AI, blockchain, cold chain and motorbikes improve blood donations and save lives in Nigeria
Blood shortages are common in many health systems. An initiative in Nigeria uses mHealth to create a community of voluntary blood donors, and connects hospitals with blood banks, and blood banks with donors. Life Bank, a Lagos start-up also provides a discovery platform on for hospitals to order blood
LifeBank delivers requested blood in less than 45 minutes, in a WHO Blood Transfusion Safety compliant cold chain. An article in Disrupt Africa says it’ll add other medical products such as oxygen, vaccines and rare drugs to its services.
Its founder, Giwa-Tubosun, began a non-profit service to encourage people to donate blood. She then moved on to address supply shortages and poor logistics. Two main goals are:Increasing access to bloodReducing the number of Nigerian women who die from birth complications.
LifeBank’s resources include:AIBlockchainCold chainmHealthMotorbikes.
These combine to provide information about blood availability and avoid health workers’ wasted time and frustration seeking blood products. They also minimise ineffective blood transports that result in bacteria proliferation and consequences of health complications.
Supporters include:Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in 2016 that raised pre-seed fundingEchoVC Partners, a venture capitalistParticipation in Merck’s Lagos-based satellite accelerator this yearSelection for MIT Solv2018 that added grants and access to other resources.
Its impact is considerable. To date, LifeBank’s delivered some 11,000 products for over 400 hospitals. Over 6,300 people are registered as voluntary blood donors, with over 20% donating blood in the last two years. The result: over 2,100 lives saved.
A challenge is convincing blood bank partners to use LifeBank. As this is overcome, it’s it easy to envisage LifeBank eventually operating across Africa.
- 651 views
- November 09, 2018
- Tom Jones
How do Africa’s mHealth strategies match the modern profile?
With mHealth a standard component of Africa’s eHealth strategies, what’s a good benchmark to test them against? Spok, a US communications firm, as a profile of mHealth strategies that can help. Its eighth annual survey shows some marked priorities.
Mobile Strategies in Healthcare Results Revealed says mHealth that reflects overall clinical goals for the health system or hospital are most successful. It also underpins larger eHealth strategies to deliver more efficient, higher quality care and increase satisfaction for patients, carers and health workers.
mHealth strategies extend across a wide range of information and areas. The top two are:mHealth management and security, for 56% of respondents Device selection, at 52%.
The bottom two are mobile, and business development and reporting strategies.
The full profile’s:Management and security 56%Device selection 52%EHR integration 48%Infrastructure assessment 45%Clinical workflow evaluation 43%Device ownership, including BYOD 34%Mobile app strategy 29%Mobile app catalogue 16%Mobile strategy governance 14%Business development and reporting strategy 12%
The third item, EHR integration, matches findings from another Spok survey of hospital CIOs. They said integrating with the EHR was their top priority for respondents. Clinical workflow evaluation’s high score on is seen as revealing. It’s an indication that doctors, nurses, and other health workers in direct patient care roles use mHealth to define safe, efficient and effectively managed workflows.
- 572 views
- October 02, 2018
- Tom Jones
Medical apps need better UX and UI
With the ubiquitous use of smartphones today, mobile users have great expectations from their apps: fast loading time, intuitive workflows, ease of use and aesthetic appeal. Digital health and mHealth organisations hoping to compete successfully in this vivid ecosystem, can no longer ignore user experience(UX) and user interface (UI) design as an essential component of their product strategy.
So, what is UX and UI?
UX is the process of researching, developing, and refining all aspects of a user’s interaction with a product to ensure that it is meeting the user’s needs. UI is more cosmetic and takes into consideration the visual interaction with a product, including the colour schemes, the size and colour of a button, the consistency of a theme and so on.
Simply put, UX makes apps useful, while UI makes apps beautiful. Together these aspects play an important role in highlighting the value of your product and creating a lasting connection with your users. They also have a positive impact on the bottom line, by reducing development time, increasing sales and improving customer retention.With over 318,000 health apps across the most popular app stores, the difference between a successful and unsuccessful mHealth app will lie in the quality of its UX and UI. The importance of good UX and UI cannot be overemphasized.
- 776 views
- September 11, 2018
- Ameera Hamid
Japan extends healthcare to the home
Welby My Karute is an innovative app developed by Welby Inc, a Tokyo based IT company to support the management of healthcare. The use of such apps for monitoring patient's lifestyles and chronic diseases is a growing trend in Japan. Medical institutions using this app rely on the information provided to improve treatment and care and reduce the incidence of healthcare visits.
