DAI Global Health Partner THINKMD Embarks on New Projects in Kenya and Indonesia with Save the Children
Apr 9, 2019
In July 2017, following three years of development and validation testing, THINKMD implemented its frontline clinical assessment and data analytics technology in Bangladesh with Save the Children. We focused our work on the Rayer Bazar settlement in Dhaka, an overpopulated informal settlement where maternal and child mortality and morbidity are high—especially from pneumonia, diarrhea, and dehydration—and where access to healthcare professionals is very limited.
Rayer Bazar marked a perfect area to apply THINKMD’s technology and demonstrate its core value: expanding community health workers’ capacity to assess and treat potentially deadly conditions in newborns, young children, and mothers. THINKMD also offered program monitoring and evaluation based on real-time data and analytics.
Our work has already demonstrated significant impact for Rayer Bazar’s 30,000 residents. In less than two years, the 10 community health workers have used THINKMD technology to:
- Double the clinical assessments performed compared with previous rates and increase medical counseling sessions by 500 percent.
- Conduct more than 10,000 health assessments, including of 3,536 children, 1,350 newborns, 2,645 pregnant women, and 1,130 women who recently gave birth.
- Identify 31 cases of umbilical infection, a leading cause of newborn deaths.
- Identify 534 cases of moderate acute malnutrition and 24 cases of severe acute malnutrition in children under age 5.
- Help increase by 50 percent the rate of women who delivered babies with a skilled birth attendant present.
THINKMD’s success in Bangladesh recently gave rise to two new contracts with Save the Children:
- In Kenya, with Kenya’s Ministry of Health, THINKMD technology is being implemented in the Kibera settlement in Nairobi, where child mortality is three times higher than in greater Nairobi; this urban health project will use THINKMD’s technology in private and public clinics and in pharmacies to improve frontline clinical assessments.
- In Indonesia, community health workers on the island of Sumba have begun utilizing THINKMD’s technology in remote clinics to improve healthcare capacity.
The first 10 community health workers in Rayer Bazar, Dhaka, Bangladesh, using THINKMD technology to promote maternal and child health in partnership with Save the Children. Photo: THINKMD.
Connecting with DAI Global Health
THINKMD first connected with DAI through DAI’s Innovation into Action Challenge, a competition to surface innovative ideas, products, and services in the field of international development. DAI was impressed with THINKMD’s potential to improve care, save lives, and reduce unnecessary health expenditures in underserved communities. In addition, THINKMD’s technology promises real-time public health data that shines a light on population health, disease burdens, and pandemic threats.
In 2017, THINKMD and DAI announced a strategic partnership to bring THINKMD’s digital health products to new markets. DAI led THINKMD’s ensuing financing round, joined by Fresh Tracks Capital and select private investors. THINKMD is currently working with DAI on its Haiti Strategic Health Information System Program.
THINKMD Technology—the Mobile Pediatrician
THINKMD’s clinical assessment platform employs a simple interface to guide minimally skilled users, with varying levels of education and literacy, through an integrated assessment of a child using the same evidence-based logic utilized by pediatricians. The assessment takes approximately 10 minutes and guides a user to:
- gather patient demographics;
- collect current and past illness history; and
- capture key vital signs and physical findings.
The platform utilizes peer-reviewed and -approved World Health Organization (WHO) guideline-based algorithms that provide clinical assessments. These assessments have been found to correlate by 85–95 percent or greater to physician’s assessments. They generate triage, treatment, and follow-up recommendations for each clinical encounter, and can be performed with or without access to a cellular/wireless network.
Critically, THINKMD’s clinical algorithms assess the severity of complex conditions such as respiratory distress or pneumonia, dehydration, and malnutrition, and assess common disease risk for malaria, meningitis, anemia, urinary tract infection, skin infection, ear infection, measles, and dysentery.
Community health worker in Rayer Bazar, Dhaka, Bangladesh, performing a clinical assessment using THINKMD technology. Photo: THINKMD.
New Settings, New Products
Clients are using THINKMD’s technology to transform paper-based, point-of-care clinical assessments into digital health systems that sustainably improve patient coverage. This transformation is expanding the capacity of community health workers by greatly increasing the number of patient encounters, diagnoses, and counseling sessions they can complete, and improving their compliance with WHO assessment guidelines, all while decreasing costs for training and re-training health workers. THINKMD’s data and analytics platform is enabling managers to better monitor, evaluate, and optimize their programs by providing big-picture information on the populations they serve.
While our new projects with Save the Children offer geographic expansion, just as importantly they leverage THINKMD’s technology with different end users in varied healthcare delivery environments. That makes sense: we designed THINKMD to enable minimally skilled users in any environment to more accurately assess, triage, and treat patients, therein making better health decisions at the point of care.
Performing a health assessment in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: THINKMD.
THINKMD recently expanded our services into a new setting—schools. Healthy Kids/Brighter Future in Zambia is a creative, rapidly expanding health program implemented in partnership with Zambia’s ministries of health and education, enabling teachers to efficiently deliver healthcare and health education to school-aged children and adolescents. By utilizing THINKMD’s technology, the program empowers its “school health workers” to perform high-quality clinical assessments of their students and automate data collection, referrals, and follow-up.
THINKMD recently launched a new product—a white-label (unbranded and for resale) platform called, “Am I Sick?” Integrated with our data analytics and visualization platform, this direct-to-consumer triage tool will help individuals self-assess and better understand their health status.
The need to improve and constructively disrupt healthcare delivery is only increasing—especially in countries where resources are limited. Currently active in six countries, THINKMD has more geographies coming online in 2019 as we strive to provide access to good-quality clinical assessments and treatments for people who would otherwise go without. Stay tuned.