Sunday, August 23, 2009

Software, Hardware, and Health

I finally met Isaac Holeman, Clinical Programs Co-founder of FrontlineSMS:Medic. Isaac is on a year long Compton Fellowship. His project is to spec out an electronic medical records system that integrates with medical data collected in the field (via sms). Isaac -I hope I got that partially correct. Isaac's accomplishments with FrontlineSMS:Medic are really fantastic and prescient. I am very excited to hear how his project develops and to hear more of his thoughts on mHealth.

Isaac has been thinking about these issues longer than I have, so it was great to sit down and talk with him.
We discussed some of the SMS/health/development solutions available

  • RapidSMS - open source, super extensible, you need some technical savvy. (I'm working on this so it is of course my personal favorite :)
  • FrontlineSMS - a more established turnkey solution, with support for many different phone platforms, and for java enabled xforms. I think it would be a great idea to create a FrontlineSMS app for RapidSMS to integrate with the FrontlineSMS gateway and xforms java engine.
  • OpenMRS - this is an open source java based medical records system. The system is open source not the records :) FrontlineSMS:Medic (Isaac's product) is developing a plug in for OpenMRS. Again, I think this would be a great candidate for an RapidSMS app. I also think that there is a lot of potential to implement this system in the US and other developed countries - mobile/realtime communication with eHealth systems.

  • Ushahidi - started out as an sms/google map mashup engine - it's strenght is in a crowd sourcing application for mapping areas of political unrest. Its built on top of FrontlineSMS and The strength of an application like ushahidi is it is a intelligible and useful solution to a well defined problem. It is an application. RapidSMS and FrontlineSMS are more general frameworks - with applications built on top of them.

We also discussed other people and orgs doing similar work: Partners in Health, The Clinton Foundation, The Gates Foundation, RapidResponse, TextToChange, MobileActive - Ken Isaac's mentor - the list goes on...

We also talked about new medical technology, along with a scottish aid worker that is staying at the same rooming house as Isaac. I am very interested in the Cellophone technology being developed out of UCLA EE - use a sensor on your phone to diagnose various blood based diseases (such as malaria). Also interested in PointCare - they developed a portable mobile cd4 (t cell count) test. Also found this link about other cellphone-enabled medical devices. All this has inspired me to think about intelligent medical devices and integrating this with mHealth solutions.

Ahh - The Meuzzin is calling. That gives me about 45 minutes to do some kung fu before the mosquitos start to attack. I wonder how many years of my life the deet I just have sprayed will steal....

Lots of good work to do - you cant spell change with out chang (hahahahahha)

Hope to see Isaac next week for the Lucius Banda concert!

This blogging is hard - i hope my stream of consciousness translates into coherent blog posts.

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