Our CEO and Founder, Bobby Bacci recently had the opportunity to speak at a University of Chicago hosted event, Leveraging Data and Analytics to Decrease the Disparity in Global Health Equity. Bobby with Devin Mehta, MD, shared their Global Health Coalition (GHC) experience and insight into improving the quality of care for underserved populations by developing and deploying a low-cost, energy-efficient electronic medical record system with master’s students. As you know this is a topic that is near and dear to both of their hearts as members of our leadership team also serve on the GHC advisory board and we have dedicated our time, resources, and experience in analytics to help GHC accomplish their goals.
If you are interested in watching the whole talk, check out this link.
The discussion focused on how, Dr. Mehta, who currently serves as the director of heart failure at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois, founded GHC after a trip to Haiti with a group of doctors from Rush Medical Center after the devastating 2010 earthquake and shared his experiences with Bobby, who had started Prominence Advisors after working at Epic Systems.
Dr. Mehta noted the challenges he encountered throughout his trip ranging from lack of necessities to inability to understand longitudinally what was happening to his Haitian patients. Bobby said, “You’re talking about creating an offline electronic medical record system that will provide a network for people to communicate and collaborate that can also stay powered for at least 18 hours out in the field. That’s really where the problem solving got interesting.”
They had to find a software and hardware solution that could be scalable within a limited budget across rural communities and was intuitive enough so that volunteers could be trained to use it without difficulty.
The solution that ended up working required them to daisy-chain portable AC battery packs to a router that would then serve as a local area network. Using a laptop as a server, providers in the field would then use Chromebooks to enter patient data.
“We set out to build a mobile and easy-to-use electronic medical record system that a person could pack in a bag and take from the US down to Haiti,” Dr. Mehta explained. “That person, who might be inexperienced with the system, would then take it out into a community, unroll it, deploy it, and use it with a team that might never see it again. After that, the system gets carried back into Port-au-Prince, hooked up to WiFi, and the data gets uploaded back to the US where the analytics work can be done.”
With approximately half of the world’s population, lacking access to essential healthcare services, Dr. Mehta and Bobby noted that Global Health Coalition has the potential to impact the standard of care far beyond Haiti. “When we create data where no data exists today, we are building a bridge to connect those who are currently unconnected,” Bobby said. “By connecting data from a ‘data dark population,’ like a resettlement community in Haiti, to our healthcare system, physicians in the US can now look at it and make recommendations over FaceTime or a phone call with community members.”
They mentioned their current work with One World Surgery, a nonprofit operating out of Ecuador and the Dominican Republic that provides surgeries to patients who would otherwise lack access to critical life-altering care as an upcoming opportunity. “We’re thinking more and more about how can we work with nonprofits that are providing critical care in rural communities,” Bobby said. “By giving them the platform to collect data, research can then be driven off that data that creates a global population health picture. With that, you can start to drill into some of the areas that positively impact longevity and care in these rural communities.”
In summary, Dr. Mehta said “Global Health Coalition’s mission is to improve health outcomes for the world’s poorest communities through data-driven problem-solving that increases visibility and the impact of care-related decisions.”
Read more about the University of Chicago Event here.