Attendees of the course will be introduced to the pieces that make up a successful Medic Mobile mHealth partnership. These must be present for a project to be successful, sustainable, and lead to scale.
Tools – Choosing the right tool is not as intuitive as it sounds. You need to employ empathy, human-centered design, and a lot of logic to know what to build for a specific community.
Strategy – Invite the Ministry of Health and other government bodies to get involved early; they can be your greatest advocate and help support your project into the future.
Funding – Your project needs to be secure in its funding in order to continue. You may need to employ creative ways to ensure a projects can sustain itself.
Continuous Design – Your mHealth program needs to keep evolving as the project and user needs change.
Participants will also learn from Medic Mobile’s vast experience employing human-centered design. “Users are at the center of everything we do,” says Dianna, “Our process begins when we sit down with community health workers, nurses, patients, and community members.”
Katie loves creative storytelling and is excited to shine a spotlight on Medic Mobile’s incredible mission. She comes to Medic Mobile with a background in marketing and advertising, telling stories for big brands like Hershey and Proctor & Gamble and young startups like Rdio and Dot & Bo. Katie has also volunteered her writing for Watsi and DailyGood. She is unabashedly in love with travel, yoga, capture the flag and writing young adult fiction.
In areas of the world with high amounts of tobacco consumption and limited access to affordable dental care, oral cancer is a major concern. Oral cancer can be prevented with early detection and to equip rural health workers, the OScan team at Stanford university has developed a screening tool that mounts on a camera phone and conducts screenings for oral lesions. The data can then be transmitted to dentists and oral surgeons for assessment. OScan is in the process of conducting field tests with grants from Stanford, Vodafone Americas Foundation, and previously received funding from the mHealth Alliance.
2. STD testing smartphone attachment
Columbia University researchers have created a dongle (an attachment with a specific software) that can plug into Androids or iPhones and conduct tests for HIV and syphilis in about 15 minutes. The attachment costs $34 to manufacture, unlike the current method of conducting these tests in labs which can cost nearly $18,000. The dongle was recently tested in Rwanda on 96 patients and is still under development to improve its accuracy before doing a bigger trial run.
USAID recently launched the ‘Grand Challenge’ calling for innovative approaches in the fight against the ongoing Ebola crisis. One of the two innovations unveiled at SXSW ‘15 is the multisense memory patch or Smart Band-Aid. It’s a flexible patch that takes a patient’s baseline vitals and measures the changes from the baseline remotely. The vitals can be measured from outside the hot zone, or area containing active ebola cases, as the patch uses a USB cable to transmit data (the final version will use Bluetooth). With 7 – 10 hours of battery life, it costs $100 and is disposable. Wendy Taylor, Director of the USAID Center for Accelerating Innovation (pictured above), calls the smart band-aid a game changer!
5. Data Collection Necklace for Infant Vaccinations
Developed to address the challenge rural clinicians and parents face in documenting children’s vaccination records, Khushi Baby stores children’s medical history in a digital necklace. After winning the Thorne Prize for Social Innovation in Health in 2014, this Yale University classroom project has become an organization and has conducted a successful field test in the village of Mada Daag, India. When vaccinations are administered, the healthcare worker can scan the necklace with their Khushi Baby app on their smartphone to transfer vaccination data to the necklace. The data is also automatically uploaded to the cloud once the healthcare worker returns to the clinic. Parents then receive automatic voice calls reminding them about vaccination clinics and during their next visit, the healthcare worker simply scans the necklace of the baby to see which vaccines are due.
As amazing as mobile phones and these new attachments and wearables are in global health, these new technologies also raise important issues. For example, when it comes to wearables, battery life can be an issue. Erica Kochi, a senior advisor at UNICEF noted that internet connectivity has beat electricity to many rural parts of the world, so access to electricity may still be minimal or non-existent in parts of the world where wearable tech can help. While finding better ways to collect more data is vital in healthcare, data privacy and security is increasingly becoming an important concern as we are realizing that there is too much data to manage.
The overall issue of practicality is another concern. Are these innovative solutions practical, cost-effective, and cost-saving? These are the conversations we will be having in our upcoming mHealth online course. We will be discussing new mHealth approaches like the ones mentioned in this post among others. We have a great group enrolled already and will be hearing from guest experts from organizations like Medic Mobile, National Institutes of Health (NIH), D-Tree International, PATH, and more!