Posted by: Ann Treacy | May 27, 2012

MHealth Applications

I’m researching remote telehealth applications – and by remote I’m thinking an island in the middle of the ocean.  It’s been interesting because as one article points out innovation isn’t coming from developed countires, it’s coming from places where the need is great (necessity, I guess being the mother of invention)…

Much of the innovative thinking in mHealth is coming from programs that target populations outside the United States, often in developing countries. Now in a twist of fate, the innovations emerging from the developing world could prove to be a significant springboard for innovation in the developed world.

Here’s a short list of some of the applications folks are using. They are not intended to run on smartphones; they are generally developed to run on low-end cell phones. It’s amazing – for patients and public health initiatives…

TRACNet (in Rwanda) a dynamic information technology system designed to collect, store, retrieve, display and disseminate critical program information, as well as to manage drug distribution and patient information related to the care and treatment of HIV/AIDS. This system enables practitioners involved in anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment programs to submit reports electronically and have timely access to vital information. By dialing 3456, a toll free number, or logging onto a bilingual website (English and French), health center staffers can submit or receive program results on HIV/AIDS patients as soon as they are processed. TRACnet uses solar energy chargeable mobile phones, which can be used in the most remote parts of the country.

PatientView is a simple and easy-to-use electronic medical record system (EMR) targeting small clinics or single departments that have little support from professional IT staff. Many of these clinics are currently using paper medical records and would benefit from the improved efficiency and reliability of an EMR, but do not have the technical staff to maintain a large, complex EMR. To address this problem, PatientView was designed to be easy to set up, easy to maintain, and easy to use. Beyond simplicity and usability, PatientView has many mobile features that are useful when working with health workers in the field, like the ability to coordinate SMS to and from the workers, accept forms submitted on mobile phones, and more.

CelloPhone is a revolutionary diagnostic tool that will be able to perform basic diagnostics such as Complete Blood Count, diagnosis of Malaria and TB, and CD4 T Lymphocyte count on the back of a camera phone. The device utilizes a new imaging technique called LUCAS that can take cellular-level images of blood or other liquids without complex lens systems or microscope hardware. An algorithm then analyzes cell morphology to automatically produce a diagnostic result. The diagnostic results will be communicated from the device to a central location using FrontlineSMS, and viewed with our Patient View module and/or sent to OpenMRS with our medical records module. The Ozcan lab at UCLA is developing this device, and we aim to pioneer its use in the developing world.

For a long weekend bonus, I thought I’d include a TED Talk too that take a look at what a difference technology (mobile and other) is making in health and the health care industry…


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