The aim of this app is to encourage patients to keep a record of their lifestyle at home, which is then shared with dieticians, doctors and other medical workers. This serves as a “watcher” as it keeps an eye on the patient without them seeing a doctor. Data such as meal choices, blood pressure, pulse, sleep patterns and whether they take drugs appropriately can be shared with computers at the hospital to inform patient management and disease monitoring.
Patients have stated that the app makes it convenient for them as they tend to miss hospital checkups due to having other commitments such as work. This provides a useful use case for Africa, where patients struggle with similar challenges. Coupling this app with suitable patient incentives can help patients and clinicians shift healthcare away from being reactive, but rather proactive and preventative.
- 661 views
- August 10, 2018
- Nontobeko Shabangu
mHealth can improve communication and teamwork
Good football teams talk constantly during a game to ensure high levels of concentration and performance needed for success are sustained. Effective healthcare teams need to do the equivalent. Anmed Health Medical Center, a 461-bed acute care hospital in Anderson, South Carolina, uses mHealth to achieve effective communications and alerts for hospital teams.
In 2015, it started to integrate its phone system, nurse call system, patient monitoring alerts, secure texting and EPIC into a unified mHealth service. Other providers, including Philips Healthcare, Voalte and Connexall, are included too. The goal was to bring stakeholders together to improve and streamline connectivity, coordination and clinical workflows. Choosing the right phone was essential for success. PIVOT smartphones from Spectralink were selected.
The company has described the initiative in a case study. It has several lessons for Africa’s mHealth strategies. A major benefit’s the capacity to connect quickly with the most appropriate available people as different needs arise. Direct and effective messaging has increased response times, helping to provide more effective and personalised patient care.
While Africa’s mHealth has priorities for remote communities and healthcare workers, hospital teams need mHealth too. A challenge’s to find an appropriate investment balance within constrained resources.
- 641 views
- August 08, 2018
- Tom Jones
Saudi Arabia’s RAH@H aims to improve healthcare quality
Connecting and integrating healthcare resources to improve quality’s a core eHealth goal. In Riyadh, the Remotely Accessible Healthcare at Home (RAH@H) initiative offers a daily, patient centric, connected health model to achieve it. Five themes are integrated:EducatingEmpoweringInfluencingMonitoringTreating.
Achieving these depends on RAH@H operating at the centre of a technological hub.
Available both on Android and IOS, RAH@H uses modern technologies for telemedicine, webinars, and observations from medical devices to serve patients. Healthcare needs of vulnerable communities that don’t have ready access to services. They include pregnant women, especially with complications such as hypertension, gestational diabetes and cardiac conditions.
Interventions include:Improved nutritionPrevention and protection against diseases and illness.
These aim for outcomes of:Better life qualityCreating satisfied and empowered patientsIncreased treatment compliance.
Based in Riyadh, RAH@H’s project custodian’s the Director General of Prince Naif Bin AbdulAziz Health Research Center at King Saud University in Riyadh. It's concept and technology can have a role in African countries and their vulnerable, underserved communities.
- 599 views
- August 03, 2018
- Ameera Hamid
Stethee reinvents the stethoscope with AI
The worlds first Al enabled stethoscope system has been launched by M3DICINE Inc.
The design itself is revolutionary and operates as easily as the traditional stethoscope. However, it allows users to listen to the lung and heart sounds with a more sophisticated amplification and filtering technology. Heart and respiratory sounds captured are sent via Bluetooth to the Stethee Android or iOS App which enables a wider range of diagnostic capabilities.
The Stethee system comes in three core products:FDA cleared Stethee Pro for medical and healthcare professionalsStethee Vet for veterinarians and animal professionalsStethee Edu developed specifically as an education and research tool
The technology platform behind the Stethee AI engine , named “Aida” can analyze the heart and lung sounds to build a unique personal biometric signature. In addition to this, Aida automatically tags geo-location and environment data to each sample in real time. This offers a completely new dimension of data analytics for public health planning by allowing one to understand what effects environmental factors such as pollution, temperature or humidity have on our heart and lungs.
