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Health IT to support medical mission trips

By Brianna Geary | 08 May, 2013

Hello! I am working on a comprehensive evaluation of software platforms and mobile applications such as OpenMRS that are used by healthcare providers who partake in medical "mission trips," or by facilities that host these volunteer groups. The broad issue that I am concerned with the limited opportunity for continuity of care within the standard medical mission trip framework. I'm seeking to evaluate apps and platforms that are intended to solve this issue by providing some means of continuing communication/connectivity between relevant parties. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions of mobile (or non-mobile) platforms that can be used by short-term volunteer groups in order to enhance the safety/quality of the medical care that they can provide to their patients. Additionally, if you have used such a platform and are interested in sharing your experiences, I would love to hear them!



Anne DeLaney Replied at 9:25 PM, 8 May 2013

Hi, I work with Rotaplast, International, providing cleft surgery on mission trips. We have found Skype to be easy to use, readily available, and cost-effective.

Scott Corlew Replied at 1:34 PM, 9 May 2013

From ReSurge International - We have used Skype and of course email; the
lion's share of continuity of care is, of course, provided by and in
conjunction with the local host surgeon(s) and health care associates with
whom the organization partners when we send team trips. There is always
room for improvement, though, and I applaud this discussion.

Brianna Geary Replied at 1:45 PM, 9 May 2013

Thank you both! I would really appreciate the opportunity to hear more about your experiences-- if you are interested in/ have to the time to talk further, please email me at .

Brent Burket Replied at 3:53 AM, 10 May 2013

At our hospital in Guatemala we have had our long term docs
Working with the visiting surgical teams. Follow up is provided
By our long term docs and any questions are emailed to the


Ross Blagg Replied at 12:40 PM, 11 May 2013

Having an app that could be continuous is such a great idea. On previous trips to Haiti there are written records but these are sometimes lost or get ruined. An electronic record that could be viewed before the trip starts to appropriately plan (especially for procedures and supply needs) would be excellent. I would be interested in trying this out.

Sean Runnels Replied at 5:49 PM, 12 May 2013

HI, I'm working in Guinea West Africa on the African Mercy. We have a mix of long term anesthesia and short term surgeons. We use email and digital photos. We have a sat phone line also, but our surgeons prefer email when we need. Up country here is a bit more of a problem as most have no internet access. Cell phones are everywhere, but not internet. We do get some consults via cell from up country hospitals . Not sure what could be better than email with attached photos at this point.
The best way to manage this problem is to prevent it as much as possible. We try to limit our short term surgeons to cases that will be well on the way to recovery when they leave. Complex and high risk cases tapered down to simple as their term ends. Have not seen that routine remote management of surgical patients leads to good outcomes. Emergencies are a different story, of course. However doing elective high risk or complex cases with a plan to manage them from afar is high risk for poor patient outcomes and can be a destructive process for medical staff. (Hi Brent And Jennifer)
Sean Runnels

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This community is no longer active as of December 2018. Thanks to those who posted here and made this information available to others visiting the site.