Director of Research and Innovation, Global to Local; heading up diabetes outreach pilot program in SeaTac and Tukwila
Seattle has long been celebrated as a center for global health innovation. Now, a 3-year-old partnership, known as the Global to Local Health Initiative, is focusing these strategies and resources closer to home—starting in Tukwila and SeaTac, where the health demographics mirror certain developing countries, including diabetes rates that are higher than the rest of King County.
In a pilot program launched in May, Global to Local provided 300 diabetics with free iPhones and an app for entering their health information. Heading up the project is Dr. Fareeha Siddiqui, director of research and innovation with Global to Local. “I have a passion for community-based intervention and want to use technology to eliminate disparities,” she says, adding that many patients have trouble keeping track of their health data in a journal, but they use their phones every day. Remote patient monitoring using cell phones has seen a success in India and other countries.
Cell phones are ideal because so many people use them, says Dr. Liza Perpuse, a HealthPoint community health doctor who is among those who see the program’s patients. “We need to figure out a way to communicate and talk to patients in the way they communicate.”
Patients can text Siddiqui and her case management team, who provide immediate follow-up and timely advice, including dietary suggestions, via the app. The case management team flags any patients who enter potentially problematic info, such as high blood sugar, and if the patient requires in-person follow-up, the team alerts HealthPoint Clinic and a doctor such as Perpuse, a partner in Global to Local and primary care provider for the program’s patients. Other partners include the Washington Global Health Alliance, Swedish Health Services and Public Health–Seattle & King County.
Tukwila and SeaTac residents with diabetes face many barriers to getting the health care they need, including lack of insurance and limited access to transportation and information about their condition. As a constant access point, the app addresses many of these problems; text messaging eliminates the need for figuring out transportation or paying for a clinic visit. By providing daily support for at least a year, the program aims to have lasting effects.
“It’s instituting behavior change by empowering and increasing education of their condition,” Siddiqui says. “I get to know more than the biological aspect. I get to know them as a person.” —S.L.
Top Doctors 2013: Community Service Award Winners
| July 2013
Fareeha Siddiqui, M.D.
The Puget Sound region is home to some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable health care practitioners in the world. But all of these resources can only make a difference in the life of an individual when he or she has access to them. This year as part of Top Doctors, we’re singling out for praise just a few of the many local health care practitioners and researchers—and their associated clinics and hospital outreach programs—who are making a difference in underserved, disenfranchised communities. These are doctors who are launching programs, volunteering their time and expertise, and building networks to improve health outlooks for people who, because of cultural and socio-economic barriers, might not otherwise get the care they need. Like many doctors in our region, these men and women go beyond the call to make our region healthier and happier. Seattle magazine, along with our Top Doctors Advisory Panel, is pleased to recognize these six outstanding leaders in the field.