IBM SmartCloud Helps Empower Medical Workers in Haiti

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-05-18
 
 
 

IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced that its cloud technology is being used as part of an effort to improve health-care delivery in Haiti through a collaboration with "Colleagues In Care" Global Health Network.

The organization is using IBM cloud-based social analytics and collaboration services to provide the global network of health-care volunteers with immediate access to critical data and information for the current health-care needs of the Haitian citizens. The network consists of about 200 doctors, nurses and business professionals coming together virtually from all around the globe including Canada, China, Haiti, France, Ireland, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In a press release on the collaboration, IBM said prior to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the country€™s health-care programs were already poorly staffed with limited resources. According to the 2009 World Health Organization statistics, Haiti had one nurse and three doctors for every 10,000 people. Infant and maternal mortality, hypertension and stroke, and life-threatening illnesses were among the highest in the world.

Today, Colleagues In Care is using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to virtually connect medical workers and volunteers from around the globe. Using the IBM SmartCloud, the volunteers and those on the front lines taking care of patients are armed with an online medical knowledge system that includes treatment options, clinical pathways, and best practices specific to the situation in Haiti.

For example, doctors on the ground in Haiti now have immediate access to information. Previously, a health-care worker typically had no access to a specialist to consult about a specific medical condition. Via the IBM SmartCloud, they can now immediately determine how to best care for a patient directly in front of them, at the same time collaborating with colleagues to determine more population-based strategies of effective care.

Medical workers can then develop, post and share their stories about their experiences, providing this critical background to incoming medical workers. The volunteers are also participating in approximately 70 online communities on topics including €œMother and Baby,€ €œHypertension,€ €œHeart Failure,€ €œStroke,€ and "Eye Care" to track initiatives from start to finish.

€œAt Colleagues In Care, we share a deep level of purpose to stand with and support our medical colleagues in Haiti,€ said Dr. John Kenerson, co-founder of Colleagues In Care with his wife Dr. Lisbet Hanson, in a statement. €œWorking with IBM, we are helping the citizens of Haiti find relief from the devastations they continue to face daily. Many of our medical volunteers come from highly respected medical institutions, and we€™re humbled by the opportunity to share our knowledge with those that need it most.€

Through social networking, file sharing, Web-based meetings, activities, and forums, the volunteers are sharing ideas and information as if they were in the same room. A video of Colleagues In Care using IBM cloud technology can be found here.

IBM said the medical knowledge system has been so effective that Colleagues In Care is looking to replicate the system in other under-served regions and countries facing low and limited resources.

IBM's partnership with CIC began as the result of an IBM Services Grant, but has evolved to include dozens of IBM employees from around the world who volunteer their expertise to help connect medical colleagues. The long-standing commitment to working with charitable organizations around the world is part of IBM€™s On Demand Community, a global program reflecting IBM's strategy to help the world work better, making a wide range of knowledge and expertise available to volunteers.

CIC has connected many of the world's leading health-care organizations and associations' medical specialists focused on a similar cause, mission and passion. The CIC best possible practices technology-based volunteer model can be replicated anywhere. There is no limitation to the potential reach of the Colleagues In Care health-care collaboration model, IBM said.

IBM has helped with several other hospital and health-care organizations and embarked on a similar project with Children€™s Hospital Boston. Indeed, IBM Interactive is working to help bring pediatric critical care expertise from Children's Hospital Boston to those who need it most, regardless of location, politics or lack of understanding, the company said. The project is known as OPENPediatrics.

According to IBM, €œThis solution will transfer the knowledge clinicians need to treat critically ill children with clarity, ease and efficiency. The interactive prototype focuses on respiration-related diagnosis and treatment through simulation, video and social collaboration. This approach will help transform the apprenticeship model to an interconnected learning model through imagining new ways to apply interactive solutions to help deliver smarter health care.€

The Children€™s Hospital Boston Website describes the organization€™s collaboration with IBM:

"Under the leadership of Dr. Jeffrey Burns, chief of the Division of Critical Care Medicine, and Dr. Traci Wolbrink, assistant in Critical Care Medicine at Children€™s Hospital Boston, OPENPediatrics is soon to launch a Web-based educational resource for clinicians around the world. By harnessing the unparalleled reach of the Internet, and in close collaboration with IBM Interactive, access to the latest knowledge about effective health care will no longer be bottlenecked within the walls of institutions, but shared instantly so that clinicians across the globe can gain access to life-saving information at any time. The early 2012 beta launch of this comprehensive, continuously updated, and peer-reviewed knowledge exchange platform will be dedicated to providing multimedia and interactive educational resources to physicians and nurses on optimal care of the critically ill child. More specifically, the overall objectives include providing information on demand, curricular learning maps for training clinicians, and a platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration between care providers around the world."

 

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