June 10, 2016
"Disrupting Humanitarian Response" was the common theme at the HumTech 2016 Conference in Cambridge, MA this week. The event brings together some of the brightest and most passionate people who focus on technical ideas that advance global humanitarian action.
The purpose of the conference is to discuss, share and promote current research, and recent accomplishments across all aspects of technology, from science to systems that have a global humanitarian impact. Scalpel At The Cross, a Christian medical mission to the Peruvian Amazon, demonstrated the CrossCare project that utilizes Digi technology to bring critical orthopaedic services to the tribal population of Pucallpan Peruvians.
CrossCare is a custom-built application to withstand harsh jungle conditions. A state-of-the-art electronic medical record (EMR) system, CrossCare features an iOS-based application that runs on any Apple device (iPad, iPad mini, iPhone), leverages wireless peer-to-peer networking and Google Cloud data storage to create, manage, share and track patient data and treatment outcomes.
Outfitted with a collection of iPads, doctors and medical staff at the Pucallpa medical campus record important data through the registration, examination, and treatment planning stages. Through peer-to-peer networking over a Digi wireless router, information entered into one iPad is shared in near real-time on all of the staff's iPads allowing each member of the medical staff to have complete information at their fingertips. Information is consolidated into a medical database and replicated on every tablet without servers or broadband connectivity. For patients requiring surgery, the CrossCare application is used to record surgery documentation, post-operative rounds and follow up exams.
The events keynote speaker, Gisli Olafsson with NetHope, said, "True innovation comes when you understand the fundamental problem that the user needs to resolve." This is the role Digi plays the CrossCare project. Digi's cellular router solves the very real problem of collecting patient data during mission clinics, through surgery, and continuing through follow-up appointments.
The 3-day event was well-attended by a group of enthusiasts in the humanitarian space.
Gisli also encouraged all to come up with a more sustainable business models to support work that allows entrepreneurs to create new innovations, and continue to innovate without the administrative overhead of writing grants each year, and generating extensive reports back to the donors.
The industry as a whole seems primed and ready for a shake-up, and is welcoming start-up technology teams that can bring new ideas and new technology to an older, established institution.
The idea that funding of humanitarian efforts will continue to come from governments or funnel through other existing world relief organizations is wavering. This leaves a huge opening for self-funding solutions and innovation projects like CrossCare that Digi has helped to develop. Its our hope to make CrossCare available to other mission hospitals with the potential of growing it to be not just a Peruvian Amazon project but a global solution.