UB Collaborates with International Partners to Help 27 Health Facilities with Mobile Diagnostic Support Tool

eHealth1The University of Botswana's eHealth Research Unit in collaboration with international partners have implemented a mobile diagnostic support tool (VisualDx) across 27 health facilities in Botswana.

Implementation is premised on a project that is intended to serve as an early feasibility study of VisualDx, a well thought and validated decision support system. The project is titled Early Stage Feasibility Study of a Mobile Clinical Decision Support Tool in Botswana.

UB eHealth Research Unit Coordinator, Mr Kagiso Ndlovu, says the study aims to assess VisualDx acceptability and demand in Botswana’s primary care delivery context, as a tool that may have potential to help address the challenges faced by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHw) as it strives toward the goals outlined in Vision 2036.

Mr. Ndlovu adds that the study was motivated by challenges facing the MOHw including shortage ofNdlovu physicians and specialists in remote areas. Furthermore, there is a lack of consistent adoption of technology-assisted services such as electronic health records (EHR) and diagnostic tools in Botswana. Consequently, VisualDx’s value proposition, says Mr. Ndlovu, includes the potential to augment and upskill providers in under-resourced clinics and remote areas through the use of an evidence-backed, point of care, mobile clinical decision support resource that is now available for use even without internet connection (offline version). 

Being a well thought and validated decision support system, VisualDx aids healthcare workers in their diagnosis and treatment of patients with skin manifestations of disease. The mobile application combines machine learning algorithms and vision science with a structured clinical knowledge base to allow non-specialist healthcare providers to enter patient-specific findings, build custom differential diagnoses, and view images and treatment recommendations.

The product further allows for building a custom differential diagnosis based on chief complaints across all fields of medicine as well as disease searching (4,000+ diseases) to view clinical information including therapy options, best tests, and management pearls, all written by expert clinicians. It also hosts information on over 43 000 medication reactions and adverse drug events in addition to containing extensive content on travel-related illnesses and infectious diseases. 

Besides allowing for image and information sharing with patients via printed or emailed handouts, VisualDx is also the world’s largest curated medical image library, showing variation in disease by body location, stage of disease, skin type, and more.

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