Medic_MobileMedic Mobile, a nonprofit technology company specializing in mobile health, has enacted 21 projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia to provide patients living in impoverished regions with healthcare they may not be able to afford or find otherwise. In total, 7,836 community health workers were using technology and supplies provided to them by Medic Mobile in 2013—a 71 percent increase from the previous year. The company uses open-source platforms such as FrontlineSMS, Google Maps and HealthMap to develop tools for healthcare specialists to reach isolated patients.

Their tools assist with disease surveillance, childhood immunizations, drug stock monitoring and antenatal care. Medic Mobile works to train local staff on healthcare and how to use their tools, design workflow and assess opportunities for their health system. Health workers in these communities can now take numerous actions to help decrease mortality rates and increase knowledge of health and illnesses.

Using Medic Mobile technology, healthcare specialists can register every pregnant woman in their community, which allows them to schedule visits and set reminders, detect problems early on and report these issues to a clinical team, and to ensure they are able to deliver in facilities with skilled birth attendants. This increases the chances of maternal and newborn survival.

Immunization of infants can help decrease the spread of polio, measles, diphtheria and tuberculosis. Medic Mobile is used by many to register infants, create appointments and use digital scheduling to send alerts so appointments are not missed.

One of the biggest tools Medic Mobile provides communities is disease surveillance. Disease surveillance helps to detect diseases, supply individuals with immunizations and treatments and help connect isolated patients with urgent medical care. For example, in Namitete, Malawi there is one hospital for 250,000 patients, and for many of these patients, the hospital is over 100 miles away. This causes high rates of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other illnesses. Medic Mobile makes it possible for individuals to receive advice about treatment and emergency referrals electronically.

Medic Mobile can also be used by medical facilities and pharmacists to prevent stock-outs, which can have life-threatening consequences. A study conducted by Oxfam, an international confederation working to end poverty, found that in developing communities only nine percent of local health facilities had fully stocked medical supplies. Medic Mobile is used to record stock levels every week to prevent stock-out.

Their toolkit is a free software toolkit that combines analytics, data collecting and messaging and is designed for health workers and systems in regions that are hard to reach. The software supports any language and works with or without Internet connectivity. The toolkit can run on basic phones, Smartphones, tablets and computers.

John Nesbit created Medic Mobile in 2008 as a six-month project. After its success, Medic Mobile has continued to provide tools to developing communities to provide their tools and services as an ongoing project.

Julia N. Hettiger

Sources: Matador Network, MedicMobile, Skoll Foundation
Photo: MedicMobile