New York Borrows a Health Care Idea From Africa
Manmeet Kaur, the social entrepreneur who founded City Health Works four years ago, spent several years doing economic development and HIV prevention work in the developing world. She noticed that health care workers in countries like India and South Africa are particularly good at something the American system isn’t great at: helping patients take care of themselves, even in poor communities. What’s more, she noticed that those countries didn’t use doctors or nurses to do it. They used lay health care workers, some of them patients themselves, trained to go into the homes and communities of patients and help them manage their conditions. She realized that using community health care workers would also fill a real gap in American health care, where all too often patients with chronic conditions like heart failure and diabetes are released from the hospital with little follow-up and few options when problems arise except to go to right back to the ER.