Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Healthcare Worker based mobile Sensor Systems

The aim of the real time biosurveillance program is to mobilize Healthcare Workers in the rural settings with mobile phones to record and submit patient counts for the purpose of consolidating national health data for surveillance of unusual patterns (headsup). Problem that this real-time biosurveillance program (RTBP) promises to solve is to strengthen existing disease surveillance and detection communication systems, reduce latencies in detecting and communicating disease information, and set a stand interoperable protocol for sharing disease information with national and international health-related organizations in the region.

My role in the RTBP is working in the capacity of a Researcher and Project Director. The grant has been approved by IDRC but the administrative work remains to be completed before funds can be transfered and work can begin

RTBP shares many similarities with the small study working in (somewhat) rural Tanzania focus on guiding health care workers through medical algorithms, with the primary goal of improving care and the secondary goal of collecting data. In particular, it is automated with the IMCI protocols for classifying and treating childhood illness. If you are interested, an online paper titled "e-IMCI: Improving Pediatric Health Care in Low-Income Countries" describes the project and lessons learned.

The design of RTBP using mobile phones is in par with this abstract from the IEEE Internet Computing article titled - The Rise of People-Centric Sensing - "Technological advances in sensing, computation, storage, and communications will turn the near-ubiquitous mobile phone into a global mobile sensing device. People-centric sensing will help drive this trend by enabling a different way to sense, learn, visualize, and share information about ourselves, friends, communities, the way we live, and the world we live in. It juxtaposes the traditional view of mesh sensor networks with one in which people, carrying mobile devices, enable opportunistic sensing coverage. In the MetroSense Project's vision of people-centric sensing, users are the key architectural system component, enabling a host of new application areas such as personal, public, and social sensing."