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Among the first businesses in our portfolio, Medtronic Labs Empower Health™ is a novel hypertension management model of care focused on reaching underserved patients in East and West Africa. The goal of Empower Health is to reduce the burden and improve the efficiency of managing hypertension for both patients and clinicians.
The Empower Health model consists of a mobile tablet, an automated blood pressure machine, and a novel proprietary software application combined in a unique platform to allow for longitudinal management of an enrolled cohort of patients. Patients can access regular blood pressure checks at community-based locations where they receive real-time feedback on their blood pressure measurement. On a mobile application, clinicians can view patient data, provide the patient with feedback on their condition via SMS, and write electronic prescriptions — accessible through participating pharmacies.
After completing needs assessment work in both Ghana and Kenya, the Empower Health team is commercializing this model in East and West Africa.
Hypertension is a growing epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2050, prevalence is expected to expand to 33 percent of the population, and it is a high-risk factor for the increasing burden of cardiovascular disease in the region. In Ghana, nearly 30 percent of the population has hypertension, but only 2.8 percent of those are controlled adequately with pharmacological management and lifestyle modifications.1 In Kenya, the hypertension prevalence ranges from 12.6 percent to 21.4 percent,2 however, control rates are reported below 3 percent.3
While many programs focus on diagnosing hypertension, the management of the disease has received less attention. Tremendous opportunity exists to reduce complications of hypertension — including stroke and heart disease — and to lower the burden of chronic care management for clinicians, patients, and health systems.
Hypertension, 2004 May: 43(4): 1017-22. E-pub 2004 Mar 22.
Republic of Kenya Ministry of Health. Kenya National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases. 2015-2020.
Journal of Hypertension, 2013 May; 31 (5): 1018-1024.