Informaticopia

Friday, August 29, 2008

XO Laptop, or One Laptop Per Child Project: An Extension Idea for a Sturdy Tool

I woke up at 4 a.m. thinking how great it one be to apply the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO Laptop (http://laptopgiving.org/en/explore.php) to several ideas.
  1. Educating children on health: It already has education as a mission, but I wonder how much of that is devoted to evidence-based health education practices? It uses gaming too, so it could also be adopted by groups such as Games for Health (http://www.gamesforhealth.org/). And, projects such as Re-Mission (http://www2.re-mission.net/) could be a model for how it teaches children compliance and self-care with other diseases.
  2. Medication Tracking and Compliance: In the US and other country rural areas, it could have something similar to the My-Medi-Health project, which aims to investigate and research methods for improving compliance among children. What about a module within it that has a personal health record? Or even one which encourages the child to document vital signs, medications, and treatments and then can beam it back to a provider's computer in the clinic? (http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/root/vumc.php?site=mymedihealth&doc=9495).
  3. A Remote Healthcare Provider Computer: This computer has incredible potential for remote areas for having a more robust electronic medical record. It could act as a repository for data until the healthcare provider could get back to a central computer and then, using its wireless abilities, beam them back into the main database (sync them up).
  4. Home Health Care for Rural Areas: As above, especially with nursing modules it could bring about cheaper care and bedside documentation for nurses in the field.
  5. Disaster Relief Use: What about developing a special model of this very durable PC for use in mass casualty disaster situations? Especially since it comes with a hand crank, and after disasters we often don't have battery and networking capabilities, note that it has a hand-crank to recharge and it has wireless social networking software built in. So, it could not only tell you where other healthcare providers are in the command zone, but share information on triage and treatment. Just a little retweaking of the system and it's ideal... especially because it is designed specifically for sturdiness, including water and sandproof and dropping and so on...
  6. Transcultural Care: The team using it are experts at symbolization and crossing language barriers. They could help develop a universal standard, or even several language algorithms, for helping international aid workers work together in mass casualty.
  7. Special Needs Children: I wonder how well it would work for autistic children and others within that spectrum, especially combined with http://www.zacbrowser.com/?
  8. Accessories: Could other equipment be developed to accompany it? For instance, a Wii Fit board to measure weight in the field, or something sturdier and just as cheap (the board itself is $87 retail or so bought directly, not through marked-up online vendors). Or, blood glucose monitoring devices and such? A blood pressure cuff?
  9. Field Database: Could a more remote version be created for use as field command centers? Even have database server versions, using the peer-to-peer wireless, to collect data? Not just for mass casualties, but healthcare in remote areas? Again, a sturdier, server version, but bring it back to the main computer and sync it up, perhaps in a healthcare truck, van, airplain, or helicopter or such? Valued data could be used for research, health care improvement, disease tracking, and even fundraising. Think of the value to groups like the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The CDC could really benefit from point-of-impact data collection.

What would it take to raise the money for it? Could the XO team help raise the money to form a separate group to investigate using it this way? Maybe even the Vanderbilt School of Nursing faculty and staff could be involved and find grants to make this happen? Maybe a research project for a grad student or two? Are there others who are interested in seeing this happen? Is it visionary?

Just some thoughts. Thanks for listening! - Richard Aries, MSN, RN, EMT

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MSF Field Research database

Médecins Sans Frontières aanounced yesterday that it is making its database of research accessible to health workers in developing countries through a new open-access website known as the MSF Field Research database.

At its launch, the field research site included over 400 archived articles on issues including HIV care, malaria, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, refugees and health politics. It also features conference abstracts and a section called ‘Programme Descriptions’ that describes lessons learnt from MSF’s field experience.

The hope is that making these reports freely available, as opposed to hidden away in subscription based journals, will enable the sharing of experience and benefit those in developing countries that might not have been able to afford the subscriptions to the journals.

The journals who have agreed to this system include The Lancet, BMJ, New England Journal of Medicine, PLoS Medicine and Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and perhaps demonstrates a change in their business model to a more open access approach.

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