After passing several approval rounds, BackpackEMR from Minneapolis-based Binary Bridge has been chosen as the official COVID-19 tracker in Kenya. Lori Most, BackpackEMR founder, said the mobile electronic medical record service will begin pre-testing at sites across the country next week. With the help of Nairobi-based Medical Records Institute (MRI) and the Kenya Health Federation, the service will ultimately roll out to 450 isolation sites and more than 56 quarantine sites in the country.
“I believe our easy-to-use interface for quick deployment helped to gain approval,” Most said. “Along with our detailed reporting dashboards to help gain insights during the COVID-19 response.”
According to the company, the struggle of keeping up with the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya is magnified by several factors such as vulnerable populations living in informal settlements — making social distancing much more difficult — and a lack of resources, facilities, and healthcare professionals. Government officials will use data collected by the service to make informed and critical healthcare decisions such as where to send test kits, protective equipment, and ventilators. The company is also partnering with Andaman7, a startup from Belgium, that will provide a free app for patients to take daily surveys.
To help fund the initiative, Binary Bridge has set up a GoFundMe. Money raised from the platform will go toward shipping additional iPads to Kenya and allow the company’s Nairobi-based team member, Mary Murugami, to train healthcare workers on the equipment distributed.
BackpackEMR was created by its parent company, Binary Bridge, in 2016. The system, fittingly, is small enough to slip into a backpack and allows users to track and share medical data without a connection to a server, internet, or even electricity.