Time to act – our commitment

This was originally posted on the FrontlineSMS:Medic blog.

Members at the Clinton Global Initiative are asked to make a commitment to action. This year, our commitment at FrontlineSMS:Medic centers around the deployment of three mobile health tools: PatientView, a lightweight patient records system that can be used anywhere there is a mobile signal; Surveys, a new tool that allows users to collect structured information by SMS; and the OpenMRS messaging module, a new messaging platform for the open-source medical records system OpenMRS.

Josh CGI


Ideal for hard-to-reach hospitals and clinics, PatientView organizes text messages and mobile forms to create searchable patient and health worker profiles.The module creates a new user interface within FrontlineSMS – one screen where staff at a central computer can view all relevant data relevant. Health workers can sort, update, and add new records from the central computer. The plug-in also introduces login security, new search features, simpler messaging to patients’ health workers, and an upcoming  ‘flag’ system to alert clinical staff to certain information, and new reporting capabilities. Watch the demo video here.


The Surveys module was developed to efficiently and accurately send structured information via plain text SMS available on the lowest-common-denominator handsets in low-resource settings. It provides a simple syntax and enables structured data collection with the robustness and scalability of SMS through plain text, yes/no, multiple choice, and checklist responses. Use cases include dynamic stock reporting and resource mapping, landmine victim care tracking, and maternal health vital event reporting.  We are collaborating with Google to enable Surveys to update information about health facilities in Resource Finder, a tool Google has developed to help disseminate updated information about which services various health facilities offer in a disaster area.  Surveys will allow relief workers to update a given facility’s available bed status, which types of specialists are on staff, etc, all via SMS.

Surveys screenshot

Surveys screenshot

Google's Resource Finder

Google's Resource Finder

The OpenMRS Messaging Module

FrontlineSMS:Medic has built a messaging platform for OpenMRS, a web-based, open-source medical records system. This messaging module will allow large clinics to extend patient records outside clinic walls, e.g. giving remote health workers the ability to update patients’ records via SMS, allowing clinicians to set appointment reminders, messaging CHWs about patient test results and treatment instructions, etc. Learn more about the messaging module here.

FrontlineSMS:Medic aims to implement three national-scale and over ten regional-scale programs by the end of 2012. Target countries include Malawi, Kenya, Mali, Bangladesh, Haiti and Colombia.  Through these deployments, we expect to increase our number of end users to at least 15,000 health workers.

The need is loud and clear – large gaps exist in health systems. The disconnect between health centers and peripheral communities means that adherence rates suffer, clinicians are unaware of patient statuses, immobile patients cannot receive emergency care, remote health workers lack support, new illnesses are not identified, and drug stock-outs are too common. We believe that FrontlineSMS:Medic’s tools can help create health systems that are connected, coordinated, and save more lives.

Posted: October 7th, 2010
Categories: Technology
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