Category — Healthcare

UC Berkeley Team Develops Simple Medical Record System for India

As part of a project called Emmunify, a team from the  Uiniversity of California, Berkeley has simplified medical record-keeping by storing patient vaccination records on a portable chip that can then be accessed by a healthcare provider without the need for Internet access. The current team consists of two Berkeley alumni, including co-founder Anandamoy Sen, and six undergraduate and graduate students from Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and the School of Public Health.

“Electronic health records are not new, but in developed nations, there is more IT infrastructure in place that allows some health providers and patients to have access to medical data,” says project team member Jennifer Sisto, a graduate student in public health. “We wanted something that would be effective in areas with limited healthcare data and IT resources, so we focused on providing crucial information, not setting up an entire electronic health record system.”

With the leadership of faculty adviser Dr Julia Walsh, adjunct professor of maternal and child health, the team connected with non-profit health providers in India and began preparing to pilot-test the technology in New Delhi, where under half the children are fully immunized.

The Emmunify chip is attached to a user’s cell phone, and data is transferred to the health provider’s phone, tablet or other computer through near-field communication, a feature that is increasingly common in today’s mobile devices. A free app must be downloaded so the device can read the data on the chip. The researchers note that most families have access to at least one cell phone, and that the system is designed to be operable on various platforms. Emmunify can also be used to help direct resources where they are needed. Communities can track how many vaccines have been delivered and used, and health administrators will know when supplies are low and more vaccines are needed.

Ultimately, the system could help increase vaccination rates by sending patients automated voicemail reminders in their local language to remind them when their next shot is due.

The Emmunify team hopes to raise $25,000 to support further software development and to deploy the technology in New Delhi.

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December 4, 2014   No Comments

Low-Cost Ultrasound Machines Reduce Fetal, Maternal Mortality

GE Healthcare India’s R & D department has introduced a low-cost, pocket-sized ultrasound machine with a cost range of $6500 to $8000 (INR 400,000 – 500,000). This handheld device will be primarily targeted for use in tier II towns and rural areas (tier III) to improve maternal and infant health rates by helping to diagnose any complications in real time.

Vscan pocket-sized ultrasound device that may transform the way physicians see their patients

Vscan pocket-sized ultrasound device that may transform the way physicians see their patients

“By proper screening during pregnancy, we can see improvement in the outcomes and avoid maternal or infant death during delivery,” says Mr. S. Ganesh Prasad, director, ultrasound imaging, GE Healthcare.

Doctors welcomed the medical device because of its usefulness and affordability.

Indian physicians responded well to the new product: Dr. Jitendra Sharma, head, division of healthcare technology, National Health System Resource Centre, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, opined that the idea of using handheld ultrasound devices clinically would be better than the currently available static ones that were also much more expensive.

Dr. Rakhee Gogoi, head of radiology, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon, said, “Our villages do not have many ultrasound machines in rural areas. Ultrasound is [a] very basic and important modality that can be used to detect any sort of pathology at a very early stage. Often, villagers come for the treatment when it’s too late for the problem till then the condition has gone out of hand.”

“The rural segment in India is the fastest growing market with 22-23 percent growth, and that is going to be our area of focus,” said Ganesh Prasad of GE Healthcare.

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November 3, 2014   No Comments

India Plans to Eradicate Tuberculosis by 2020

Tuberculosis is one of India’s biggest health problems, and at WHO’s Global TB Symposium, held on October 28 in Barcelona, Harsh Vardhan the Minister for Health and Family Welfare announced TB-Mission 2020, a plan to eliminate tuberculosis from the country.

Efforts are being taken by the Indian government to provide free diagnosis and treatment as well as nutrition support and relevant financial enablers to the patients from government and private hospitals, he added.

He further emphasized that the solution to lung-related health challenges lies in bringing together all the stakeholders, namely, the health care professionals, policy makers, and the communities they serve.

 

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November 3, 2014   No Comments

India Prepares $28 Billion Plan to Develop Universal Healthcare

India will spend $28 billion to start up an ambitious universal healthcare scheme to provide drugs, diagnostic tests and insurance cover to all citizens. The Health Ministry is in the process of finalizing a note for the Union Cabinet with an aim to get its approval in the next two months.

The scheme under the National Health Assurance Mission, to be rolled out in a phased manner from April next year, will cover the entire population while taking care of their healthcare needs by March, 2019. The startup plan will be implemented in four carefully selected districts in each state.

“We are preparing the scheme since it involves a lot of preparatory activities. We hope to launch it from the year 2015-16 in a phased manner,” Additional Secretary Health C.K. Mishra said. He said once fully operational, all Indian citizens will get free medicines, drugs and diagnostic tests in all government as well as private medical establishments across the country.

They added that around  $13 billion will be spent annually under the scheme.

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October 30, 2014   No Comments

USAID and Mass General’s Camtech Host Med-Tech “Hackathon” in Bangalore

Two day intense programming projects or “hackathons” are quite common in the software business, but India hosted a first-of-a-kind medical device and healthcare project this year.

As part of a new, USAID-funded partnership with GE Healthcare India and Glocal Healthcare, CAMTech’s first ever healthcare Hackathon took place at GE’s R&D Center in Bangalore this summer.

With only forty eight hours to go from an idea to a prototype to a workable business model, the hackers worked late into the night. The event showed the potential of an exciting new approach to research and development: current-day technologies and healthcare systems were deconstructed and used to complement, or even replace, traditional devices in the context of a developing Indian market.  “The event is a new way of elevating the experience and know-how of local experts and using strategies from not just engineering, but also public health and business, to develop new tools to improve health,” said Elizabeth Bailey, Director of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) at Massachusetts General Hospital. “We’re focused on finding impactful, marketable, and easy-to-adopt ways to change the way we provide care to women and children.”

A Clinical Summit took place prior to the hackathon that brought together experts from the healthcare, engineering and business industries. The Summit identified 75 of the most pressing issues in Indian healthcare, highlighting the need for innovation in mother and child care in particular.

Prizes
The top three creations  were awarded monetary prizes along with the chance to see their idea carried further by CAMTech and GE Healthcare India. In addition to monetary prizes, the winners will also benefit from three years of support and office space at the Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Center Healthcare Technology Incubator.

  • First prize, Rs. 250,000, went to a mobile application called BabySteps, which aids early diagnosis of developmental delays in children.
  • In second place, with a Rs. 150,000 reward came PEC-Dia, a measurement system developed to diagnose a condition called Cephalo Pelvic Disproportion (CPD, which occurs when the baby’s head is too large to pass through the mother’s pelvis).
  • In third place, with Rs. 75,000, was the Pregmatic, a wearable device that reminds pregnant women about important developmental milestones to be aware of throughout their pregnancy, at which they may need critical care.
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October 27, 2014   No Comments