mHealth

Below are current mHealth applications being developed within the Nossal Institute being led and co-developed by myself and various collaborators. Work is currently under way to deploy these applications in Mozambique, Bangladesh and other countries, with a view to expand further in Asia-Pacific and African countries. Please contact me if you have any questions about these projects.

 

Agent Decision Support System (ADSS): IMCI+

Clinical Diagnostic System built for Android platform, based on a new  intelligent “agent-based” mobile phone decision support system. The agent-based clinical diagnosis architecture divides diagnosis along the lines of disease/illness, and diagnosis occurs through a process similar to a voting system, or negotiation/argumentation. Overall, the diagnostic protocol models itself on “team-think” and group behaviour, and the diagnostic data is segregated logically. This results in a system protocol and database that is easier to understand and manage.

The first implementation was a system that assists health workers/ paramedics to diagnose common childhood illnesses based on Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI). We have called this application “IMCI+”. The system design was led by me alongside Jim Black and Ed Kazmierczak, and developed by University of Melbourne final year computer science students: Oliver Lade, Alan Cutter, Adarsh Jegadeesan, Eman Alatawi, Andrew Ang, Ankit Agrawal and Manaswitha Krishnamurthy.

Please view the presentation video that describes the project.

 

ADSS user interface
The app starts with rounds of questions to narrow-down on outcomes …
The app then presents a set of outcomes and treatment recommendations

 

Work with Grameen, Bangladesh

I have established and lead a partnership between the Nossal Institute and Grameen Inc., Bangladesh.

Collaborations are focussed mainly on Grameen Kalyan (Healthcare), which provides primary healthcare to people living in the Bangladeshi rural areas. In 2009, I visited clinics in rural Bangladesh to initiate the Drug Dosage App pilot project (see below). We are now at the stage of conducting these trials, and later focus will be on sensor add-ons and ADSS-based decision support apps.

I also have good association with  Prof. Muhammad Yunus, chairman and founder of Grameen. Plans are to deploy and even create social businesses for technology developed from The Nossal.

Recently I visited Washington D.C. and New York as part f the Grameen delegation attending the World Health Care Congress 2013. A blog of this visit can be found here.

Drug Dosage Calculator

This J2ME application that I have designed and developed, generates a medication prescription given (a) selected drug, (b) indication (purpose), and (c) patient age/weight. It is a Standalone app that requires no Internet connection and minimal training. The premise of the app is to put capability of prescribing drugs in teh hands of unskilled health workers and pharmacists in developing countries. Uses LWUIT library for GUI (Light Weight UI Toolkit) for S40 platform, and is based on Java Swing.

The app is separated into application and drug database (“formulary”), and has full i18n internationalisation. This enables the application to be ported to various regions. Current drug dosage formulary has been developed for Mozambique context, and a Bangladesh formulary and app is currently being developed.

Drug Dosage app: Select Drug or Indication page (Mozambique version shown)

drug dosage screenshots

Drug Dosage App: Android version

 

Smart Cable

The smart cable is a micro-controller-based hardware platform for connecting multiple medical sensors to mobile phones and other computational devices. The primary and initial objective is to use the Smart Cable with feature phones and smart phones. A paper that describes the smart cable concept, as well as the entire software stack, can be found here: “Mobile Solutions for Front-Line Health Workers in Developing Countries”

smart_cable_v02

Current prototype of medical sensor platform connected to a “feature” phone (Nokia C1-01). Pluggable sensor shown is a digital thermometer, and more sensors are being developed for release soon.
 

Foetal Monitoring

At Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, a team led by Dr. Ahsan Khandoker, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, is developing a low-cost fetal monitoring device aimed at mothers who have limited access to health clinics. Ultrasound is the “gold standard” device for this purpose. Our cheaper phonogram-based Fetal Monitoring device is less invasive, and promises to make them more available to health workers and even allows patients to own and operate them using their own mobile phones. The team has received a Grand Challenges Exploration Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Work is underway to develop the first prototype this year.

Work is under way to leverage the recently developed ADSS platform (see above) for the software decision support and digital signal processing algorithms.

Please see the following links for media coverage

fetal_monitor_cropped

An early prortype of the foetal monitoring device using “Pinard” type stethoscope

Breath and Urine sensors development with CSIRO

A proof-of-concept project is currently in progress to develop two separate sensors that detect trace elements (metabolites) in breath and urine. The sensors are based on Gold nano-particle chemiresistors and metal oxide sensors. The project is a collaboration between the Nossal Institute and CSIRO Australia.  An article which provides more detail was published in The Australian in March 2013.
More news to follow…