Wrap up from EpiHack

After three days of designing and hacking, the digital disease surveillance hack-a-thon we’ve been sponsoring in Cambodia, EpiHack, has come to a close. As newcomers to the hack-a-thon model, our team has been impressed with the overall productivity and the projects that emerged. We are honored and excited to have witnessed the transformation of these great systems that now incorporate participatory surveillance and are excited to see how they will be implemented!

On the third and final day of EpiHack, groups gave their final presentations and demoed their new systems. (In alphabetical order), the award for:

“Best Scientific System” goes to CoPanFlu
“Best User Interface” goes to DoctorMe
“Most Transformational” goes to ILI Surveillance (Bureau of Epidemiology, Thailand)
“Most Impressive System” goes to Mae Tao Clinic
“Best Overall Utility” goes to Verboice

Here are summaries of the “new” systems:

CoPanFlu
This project included home visits to collect blood samples from 807 homes and weekly follow-up phone calls to document occurrence of infectious respiratory symptoms. These visits and phone calls created disturbances to the participants. The new system uses SMS for users to report symptoms. Chart and map visualization of the data (with full case details) and a fieldwork tracking tool were developed to help the research team analyze and monitor data.

DoctorMe
In addition to all of the popular features of DoctorMe (free health information for the general public), the tool now features a weekly survey for their users. The survey will ask participants to select whether they are experiencing any symptoms on a list of 11 total. After submitting, participants will be taken to a map visualization of all reports in their area. DoctorMe will launch the new tool by sending an email to current website users. They will then develop a promotion plan to grow the system.

ILI Surveillance, Bureau of Epidemiology Thailand
The old system was web-based and had no visual element. The new mobile application and website provide a map visualization for the reported cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) in Thailand. The map shows hospital ILI cases with color-coded pins to indicate the level of ILI and allows for simple analysis of the situation.

Mae Tao Clinic
The electronic records for this healthcare clinic were very basic. During EpiHack, the data was moved to the cloud and is now open-source. A data visualization dashboard was created to allow for map visualization of diagnoses. The staff at Mae Tao Clinic can now easily view and analyze the data to spot trends and send alerts. They plan to pilot this program at their clinic and, if successful, to replicate with other clinics.

Verboice
The technology platform of Verboice is so user-friendly it doesn’t require technical developers to develop the systems. At EpiHack, project managers were able to design and create systems to address needs in their work completely on their own. In just 8 hours, four project managers each completed their own voice-based participatory surveillance systems to monitor the following: One Health in Kenya & Tanzania; early warning generation in South Sudan; animal health in Laos; unexploded ordinance in Laos; child trafficking in Cambodia. The project owners of these new systems will now take these back to their countries and develop implementation and sustainability plans.

Below is a 3-minute slide show from the event.

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