Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Announcing MOCA: Mobile imaging and diagnosis solution for the developing world

Some of you have been wondering what I've been up to.  One of the projects I've been working on is to scale global health delivery using mobile phones.

MOCA's mission is to provide flexible and scalable IT architecture to empower social entrepreneurs and NGOs to scale rural health diagnosis using mobile information and communication technologies.  For more, check out mocamobile.org.




THE PROBLEM

One of the largest problems facing the developing world is a lack of trained physicians. While there is not a shortage of untrained or semi-trained workforce, many health workers in many developing nations are not able to dispense adequate care due to a lack of expertise.



Issues in delivering affordable and effective health care in developing countries include: lack of skilled or semi-skilled health care workers for accurate screening and referral; lack of a permanent and portable record of a patient's medical history; lack of medical diagnostic devices; poor supply chains for replacing medical equipment; poor treatment compliance; slow rates of information flow; and lack of quality auditing to identify bottlenecks and quantify health care improvements.

NGOs and social entrepreneurs are starting to build their own models to solve different types of medical challenges all over the developing world using the power of mobile solutions. Our system provides an instant infrastructure to capture media and patient information using whatever method is appropriate to the locale, and send it to a centralized server with sophisticated workflow management and diagnosis software. The system is turnkey, allowing for easy integration with existing systems. In addition, it is completely customizable for any organization.

OUR SOLUTION


MoCa, is a remote medical diagnostics platform for health workers in developing nations. It is an end-to-end system that seamlessly connects health workers to medical professionals.

WHY MOBILE?

Between 80 and 90 percent of the world's population live within range of a cell phone tower. A centralized health record, accessible and updatable via mobile phones and web-browsers therefore permits a secure and continuous record of health care for the poorest section of society worldwide.

The use of a mobile phone to add images, audio recordings and video, to a patient's medical record leverages an existing infrastructure to deliver medical technology and decision support to regions of the earth that lack a supply chain and infrastructure for training, hardware support and treatment compliance.

The mobile phone, as a medical instrument, offers a suite of sensors, almost ubiquitous remote connections to databases and a network of experts, and significant computational power for automated or semi-automated diagnostic classification of diseases, training and treatment recommendations.

WHY MOCA?

Moca recognizes that using mobile technologies for telehealth in developing nations requires dealing with many standards, different networks and local challenges ranging from intermittent connectivity and cultural differences. Our system provides an instant end-to-end infrastructure for media-centric remote diagnosis by experts that can be located anywhere in the world. Packetization, a synchronization model, and multi-modal data transport allow MoCa to operate even in poor cellular coverage areas. While the system is mobile-centric, it is designed to provide alternatives such as WiFi and tethered uploads for bandwidth-constrained situations.

Moca also realizes that few instantiations of remote medical diagnostics are the same. Unlike hodge-podge solutions, Moca is highly customizable, allowing organizations to create their own workflows. These workflows can be dynamically loaded onto phones running Moca, and they can be shared between other organizations.

We understand that user interface is extremely important, that's why the Moca interface has been laboriously engineered for ease-of-use and clarity. By leveraging Google Android's API, Moca offers a highly usable and inviting interface.

Another reason to use Moca is because of its commitment to Open Source. The Moca platform is released under the GNU GPL, allowing people to extend, improve, and tweak the system as they choose. We feel that the best way to innovate is through open innovation, allowing organizations, universities, and companies to contribute to Moca.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's brilliant. We need more people doing more work like this.