Critical Connection For Humanitarian Efforts with IoT Technology Demonstrated at HumTech 2016

“Disrupting Humanitarian Response” was the common theme at the HumTech2016 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 event’s 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 TransPort 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. It’s 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.

(source: http://www.digi.com/blog/iot/critical-connection-for-humanitarian-efforts-with-iot-technology-demonstrated-at-humtech-2016/)

 

Digi International Provides Critical Connection For Humanitarian Efforts in the Peruvian Amazon

“Jungle-Ready” Technology Provides Wireless Communications forScalpel At The Cross’ EMR Application; Will be Demonstrated at Humanitarian Technology Conference 

MINNETONKA, Minn. and Miami, Fla. – June 6, 2016 – This week at the Humanitarian Technology: Science, Systems and Global Impact 2016 conference, Digi International®, (NASDAQ: DGII, www.digi.com), a leading global provider of machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT connectivity products and services, and Scalpel At The Cross, a Christian medical mission to the Peruvian Amazon, will be demonstrating how they are bringing critical orthopaedic services to the tribal population of Pucallpan Peruvians. The conference is being held June 7-9, 2016 at the Revere Hotel Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts.

Founded in 2004, Scalpel At The Cross is an orthopaedic medical ministry with the goal of supporting and amplifying ongoing Christian ministries within the country of Peru by bringing much needed aid to an area with a long history of poverty, medical neglect, and suffering. A key aspect of the program is the use of innovative new techniques as part of surgical campaigns.

As part of this effort, the ministry developed CrossCare - 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.

“Connectivity in the hot jungle was one of our biggest concerns. We needed to quickly share data between devices during fast-paced clinics in harsh jungle conditions,” said Lori Most, CrossCare founder and manager. “I remember us watching the Digi router as the temperature continued to rise. Digi’s TransPort router was really a linchpin in getting us the consistent connection we needed to make our system work no matter how hot things got.”

Through a sponsorship provided by Digi International, Scalpel At The Cross will be demonstrating CrossCare at the exhibit session on June 8, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.

“Digi is proud to help Scalpel At The Cross demonstrate this solution to other humanitarian groups,” said Kevin C. Riley, chief operating officer, Digi International. “The primary goal is to make CrossCare available to other mission hospitals with the potential to grow into a global solution. If this can be accomplished, its benefits will expand well beyond Peru and help many people around the world.”

The purpose of the conference is to bring together scientists, engineers, technologists and policymakers from across academic, government, industry and non-government organizations 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.

For more information on Digi International visit http://www.digi.com

About Digi International 
Digi International (NASDAQ: DGII) is a leading global provider of business and mission-critical, machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity products and services. We help our customers create next-generation connected products and deploy and manage critical communications infrastructures in demanding environments with high levels of security, relentless reliability and bulletproof performance. Founded in 1985, we’ve helped our customers connect more than 100 million things, and growing. For more information, visit Digi's website at www.digi.com, or call 877-912-3444 (U.S.) or 952-912-3444 (International).

 

Look for updates on our CrossCare initiative here and in future issues of Scalpel’s Edge

(From Digi International Press Release, June 6, 2016)

 

CROSSCARE
The Newest Innovation

By Lori Most, CrossCare Founder and Manager
 
Scalpel At The Cross has a long tradition of using innovative techniques during our surgical campaigns in Peru. This year we are debuting an exciting new innovation: CrossCare - a custom-built application to manage our patient data and track their outcomes.

BRINGING SCALPEL INTO THE DIGITAL AGE

CrossCare really began years ago when the Scalpel team realized the benefit of digitizing the mission’s patient paperwork by taking photos of the patient, their injury site, x-rays, and clinic and surgery forms using donated iPad minis. This allowed the team to bring the patient information back with them to the States for review and tracking. Additionally, Dra. Rosa Escudero was able to take the same types of pictures during local follow-up appointments that could quickly be shared with the surgeons in the States. This has allowed our surgeons to follow post-surgical progress and give input into their patients’ follow-up care, which improves the patients’ overall outcome.

And now, we have an app for that! We created CrossCare as an iOS App that runs on any Apple device (iPad, iPad mini, iPhone) and as a web-based application that runs from a url within a browser like Chrome or Safari. CrossCare uses the Google Cloud Platform to securely store our patient data in one location.

