Healthcare at your fingertips in developing world

Healthcare at your fingertips in developing world

Tony Quested( Business  Weekly)

Cambridge could prove the launchpad for a novel way of capturing patient healthcare data in the developing world.A group of students working with global MedTech company, Medic Mobile, are developing a fingerprint ID-based system of patient analytics.The project evolved at the Global Health Hack Day in Cambridge UK and will be developed further at the Idea Transform weekend, April 20-22.

Medic Mobile uses mobile communication technologies to improve the health of underserved and disconnected communities. It provides on-the-ground means of capturing patient information using low cost mobile phones containing specially adapted network independent SIM card applications.

Headed up by CEO Josh Nesbit and formerly known as FrontlineSMS, Medic Mobile’s tools are used in 15 countries, largely in sub-Saharan Africa.

As an international health and bioethics student at Stanford, Nesbit says his efforts in the global healthcare arena were inspired by volunteer village health workers in rural Malawi.

The student team were challenged to identify at least one approach for improving the accuracy or efficiency of ID capture and present evidence that their approach was feasible.

Shruti Badwar, Mariya Chhatriwala and Toby Norman spent a week working on the problem, coming up with a fingerprint ID system that was praised by the judges for being easy to deploy to the over 10 million community health volunteers operating in the developing world, for whom a mobile phone is now an essential tool.

Held as part of this year's Cambridge Science Festival the Global Health Hack Day was an exciting 'open innovation' event that saw seven teams of enterprising students present their solutions to real global health challenges in front of a panel of expert judges.

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As well as Medic Mobile the students worked with leading organisations including Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Costello Medical Consulting and the PHG Foundation.

The upcoming Idea Transform event will team up people with ideas and those with business, marketing and technical skills to work together intensely over the weekend in order to develop meaningful and innovative projects.

At the end of the weekend an international judging panel will select those projects that show the most promise and Idea Transform will then work closely with them to provide on-going mentoring and support.