14 September 2011 – In rural, impoverished nations, medical care and disaster relief can be difficult to deliver due to a lack of technology that would allow healthcare workers to identify individuals and track patient records. To help solve this problem, the IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge developed an eHealth solution called “RFID Individual Tracking and Records Management,” or RFID-ITRM. RFID-ITRM investigates computational intelligence (CI) to mine medical records, examine physician decisions, and process biometric data for patient identification. There are several operational components involved. An electronic medical record system is installed in a local community healthcare center. Members of the community are given RFID chips – embedded in ID cards, bracelets, or necklaces – that allow community healthcare workers to update their patient information into the system using mobile RFID read/write devices that can read the patients’ RFID chips. The technology continuously updates and tracks patient health records in the electronic medical record system.
RFID-ITRM is central to preventing medical errors, identifying victims of natural disasters, and tracking and monitoring diseases and outbreaks, as well as infants and vaccination history. The IEEE Computational Intelligence Society’s Task Force on Computational Intelligence in the Marketplace was directly involved with advising on the theory and implementation of the system’s CI-component. The system was tested in a local clinic in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The local clinic provided medical expertise, including forms to be used on a mobile portal and back-office system. A second test has been planned for October 2011 in Gujarat, India. The task force, represented by the solution leader in the UAE, is overseeing the tests and local volunteers are involved in fieldwork.
The IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge, or HTC, is a part of Engineering for Change, in which IEEE is a supporter. Engineering for Change provides a forum to connect, collaborate, solve challenges and share knowledge among a growing community of engineers, technologists, social scientists, NGOs, local governments and community advocates, who are dedicated to improving the quality of life all over the world.