SO MANY BENEFITS

Our campaign volunteers can now type patient information into the CrossCare App screens rather than handwriting the information on a paper form. This increases our patient data accuracy by eliminating the need to read handwritten forms, and decreases the amount of time it takes to capture the patient’s information.

CrossCare has electronic screens to replace all of our current paper forms with sections to attach photos along the way. We can now track a patient’s profile, clinic, surgery, and outcome information together in a central location, giving us quick access to our patients’ complete histories with a simple search.

The CrossCare App also enables fast data sharing, even in the middle of the Amazon! While in Peru, we create our own Wi-Fi with a portable router that connects our devices (i.e. iPads) to the Google Cloud data storage. To guard against potential poor internet connectivity, CrossCare ensures quick data sharing between devices during fast-paced clinics using a method called Peer-to-Peer data sharing. This allows the devices to immediately share data with our other devices, even if connections to the internet (and our Google Cloud Storage) are lost. So for example, if a volunteer enters a patient’s profile using an iPad in the Patient Intake area, when the patient walks into the Exam Room, the examining doctor can immediately pull up that patient’s data on the iPad in the Exam Room.

CrossCare can also be accessed from any location, allowing near real-time visibility to campaign data from across continents. For example, a physician could document a follow-up appointment in Peru, and the patient’s surgeon could view the patient’s progress through uploaded information and photos from within the U.S. This enables even quicker and more streamlined data sharing within our Outcomes Program!

With all of the patient data captured electronically, we can run metrics on almost any campaign or patient details that have been stored, which allows us to better view trends and measure our performance.

HOW DID WE MAKE THIS HAPPEN!?

Building custom software is expensive. So imagine our excitement when we were asked, through Dr. Peter Cole’s relationship with the AO Foundation, to submit a proposal for a grant that would further our Outcomes Program! The AO Alliance Foundation (AOAF), which was founded in February 2014 specifically to further advancement in orthopaedics within developing countries, accepted our proposal that outlined our full Outcomes Program, complete with a new custom-built application that would track a  patient from clinic, to surgery, and through their final follow-up appointment.

Once funds were secured, we partnered with a Minneapolis software development vendor, Lift SKG LLC, to create our new application. We started to design the software in June, and completed our initial version of CrossCare just before the November Campaign.

FIELD TESTING AND RESULTS

Our real test came during our pilot run of CrossCare during the November Campaign. We ran clinical evaluations without paper forms, using Cross-Care to document patient data and photos. All surgical and post-surgical notes were entered into CrossCare and attached to the original patient entry. Corresponding follow-up appointment information will also be attached to the same entries. The campaign data is already organized by patient and is accessible to Scalpel Administration on the iPads or any browser in Peru or anywhere in the U.S.

Our process saw huge improvements! Our team was surprised at the ease of use and ability to log a patient so quickly. Our clinic day ran smoothly with a very orderly intake  process that saw previous bottlenecks during patient intake eliminated! Additionally, our process of reviewing all surgical candidates at the end of the clinic took much less time  with all of the patients’ information in one place and quickly searchable within CrossCare.

Post-surgical rounds also saw improvements with the ability to pull up each patient’s record and add pictures and notes directly to the patient file. This removed the need to  quickly scratch notes that would later need to be added to that patient’s surgery paper, as well as removing the need to match up post-surgical photos afterwards. Even our Peruvian physician partners noticed the improvements with CrossCare, and requested a full demo of our new system.

Connectivity in the jungle was one of our biggest concerns, so we were relieved when we saw a cellular tower right outside of the clinic window! We had a strong signal, and had great performance loading data to our cloud storage. We were also able to connect all of the iPads together to allow direct data sharing with limited issues.

STEP BY STEP

Now that we have tested this initial version of the software, the opportunities for CrossCare are endless. There are so many ideas for additional CrossCare features that will create efficiencies for the mission and improve our Outcomes Program. We plan to continue enhancing CrossCare in phases based on fund and resource availability. A few key features are enhanced app security, usage by other global organizations, a visual metrics dashboard, expansion to Android and Windows devices, a patient summary display, and queues for patients in the clinic and for follow-up appointments.

(From article published in Scalpel's Edge, Fall 2015, Issue 18)

 

 

 

 

 

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