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Smart Health Card Project requires your votes and comments

By Amal Bholah Moderator Emeritus | 16 Aug, 2015


I am Dr. Bholah Amal from Mauritius working in the Intensive Care Unit and student in Global eHealth MSc from the University of Edinburgh. I have prototyped a Smart Health Card reader using Arduino platform which uses Near Field Communication (NFC). Together with fellow Dr. Beharee Kemley we have soldered, coded and tested this Smart Health Card reader and now published it in the ITU Young Innovators competition.

We require your votes, comments and shares to make this project stand out in this competition. This is a unique project as it has been coded by medical doctors themselves without the help of any IT expert. It's a user-driven innovation with tremendous potential. See the YouTube video to see it at work.

Here is the link for voting, commenting and sharing.


Looking forward for an unprecedented support from the GHD members.

Thank You,

Dr. Bholah Amal
MSc Global eHealth (Edinburgh)



Susan Moyo Replied at 4:24 PM, 18 Aug 2015

I have seen the video am inspired ,i want to vote but how do i vote?

Hilda Birungi Replied at 9:11 AM, 19 Aug 2015

Dear Amal,

Before I vote, I have a few questions:

I work as an off site medical coordinator... providing and managing Doctors Virtual Assistance.
1. Does the card help generate a report that can be sent out to patients PRN.
2. Does it provide an automatic payment method for patients to pay for the report on request.
3. Can I just enter the bar code, online and access a patients account without the card.

These sound like simple questions, but since physicians are moving from use of physical personnel to Virtual assistance, this is what we do.



Amal Bholah Moderator Emeritus Replied at 2:52 PM, 19 Aug 2015


Thanks for the replies

@ Susan Moyo: Click on the link (https://ideas.itu.int/category/3921), then register, vote and comment. Next time there will be competition, ITU will inform you by mail.

@ Hildah. The card is a unique identifier only. It has a unique code which is provided by the manufacturer of the card. The card is identified by the NFC reader we prototyped and communicates via bluetooth with the tablet. Report generation, automatic payment method, bar code, online access can be provided by the software. For the time being, Doctor Assistant has been coded to generate reports as the doctor inputs patient information. We are working on integrating mobile payments. This challenge is about the NFC reader which we prototyped on a Single Board platform assembled and soldered by us (two medical doctors themselves) as well as the coding aspect done by us. Doctor Assistant is an Android EMR application coded by us. We can expand the features of the application add payment, bar code, fingerprint, face recognition and in the back end add Big Data analytics.

Hope this answers your questions.


Dr. Bholah Amal

Ole Petersen Replied at 5:29 PM, 19 Aug 2015

Dear Amal,
The idea is good. But I think you forgot some important points.

1. NFC ( RFID card) probably simple Mifare card which are easy to counterfeit
3. What is when card is lost or stolen ? If you used card serial nr. as identifier how to re-create new card ?
4. How secure is your central database ? If somebody hacks into it what then ?

Perhaps the greatest problem constitutes security issues
Patient’s data are stored on the cloud provider's server. As a result, there is a possibility of unauthorized access to the data.
Managing access rights for of medical professionals divided into different groups with different rights based on username and password is a major task.
Who will in the first place control the applicant’s access is the right person they claim to be?
Passwords must be reset, because people will forget it or entering it several times wrong. Who will do that or shall it be automatic without control of live person?
What prevents from doctor’s logging on, but actually having the work done by somebody else in order to share the work load? This will release information to people that are not entitled to see it or to edit it.
Also, every transaction made should leave a digital log. To have an event log of medical facilities, times and dates is invaluable tool if medical progress and steps have to be retraced backwards.This means every username and password must be bound to a user profile which signs automatically all entered patient data. Who will manage user profiles and update them if needed?
Thousands of people change their address, telephone numbers, email etc. Who shall keep patient’s personal information up to date? Medical Personnel? Who will pay for the extra work? Or shall patient self update their personal information, by allowing them access to the cloud system? This would increase the traffic dramatically and put the system on even bigger security risk.

5. Most important !
Your solution is cloud based !
A cloud solution would increase the data traffic in health care centers significantly, as result patient consultation time would take longer when healthcare personnel have to wait until EPJ gets populated. Is this cost effective?

When network is not available? What then? Close facility and send patient home? Make local notes about every patient and update the EPJ when network is available again? Who pays the additional working time for updating EPJ afterwards or working on the patient queue from the previous day?

System like that would still be completely un-usable to any location with no high speed Internet. Remote country areas, cruise ships, islands, people on the move would still not be covered. Who can assure 24h/365days stable and fast Internet connection?
How would every EMS service crew get access to EPJ from place of accident? What when overwhelmed with multiple victims or man made or natural disaster?
Who can assure that the service will be accessible everywhere when needed?

In emergency situations, instant access to patient’s health information is crucial to save lives!

A central server data base is meant for other solutions where you are not dealing with time critical information and complex user access rights management. For the amount of data and traffic it is just not feasible for a cloud solution.

Your solution would be okay for hospitals on local network only.

I come across one solution which covers all aspects above. The name was World Health Card.
You can get some ideas from there.


Hilda Birungi Replied at 6:16 PM, 19 Aug 2015

@Amal, I voted for your idea.
@ Ole, the idea is practical, I have worked in IT med assistance for five years, based in Africa using internet and any innovation would work if it makes life easy. Security matters are often mitigated. Internet is now available in many rural areas...Africa for instance has embraced technology. Its no longer a continent of despair.

Ole Petersen Replied at 7:05 PM, 19 Aug 2015

Dear Hilda,

I have been in Africa many times. I leaving next week to Uganda again. Yes, internet is there but bandwidth and stability is weak.
I would not rely on internet connection. Also one point is that doctors don`t want spend money (Air time) for a 24 hours connection.
So it will be hard to sale it. However Dr. Bholah Amal idea is very good. Just he is aware of all problems before he puts himself into big development cost.
"We can expand the features of the application add payment, bar code, fingerprint, face recognition and in the back end add Big Data analytics."
Dr. Bholah if you think about payment you should at least use Desfire card. Because it has 3DES encryption!


Hilda Birungi Replied at 9:49 PM, 19 Aug 2015

Rural areas in Africa may even not be interested in it for now, unless for research purposes. You could focus on poor resource communities in developed countries and international orgs working in Rural Africa. Yes, I wouldn't focus on rural areas as primary target users for now.

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