Aida also analyzes this encrypted and anonymised data in order to learn and report back quantitative clinically actionable data to vets, doctors and other healthcare professionals. Not only does it identify and analyze heart sounds and respiratory activity but also patterns that may indicate a disease condition. The data is represented in real time in the Stethee App, therefore making it easy to understand vital signs.
The potential for the Stethee to be used in remote rural areas is quite vast because its relatively easy to use and results can be shared and analyzed promptly by a medical specialist anywhere in the world. This is invaluable to the improvement of patient care, more especially to remote rural areas where access to screening services or a cardiologist is very difficult.
- 775 views
- July 20, 2018
- Nontobeko Shabangu
Wearable heart rate monitors don’t tick the box
A cynical insight from Napoleon Bonaparte was “If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.” I doesn’t fit wearable mHealth, where reliable results are everything.
Research in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) says some wearables have considerable promise, but have to do much better at delivery.
It sees an important role for wearable sensor technology in clinical research and healthcare. Before it can, it must undergo rigorous evaluation prior to market launch and its performance should be supported by evidences. The researchers found that match between three heart rate monitoring devices and an electrocardiography (ECG) reference was weak.
Many studies have tried to validate wrist-worn photoplethysmography (PPG) heart rate monitors, but contrasting results question their utility. A big problem’s inadequate methodologies.
Validation strategies should consider the nature of data provided by both the investigational and reference devices. There must be uniformity in the statistical approach to the analyses too. Investigators should test the technology in user populations and in appropriate settings for the planned uses. Developers, suppliers and scientific communities need robust standards to validate new wearable sensor technology.
There’s a lot more to do before wearables can become mainstream clinical devices. The findings and recommendations should be considered be Africa’s health systems as they advance their mHealth strategies and plans.
- 523 views
- July 11, 2018
- Ameera Hamid
Intermountain Healthcare integrates telehealth and mHealth in a connected care platform
Information silos are huge obstacles to integrated healthcare. And integrated care is the kind most of us want for ourselves and for our loved ones. It's a key eHealth challenge.
In a report in Research Information, research platform outfit Dimensions says they’re usually created unintentionally, and are a phenomenon to “escape” from.
Intermountain Healthcare, based on Salt Lake City, US, seems to be free of these troubles. A report in mHealth Intelligence says it’s integrated 35 different telehealth and mHealth services into Connect Care Pro, a single connected care platform. Objectives are to improve care coordination and keep care in communities, both of which could be good for patients and health systems. It took five years to plan.
The services it supports include:Virtual or tele-programmesTelestrokeTelehealth programmes for behavioural healthTelehealth programmes for newborn critical careTelepharmacy serviceseHealth services using connected health devices.
The legacy was a history of launches of several telehealth and mHealth programs and pilots that didn’t integrate easily. Intermountain sees their integration initiative as the next telehealth phase.
The initiative has valuable lessons for our African countries' mHealth and telehealth programmes. It makes sense to start constructing equivalent platforms without delay. It’ll be easier and cheaper than waiting until more silos need integrating. Even more important, it’ll bring extra patient and healthcare benefits, sooner, for our patients, our families and ourselves.
- 614 views
- July 05, 2018
- Sean Broomhead
GPS tracking finds a role for dementia patients
Location, location, location’s not just a property agents’ mantra for house hunting and valuations. It’s essential for dementia patients and their health workers and family carers too. Knowing the whereabouts of the patients and loved ones can be supported by GPS. A NHS organisation in Dorset, UK’s testing a tracking device in shoe insoles to know patients’ locations and help to keep them safe.
It was reported in a BBC Radio 4 programme that alerts are sent to carers’ mobiles when users stray from designated areas. The can be a nursing home yard or garden. The GPS can pinpoint patients precisely to map. When they stray, they can be found, minimising the risk of harm and needing hospital care.
Alz Products makes trackers prices at £75 and a £26 monthly fee. They can be transferred to other footwear, so it’s a price per user.
A report from the South Central Region of the Dementia Action Alliance South Central Region says there are 670,000 people with dementia in England and 550,000 friends and family acting as their primary carers. Socio-economic costs across healthcare, social care and wider society are estimated at £19b in 2011. It’s more than cancer, heart disease or stroke costs.
These kinds of impacts from imaginative innovation offer Africa’s eHealth programmes direct patient and healthcare benefits. They need a significant place in their strategies and plans.
- 522 views
- June 29, 2018
- Ameera Hamid
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