On October 6, 2018, Haiti was hit by a magnitude 5.9 earthquake. The death toll has been confirmed at 18, and an additional 333 are injured. Unfortunately, natural disasters have been a gut-wrenching reality for Haiti in recent times. The saddening events of this most recent earthquake hits too close to home for Haitians, as the country is still recovering from the catastrophic 2010 earthquake that killed over 220,000 people. The 2010 earthquake prompted one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts, with the international community scrambling to deliver the necessary aid to Haiti, while locals were left digging through ruins of buildings in hopes of finding their loved ones.
In response to the tragic events of 2010, the artistic community gathered and remade the 1985 U.S.A. for Africa’s “We Are The World”, an uplifting song about coming together as a global community, and lending a helping hand in a time of need. The song proved to be especially effective in raising awareness and gathering donations. Specifically, in 2010, people could simply text a number to donate to the relief efforts in Haiti, which was revolutionary. As the humanitarian and emergency response sectors are evolving over time to effectively use technology, we must ask ourselves: what next? Haiti’s recent disasters and geographic location have shown us that there’s room for improvement. For example, despite the donations and relief efforts, first responders were highly unequipped and had issues collaborating to make a concerted effort. Looking past just donations, we at HumanITas are trying to raising the bar – our goal is to empower people to collaborate, even in the most challenging situations where telecommunication network are damaged or unavailable.
Our latest project, which is meant to be implemented in Haiti to change the way medical records are deployed and managed in post-disaster scenarios, has the potential to have a significant impact in a plethora of substantially differing contexts. At first you may ask: what is the current problem with medical records? How can solving this problem create a positive, sustainable impact that will touch people’s lives? Well, that’s what we’re here to answer!
When it comes to medical records, it’s time to be out with the old, in with the new. Paper records are highly outdated, and pose potential risks such as misplacement, misinformation, and leaves a higher margin for human error. Current electronic medical records have high financial and technical barriers, leaving the most vulnerable communities trapped with no access to this technology. This lack of access to proper medical information can often result in misdiagnoses, which decreases the efficiency of the overall health system. Here at HumanITas, our persistent effort to innovate aims to ensure that the gap between current and potential efficiency levels is accounted for.
Our new Electronic Medical Record system requires no network, deployment, or technical support. It can provide logistic support for multi-site data management, meaning that the data can be accessed in several locations, regardless of network availability. Most importantly, this technology is low-cost and has a user-friendly interface ready to use with off the shelf smartphones or tablets. As we tackle the financial and technical barriers to Electronic Medical Records, we hope that in turn, we can continually improve patient care for those in even the most remote or disaster-prone areas. This can benefit everyone in the healthcare system, whether it be patients, physicians, clinic practices, or health organizations, giving them the opportunity to reduce health errors and increase the quality of decision making.