. There are clear questions around the diagnosis or management

In other words, such consultations are not ideal for primary care, and more suited to secondary care and second opinion consultations.

Primary healthcare is the focus of a number of healthcare development programs of both governments and NGOs. However secondary care, especially in developing countries, remains a service that relies primarily on the healthcare market. The presence of secondary care services and their quality can vary significantly across even one administrative region of a developing country.

Secondary care can also be financially and psychologically stressful to patients. The attempt to seek the best possible care often causes patients to migrate to larger cities and undertake significant burdens in this process. While second opinions may not be the solution to their problems, a high-quality, independent opinion on their condition will help patients understand their options better and help them make the best decision for themselves.

For more on the advantages of seeking second opinions and why patients seek them, please click here.

Who will provide the remote consultations?

Any medical specialist willing to voluntarily donate their time and skills to providing remote second opinions are encouraged to participate. Specialists will be added to health-E-net following verification of their credentials and experience.

health-E-net is actively seeking retired medical specialists and senior doctors in expatriate communities who are willing to reach out to under-served areas in developing countries.

Having local language skills would be a major advantage but is not a requirement. All consultations between specialists and patients will be mediated by trained, English-speaking nurses and junior doctors in the health-E-net access clinics.

If you are a doctor and interested in sharing your thoughts, please answer this quick questionnaire!

Will doctors be liable for their opinions?

Second opinions over the health-E-net platform are conducted between the local medical staff in the access clinics and remote medical specialists. They are not direct physician-patient consultations and will not be legally challengeable.

What are ‘access clinics’?

All second opinions on the health-E-net platform will be based around complete medical records and investigations pertaining to the case. The availability of records and investigations (e.g. scans, lab reports, etc.) to specialists will allow them to make the best possible judgement in the case and provide a relevant and meaningful opinion to the patient.

Access clinics, staffed by nurses, clinical officers and technical assistants, will help patients retrieve their medical records, digitise all investigations, and upload them onto a secure server. These data will be sourced from the laboratory / doctor / hospital providing the initial diagnosis with consent of the patient.

Access clinics will be located in under-served areas of developing countries – small cities and towns where facilities exist for basic blood investigations and routine radiology and pathology. There are often some public or private secondary care services in these areas, but these facilities are often inadequate for the population being served.

Will patient data be secure and private?

All data and consultations on the health-E-net platform will be patient-controlled. health-E-net staff will not have independent access to patient records. Their role is to assist patients in digitising and uploading data, selecting the appropriate specialist, and mediating the second opinion consultation.

Data will be stored on a secure server in the same country where the data originates. Specialists will be able to view patient records and investigations on their browser with appropriate controls to prevent any unauthorised data transfer.

How is it sustainable?

Seeking second opinions may vary by sociocultural factors, but not by income.[2] The rich and poor are therefore equally likely to seek second opinions – if they have access to specialist doctors. health-E-net aims to charge people who can afford to pay for these opinions.

Access clinics, located in under-served areas, will provide services on site for free or at nominal cost. Electronic second opinions using the health-E-net platform will also be offered in urban centres in the same countries, where a similar demand exists but many have the resources to upload data and request consultations. These independent requests, expected to arise from the affluent and educated elite, will be charged a fee for medical data storage and consultation. These charges will sustain the services of the access clinics, making the operations of health-E-net sustainable.

[2] Clauson J et al (2002). Results of the Lynn Sage Second-Opinion Program for Local Therapy in Patients with Breast Carcinoma.