As part of a collaboration between HP and the nonprofit Positive Innovation for the Next Generation (PING) geared toward preventing malaria outbreaks, healthcare workers in Botswana are being given HP Palm Pre 2 smartphones to collect data on and track the disease in a year-long pilot program.
The smartphones, according to an HP announcement, will allow the workers to tag information about the disease using GPS coordinates, enabled by an application on HP's webOS and cloud computing technology. What's more, text messages will be sent to Ministry of Health members upon any outbreak detections, hastening prevention response efforts.
According to a post in Wireless Week, mobile phone "penetration" equals roughly one-and-a-half phones per person in the nation.
"There is tremendous opportunity for mobile technology to transform public health services in both developing and developed markets," HP Vice President of Global Social Innovation Gabriele Zedlmayer said in a statement. "The full potential of applying mobile and cloud services to advance healthcare has yet to be reached."
Former president Bill Clinton's disease treatment effort, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and mobile network provider MASCOM also are helping with the pilot. The latter is providing airtime and data-transfer capabilities.
Paul Ellingstad, director of global health for HP's office of global social innovation, told eWEEK that creating an education program also is a goal for the pilot.
"That, in turn is bringing not only social benefit, but we're starting to look now, too, at how we can calculate the economic benefit both to governments, as well as to society for making this sort of technology transformation," he said.
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