Mobile app links rural health workers to doctors based in city

Hx Factfinder #thinkOPENhealth: Hackathon for Health

Most government health facilities in the provinces have a shortage of doctors. Health workers who badly need the advice and expertise of medical specialists have to fend for themselves in both routine and emergency situations.

Hx Factfinder, a mobile application developed at the recent #thinkOPENhealth: Hackathon for Health aims to solve this problem.

“Our app connects primary health institutions, mostly maternal and child health facilities, with the larger health institutions like city hospitals,” says Philip Sales.

Coding marathon

Full-time app developers Sales, Jonathan Tabac, and Paulo Balleza of Team Jeepers Creepers bagged the bronze award for the app during the 24-hour coding marathon organized by PLDT wireless unit—Smart Communications (Smart), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) in coordination with SmartDevNet, Smart’s developer community.

The hackathon was a venue for developers to create plug-ins for the SHINE OS+, an open-source electronic medical record (EMR) system developed by the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center in partnership with Smart.

SHINE OS+ has opened its API to allow data sharing and exchange for interoperability. Over 20 teams comprised of IT students and professionals as well as health professionals joined the event.

Hx Factfinder #thinkOPENhealth: Hackathon for Health
Team Jeepers Creepers designed a mobile app that would link up rural health workers with city doctors. The team is joined by Smart executives led by Public Affairs Group head Ramon R. Isberto (3rd from left, 2nd row) and Jill Lava, manager for community partnerships (4th from left, 2nd row). (Photo: Smart Communications)

Linking rural health workers with doctors from big hospitals

Using the team’s app, health workers in remote areas can ask for medical advice from doctors in big hospitals.

“When the patient goes to the nearest rural health facility, there’s a high probability his or her medical needs will not be met because there is no doctor on duty. The patient has to go to other health facilities in other towns or worse, in the city, to find expert advice or to have medical procedure done,” says Tabac.

The Hx Factfinder works two ways: Users can either use a smartphone or a GSM phone. “The app for the smartphone is intuitive. The user doesn’t need to memorize SMS keywords. For locations that do not have 3G or internet connection, the user can instead use a GSM phone. You just have to type in keywords in your text message,” says Balleza.

Team Jeeper Creepers won P30,000 from DOH and DOST; assorted gadgets from Smart; plus a chance to be incubated by DOH, DOST-PCHRD and IdeaSpace, the incubator arm of the First Pacific Group of Companies in the Philippines.

They plan to join hackathons on a regular basis as a means to earn income, or as Sales would put in the vernacular, “Mag-hackathon para may baon.” (Press Release)

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