Doctors without Borders

Collegium Telemedicus: A Case Study

Advances in technology have allowed us to accomplish amazing things. From the creation of medical equipment like the brain scanner to the first lunar landing, all major milestones for humanity can be linked back to the ingenuity of inventors and creative minds. Where medical x-rays are concerned, it is no longer necessary to have a specialist radiologist in every hospital — there are hospitals in the US, for example, which obtain out-of- hours reports on urgent x-rays from radiologists based in Australia. Technology is used here for time-shifting, to allow doctors to work more normal hours.

The medical needs of developing countries are similar to those of the industrialised world, but there are far fewer doctors. Humanitarian organizations providing aid to developing countries often send medical staff to work there. Technology has an important role in supporting the work of these field doctors, who are usually generalists. When a specialist opinion is required, technology can assist: the act of practising medicine at a distance is known as “telemedicine”.

How does telemedicine work?

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) is an international humanitarian aid organization, widely known for its work in war-torn countries and regions plagued by endemic diseases. Every year, MSF sends tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, and other volunteers to developing nations to provide medical care. Telemedicine is used to connect volunteer doctors on the ground with radiologists, surgeons, pediatricians and other medical professionals from all over the world.

When a doctor or nurse at a project site needs support from a specialist, they use MSF’s secure telemedicine system. The request is transferred to one or more experts, who can review the patient information and any images, and offer their recommendations for further action.

MSF’s telemedicine system was initially created as separate English, French and Spanish networks, which were merged into a single multilingual platform in 2013 (press release). The MSF telemedicine system is based on the Collegium Telemedicus platform, which is used widely to support the delivery of health care in remote or low-resource settings.

Has Collegium Telemedicus been effective?

Over a four year period between 2010 and 2014, more than 1,000 cases from 41 countries were analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of the telemedicine program. 300 field health workers and 250 radiology and medical experts were surveyed. Of the field workers surveyed, 91% found the advice of the experts to be helpful, and 94% felt that the advice had been adapted for their specific field environment.

Additionally, 81% of the field health workers responded that the experts’ advice improved their patient management processes. 94% would recommend the system to their colleagues in the medical field.

Overall, the technology has helped reduce the isolation of field workers by connecting them with their peers around the world. It has provided both clinical and educational value for all users. The system has proved to be reliable and efficient, as well as more secure than other communication formats.

What was Endzone’s role in Collegium Telemedicus?

Endzone began working on the Collegium Telemedicus software project on a pro bono basis with a view to improving the user interface and making it more suitable for mobile devices.

While running a profitable business is important, Endzone occasionally does work for free or at a greatly reduced cost when a project seems particularly impactful. For us, Collegium Telemedicus was one of those projects, and we have been delighted to provide advice on the user interface and more recently to support the development of the system. For more information on our pro bono philosophy, check out our pro bono page and our tips and resources for pursuing pro bono web development partnerships.

 

Here at Endzone, we are always eager to discuss new projects that can positively influence the world around us. Check out our services page to get a better idea of how we can help bring your vision to life, and then drop us a line to set up a quick and obligation-free chat.

Paying Contractors Abroad

Money

We are a remote company. We use contractors based in places all over the world, for development, design and things we can’t handle ourselves. Paying contractors through regular international banking transfers is expensive so we’ve found some alternatives:

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The Fight for a Free Internet

The internet is becoming the town square of the village of tomorrow

When Bill Gates uttered those words, perhaps even he couldn’t have imagined just how true they’d be. In just a few short years the internet has revolutionised the way we communicate, educate, socialise, and do business; it has brought more democracy to each nation connected to it and redefined borders, but most of all it has brought us closer together.

The free exchange of ideas and seamless communication of the web have, like the written word, printing press, and telegraph before it, made the world a smaller, more connected place; however, this great tool is now at risk. Pressure from private interest groups is putting the freedom of the web in jeopardy, and that’s why Endzone.io has teamed up with netzfreiheit.org and concerned citizens from NGOs around Europe that care about digital liberties to make it easier for the people to push back. Together we are building SaveTheInternet.eu.

We are proud to be on the frontlines of the fight for a free internet, and hope you will join the fight to save the web, even if you just want to watch funny cat videos on Youtube or browse Facebook when you should be working.

First, what is net neutrality?

In short, net neutrality is the idea that your internet connection should treat all websites and services equally. This means that no website can simply pay more for fast lanes for better service, and service providers cannot charge you more depending on what you use your connection for.

What is at stake

The internet is a web of interconnected nodes where people communicate, work, find entertainment and connect with friends and family on social media . The real importance of this tool, however, is the power it has to revolutionise research, education, business, democracy, health care, and other socially poignant issues. The free flow of information gives us the ability to exchange ideas and innovate. If this flow is controlled by a corporate entity, freedom is at risk.

Imagine a world where everyone has equal access to these things rather than one where they are concentrated in nodes of power and wealth. That world is in jeopardy of being a far away dream.

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications(BEREC) is currently drafting regulations under heavy pressure from private interest groups that could put net neutrality at risk. If the net is no longer neutral:

  • Service providers could charge you more depending on how you use your internet
  • Service providers could charge you to access your favourite sites or applications
  • Large companies could squash competition by paying for better internet
  • Corporations will be able to control what you can and can’t see
  • Free and open exchange of ideas will be jeopardized
  • Increased censorship will become a reality
  • Entrepreneurship will be severely hindered

It is up to the citizens of the EU to voice their opinions and influence the government to do what is best for society at large.

How we are helping

The inevitability is that the legislation will be handed down in extremely dense language that will look more like Ancient Greek to the average citizen. Large corporations will have their team of lawyers make sure their voices are heard, so Endzone.io wants to make sure the voices of the people are heard too. We have implemented a questionnaire created by the experts at SaveTheInternet that is simple to complete. After you’ve answered the questions, a template email is generated that you can address to your representative. This is a simple and seamless way to allow millions of voices to be heard!

As you know about us, Endzone.io is dedicated to helping only the most important social projects, and we are very careful to select only the most worthy projects to do our pro bono work for, but when we saw that Savetheinternet.eu was fighting for a cause so close to our hearts, we had to help. As an internet startup that relies on an open and fair internet, we understand the importance of net neutrality as much as anyone.

The internet has the power to create a society where all people have equal access to the tools necessary to communicate, learn, participate in democracy, and innovate. This tool has brought the world closer together and created a global village where we can work together and exchange ideas. With the web as our town square, there is no limit to what our village can achieve. But it needs to be fair and neutral.

We hope that you will join the fight to save the web and send an email to your representative to push back against corporate pressure on the internet.

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