TEM - Healthcare in Developing Regions
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How can information technologies be used to support health organizations, community health workers, and communities? We believe that computing can have a huge impact on improving the health of people in developing communities. Our interests include the design and implementation of systems for data collection, electronic and biometric medical records, health education tools, and systems to encourage healthy behaviors. In addition, we use ethnographic methods to study the assimilation of information technologies in health contexts. A few current projects are below.

 

 

Medication Adherence

One component of improving treatment of diseases such as HIV infection or tuberculosis entails ensuring medication adherence. Failure to complete a full course of medication results in re-infection and drug-resistant infections. We are working on technologies to improve medication adherence, including:

    • Biometric monitoring of tuberculosis patients, in collaboration with OpASHA. See Microsoft Press Release and the video.
    • SMS Reminders to encourage pregnant mothers to take iron-folic acid supplements.

Op-ASHA demonstrating biometric tracking system 

Persuasive Health Education

Mobile phones are robust, portable devices that can be used for a variety of tasks, including the sharing of video content. Numerous projects seek to leverage this platform for public health education, using apps and video to enable providers and patients to augment their health knowledge. However, merely watching a video may not result in behavior change. We investigate ways to improve the persuasiveness of health education interventions:

ASHA Assist

Understanding Electronic Record-Keeping

Especially in rural contexts, paper is the de-facto technology used to maintain patient records and to collect data to support monitoring of outcomes. However, paper-based recordkeeping is tedious, and subject to potential damage or loss of the records. As organizations seek to move towards electronic records, we investigate various devices, methods of input, and the overall interaction between organizations, health workers, and the data collection process. Projects include:

    • Case studies on the use of low-cost mobile devices and digital slates for management of rural child malnutrition.
    • Comparing the efficacy document collection and direct observation to mobile data collection in maternity wards in Iganga, Uganda for measuring delays in care and other health outcomes.
    • Study of the roles of non-instrumental use in improving health worker engagement with data collection activities.
Mobile data collection in Uganda

 Some other healthcare-related work

Publications

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