Navigation Links
MIT project uses personal digital assistants to track TB data
Date:2/11/2009

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- For patients who have drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis, it's critical to monitor the disease as closely as possible. That means monthly testing throughout a two-year course of powerful antibiotics, with injections six days a week for the first six months.

Keeping track of all those test results can be very time-consuming, especially in developing countries where health workers rely on paper copies. That's why MIT graduate student Joaquin Blaya decided to try out a new tracking method: personal digital assistants.

In a project launched in Lima, Peru, the researchers found that equipping health care workers with PDAs to record data dropped the average time for patients' test results to reach their doctors from 23 days to eight days.

"You can monitor patients in a more timely way. It also prevents results from getting lost," says Blaya, a PhD student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST).

Their work was reported in the online edition of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Blaya started the project after taking a year off during his graduate studies to return to Chile, where he was born.

"I went back to Chile and realized the key was to focus on the population I wanted to help," he says. "Instead of saying, 'I'm a mechanical engineer, what kind of device can I build,' I should be saying 'Who are the people working in the settings I want to work in?'"

When Blaya returned to MIT, he took lecturer Amy Smith's D-Lab course and got connected with Partners in Health, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote health care in resource-poor areas.

Working with faculty members from HST and the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Blaya launched the PDA project in Lima. He also worked closely with the Peruvian sister organization of Partners in Health, Socios en Salud. "The way to solve healthcare problems is by involving the community," he says.

Under the old patient tracking system, a team of four healthcare workers would visit more than 100 health care centers and labs twice a week to record patient test results on paper sheets. A couple of times a week, they returned to their main office to transcribe those results onto two sets of forms per patient one for the doctors and one for the health care administrators.

From start to finish, that process took an average of more than three weeks per patient. In some extreme cases, results were temporarily misplaced and could take up to three months to be recorded. There was also greater potential for error because information was copied by hand so many times.

With the new system, health care workers enter all of the lab data into their handheld devices, using medical software designed for this purpose. When the workers return to their office, they sync up the PDAs with their computers.

"The doctors get what they want, the administrators get what they want, and the team only has to enter the data once," says Blaya.

The new system dramatically dropped the average time to record results to eight days, and eliminated the few cases where results went missing for several weeks or months. "You can really prevent patients from falling through the cracks," says Blaya.

Getting timely and accurate lab results "is essential to determine if a patient is responding to treatment and, if not, to alert physicians to the possible need for medication changes," the researchers wrote.

Peruvian health care workers enthusiastically embraced the program, which started in two of Lima's districts and has now been expanded to all five. In addition to saving time, the handheld devices are also more cost-effective than the paper-based system, the researchers reported recently in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Hirsch
jfhirsch@mit.edu
617-253-1682
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Gambia takes on as National Program UAB project to abolish FGM
2. CMS Selects Thomson Reuters to Help Implement Medicare Medical Home Demonstration Project for Medicare Recipients
3. Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $2.5 Million for Parkinsons Drug Development Projects Led By Academic Investigators
4. New Software Technology Report for Medical Device Makers: How to Manage an FDA Controlled Software Project
5. Hospira to Host Conference Call for Fourth-Quarter 2008 Results and 2009 Projections
6. Childrens Hospital Central California Selects Turner to Manage Addition and Renovation Project
7. Project 515 Proposes Legislation to Ensure Equality During Times of Illness and Death
8. Cogdell Spencer Breaks Ground on Projects in Tennessee and North Carolina
9. Tampa is Latest Recipient of Project Lifesaver Grant Funds Through The National Autism Association
10. Baxter and Northwestern University partner to target new life sciences projects
11. Special Olympics Minnesota Launches Project UNIFY to Energize Youth
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article ... people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now ... of these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, ... at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his ... it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... micro-osteoperforation for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas ... , AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their pencils ... an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to a genetic ... 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Puradigm® ... Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at its production facility, and ... Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete system of proactive air ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. , June 24, 2016 ... GBT ), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics ... significant unmet needs, today announced the closing of ... shares of common stock, at the public offering ... shares in the offering were offered by GBT. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy ... of recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies ... with entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a ... "value" of new medicines. The recommendations address ... not appear on the drug label, a prohibition that ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... India , June 24, 2016 ... Needles Market by Type (Standard Pen Needles, Safety Pen ... Therapy (Insulin, GLP-1, Growth Hormone), Mode of Purchase (Retail, ... by MarketsandMarkets, This report studies the market for the ... expected to reach USD 2.81 Billion by 2021 from ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: