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    Time to Act – Our Commitment

    07 Oct

    Filed under conferences and meetings

    Members at the Clinton Global Initiative are asked to make a commitment to action. This year, our commitment at FrontlineSMS:Medic centers around the deployment of three mobile health tools: PatientView, a lightweight patient records system that can be used anywhere there is a mobile signal; Surveys, a new tool that allows users to collect structured information by SMS; and the OpenMRS messaging module, a new messaging platform for the open-source medical records system OpenMRS.

    Josh CGI


    Ideal for hard-to-reach hospitals and clinics, PatientView organizes text messages and mobile forms to create searchable patient and health worker profiles.The module creates a new user interface within FrontlineSMS – one screen where staff at a central computer can view all relevant data relevant. Health workers can sort, update, and add new records from the central computer. The plug-in also introduces login security, new search features, simpler messaging to patients’ health workers, and an upcoming  ‘flag’ system to alert clinical staff to certain information, and new reporting capabilities. Watch the demo video here.


    The Surveys module was developed to efficiently and accurately send structured information via plain text SMS available on the lowest-common-denominator handsets in low-resource settings. It provides a simple syntax and enables structured data collection with the robustness and scalability of SMS through plain text, yes/no, multiple choice, and checklist responses. Use cases include dynamic stock reporting and resource mapping, landmine victim care tracking, and maternal health vital event reporting.  We are collaborating with Google to enable Surveys to update information about health facilities in Resource Finder, a tool Google has developed to help disseminate updated information about which services various health facilities offer in a disaster area.  Surveys will allow relief workers to update a given facility’s available bed status, which types of specialists are on staff, etc, all via SMS.

    Surveys screenshot

    Surveys screenshot

    Google's Resource Finder

    Google's Resource Finder

    The OpenMRS Messaging Module

    FrontlineSMS:Medic has built a messaging platform for OpenMRS, a web-based, open-source medical records system. This messaging module will allow large clinics to extend patient records outside clinic walls, e.g. giving remote health workers the ability to update patients’ records via SMS, allowing clinicians to set appointment reminders, messaging CHWs about patient test results and treatment instructions, etc. Learn more about the messaging module here.

    FrontlineSMS:Medic aims to implement three national-scale and over ten regional-scale programs by the end of 2012. Target countries include Malawi, Kenya, Mali, Bangladesh, Haiti and Colombia.  Through these deployments, we expect to increase our number of end users to at least 15,000 health workers.

    The need is loud and clear – large gaps exist in health systems. The disconnect between health centers and peripheral communities means that adherence rates suffer, clinicians are unaware of patient statuses, immobile patients cannot receive emergency care, remote health workers lack support, new illnesses are not identified, and drug stock-outs are too common. We believe that FrontlineSMS:Medic’s tools can help create health systems that are connected, coordinated, and save more lives.

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    5 Responses to “Time to Act – Our Commitment”

    1. Bob Weierbach

      Thanks for taking this on and working in a much needed area. Great list of requirments for messenger but it will take a long time and some of the issues will be country specific, food credits for example. Suggest that you ask people in the field for priority requirements and get a release out in Beta to learn from early on in the process.
      Will keep checking back to see how the effort is going.

    2. Israel Kloss

      congrats! this is great!

    3. Eberechi Asonye

      Am excited about the possibilities. We are presently working with a health ministry to deploy an ERP to manage health information. The hitch we have at the moment is the hiigh cost of providing internet access to the over 100 health centres. I strongly believe Patient View can be a solution. Lets talk more on this to see how we can move it forward. Congrats! Great job.

    4. Michael

      I am a Canadian medical volunteer. Returned yesterday from Nkhotokota, Malawi. Was putting a proposal to help solve the problem that I saw of outreach to patients in the Nkhotakota district. Due to distance and a fuel shortage I was able to see very few patients and spent most of my time searching for vehicles or fuel. Utterly frustrating. As even the poorest seem to have cell phones, felt that a system of assessment and/or identification using cell phones may work. It appears this has already been done in St. Gabriel’s. Fantastic work! Can you tell me how much it cost in the end? What glitches did you run into? is their funding available? How did you overcome the fact that the hospitals are funded by seeing in-patients? Did you fund the phone time credits? If so, how did you prevent inappropriate use? There is a desperate need in St. Anne’s Hospital, Malawi. Additional volunteers are going down soon. Would welcome the opportunity to spread the use of your system to nearby St. Anne’s, Nkhotakota and Ndimoyo, Salima.

    5. FrontlineSMS:Medic | penneylaneonline

      [...] a lightweight patient records system that can be used anywhere there is a mobile signal; Surveys, a new tool that allows users to collect structured information by SMS. The Surveys module was [...]