NYU Med Student links doctors in Ghana through cell phone network


If you’ve ever had to rely on multiple doctors tag teaming an ailment, chances are it wasn’t the smoothest process. Between the Doctor-Patient privacy laws and the half dozen middle men involved, the process almost assuredly hit a snag or two along the way. Now, take away the widespread internet access that allows for instant communication – the process would grind to a halt.

That lack of communication is the problem Brian Levine, a fourth year Med student at New York University, is looking to tackle in Ghana. After setting out to build an online social network for doctors in the region, he found that the required infrastructure just wasn’t there. Few doctors had computers, and even fewer had access to the internet. What they did have, however, were cell phones. If he couldn’t link them across the internet, he’d link them through cell towers.

The main obstacle was cost; though doctors had access to phones, calling one another was pricey. Brian teamed up with Ghana Telecom to build a new mobile network, “Medicare Line”, on which registered doctors can call each other at no expense. With the help of the Ghana Medical Association, they’ve already signed up more than two thousand doctors who have since made over a million calls on the network.

Awesome work, Brian. In a country with far too few doctors for its ever expanding population, any mission to improve the health care system is a valiant one.

[Via AfricanLoft. Thanks for the tip, Kaushal!]