Project Everest

Using pre-diagnostic app technology to aid health care delivery in Malawi

by
Edan Baker
Edan Baker | Nov 25, 2017 | in Health Consulting

In July, the Malawi Health Assessment team gathered a plethora of data from the communities in Blantyre, to shape an area of need that could be addressed and positively impacted upon. Major problem areas identified were a lack of health education and a congested healthcare system.  Late in their time on project a potential solution using cognitive learning technology that aids in the process of diagnosis was identified. Through a short time of preliminary testing there was interest from various stakeholders and hence, a future was formed.

This December, we aim to structure the approach we’re taking to testing the diagnostic aid app known as Ada. We have strong relationships with a clinic here known as the NAYO clinic, and they’ve previously been instrumental in forming our data. As such, we’ll be aiming to implement an experimental study to measure a few performance parameters of the app in this community (accuracy, efficiency and usability). Operating in the NAYO clinic is beneficial as volunteers from the NAYO organisation will be able to assist in translating the app’s information to the user. Additionally, doing a ‘single-centre study’ will allow us to infer meaning about the cultural behaviours from consumer and clinician when we compare those findings to other studies or our own future findings in larger healthcare organisations, potentially allowing for unseen problem areas to be defined. 

To be put concisely and in a measurable term, our goal is to obtain 80 patient tests done by the end of the month.

A large 3-month goal for this project is to see a fully formed analysis of Ada’s performance in this community and to identify whether there is enough potential for Ada to be applied at a community setting, or potentially in the clinic/hospital setting as a preliminary source of information gathering for clinicians to save time in their assessments.

A secondary, but just as important, 3-month goal is to look to the future of this project and begin formulating a research protocol to obtain clearance to operate in Blantyre’s major public hospital (Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital) or in their gateway clinic, aptly named the Gateway Clinic. These health facilities are busy central hubs for large amounts of patients. To operate in these major health facilities, we would need an evidence base, clear design of what we want to do, and ethics clearance from the NCST. Hence the need for a developed research protocol.

There are many areas of this project that have massive flow-on potential to effect more than just the health of Malawians, i.e. reducing frequency of unnecessary hospital visits, reducing spending on unnecessary medication, reducing risk of side effects from unnecessary medication, reducing spending on travel, increasing time to commit to activities of daily living/working (in case of accompanying another sick individual), increasing autonomy for self-care and health literacy. The list can go on…

Above all, I’m looking forward to seeing our teams do an amazing job and seeing how this summer unfolds.

ZIKOMO!

edited on Nov 30, 2017 by Edan Baker
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