I write today with excellent news. We are thrilled to announce that The Mulago Foundation is supporting FrontlineSMS:Medic with a catalyst grant. Thanks to this support, I am now full time as Lead Developer, responsible for software design, development and testing. This is exciting because I’ve been chained to other activites for the past year or so and have been spoiling for a chance to really dig in to all the projects that Medic has going.
Last year we gave the community a first taste of Patient View, our extension of FrontlineSMS that allows clinics to manage their remote workers and patients as well as the day-to-day operations at the clinic itself. Most recently, an alpha version of Patient View was on display at the Global Health Information Forum in Bangkok. While this was a good start, we have much, much more planned for this year, and I’d like to give you a rough outline of what the software devs have in store:
Release of Patient View
With a filled-out featureset including user interface improvements, internationalization, lost-to-followup and adherence monitoring, improved charting, appointment scheduling, calendar tools, auto-topup, and much more, this year will definitely be a good one for Patient View. We are planning on releasing a beta version in February (in just a couple of weeks), and if you would like to participate in that beta testing, feel free to email me at email@example.com. After the beta version, we will kickoff the Medic open source community by opening up the Patient View code.
FrontlineSMS & OpenMRS
While we think that Patient View is excellent, it isn’t right for everyone. There are large clinics with huge patient loads that need a solution that can handle their 60,000 patients and all the data that comes with them. To that end we are working with OpenMRS (openmrs.org), an enterprise-level FOSS medical record, to develop several different featuresets including mobile data collection, SMS alerts, and more.
Mapping with Ushahidi
Ushahidi has created a wonderful platform for mapping, and has recently put their tech in a FrontlineSMS plugin. We plan to use this to add a wide range of mapping features to Patient View. This will allow users to map diseases, workers, resources, or anything that they wish so that they can better manage their time, fuel, and other resources.
Remote Diagnostics with CelloPhone
Andoyan Ozcan at UCLA (http://innovate.ee.ucla.edu/) has created a revolutionary system that allows cellular-level images blood to be taken using the camera sensor of a simple camera phone. These images can then be sent via MMS to a remote server where they are analyzed by pattern-matching algorithms, yielding important information like CD4 counts, disease diagnoses, and more. We plan to integrate this technology with Patient View, allowing doctors in the developing world to take full advantage of this incredible new technology. In the settings of many of our clinics, there are no labs to send tests off to, or if there are, getting results is expensive and time consuming. With this new technology, we can have diagnoses in seconds at the cost of an MMS. Now that’s what I call progress!
Personally, I’m super excited about this coming year. These projects all have the potential to change the state of mHealth in a huge, positive way.
In closing, I’d like to emphasize that Medic is not solely focused on software; we are an organization committed to fostering an open-source software community and making sure these tools make it to those who need them most. With the beginning of our open source community, these plans have the potential to be yours just as much as they are ours. If you want to participate, email us and stay tuned because things are about to get really interesting, really quick.