Saturday, February 2, 2013

UT-Knoxville Students Help HHI in Developing EMR Platform for International Surgical Missions

Humanitarian Health International is pleased to announce a newly formed collaboration with students from The University of Tennessee's College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

One of the major logistical hurdles faced by humanitarian medical organizations is the gathering of personal medical history and medical records on new patients. The initial vision underpinning HHI has always included the development of a simple but effective records system. We were given the opportunity to present our problem and propose the solution we envision to students in Dr. David Banks’ COSC 400 class. And we were very pleased when several senior students agreed to collaborate with us in the creation of an efficient, comprehensive electronic medical records software package for use in humanitarian surgical settings.

The electronic medical record (EMR) we are now developing will be designed to streamline the process of obtaining comprehensive medical histories of new patients.  The EMR will include an iOS based app for iPad–iPhone mobile devices that will be easy for HHI volunteers and staff to operate and understand. Our main hope for EMS is to create a streamlined method that will enable volunteers with no medical training, to begin new patient intake procedures. The EMR app would display a basic medical history questionnaire, both in English as well as the native language of the patient.  EMR software would guide HHI volunteers according to an algorithmically determined appropriate set of questions that subtend the history of the patient.  Patients would then be guided to a second station and have a physical examination completed by a medically trained volunteer.  Each patient’s information would then be compiled and shared to other iPads on site, which would give the anesthesiologist and surgeons a complete record of the patient’s history to enable them to gauge the safest, and most appropriate procedures.  EMS will include videos explaining surgery, anesthesia, and recovery to the patients in their own language.  We are hopeful that our collaborative effort with Dr. Banks's class will streamline HHI’s efforts to provide care.

We are excited to have specialists from other fields volunteering their expertise to advance the HHI mission. And we’re absolutely thrilled to see the high levels of enthusiasm the UT students express.