The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will surely leave a mark in modern world history.
In fact, it is a crisis unlike any we have known so far. It influences the whole world, making the global village closer than ever – in a medical, social, political, and business sense.
The current pandemic is the challenge many companies have never had to face before. Doing the so-called standard business has been significantly disrupted and it is difficult to predict if the changes will be temporary or permanent. That’s why many companies have to adapt their activities to the new reality, often by undertaking different initiatives to contribute to the global anti-crisis efforts. In the face of rising demand, providing quick and innovative solutions may be of extreme importance when tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, in SolDevelo we have always been prepared for ‘the new normal’. In fact, that’s nothing new for us. For years, we have been practicing our company mission: using our experiences to help people through technology. We are putting ‘a human aspect’ into the code and by doing so, allow digital development projects to help people in the developing world.
Read how SolDevelo team deals with this situation: How does the SolDevelo team deal with remote working
In 2018, we created our Social Impact Foundation. In cooperation with our partners, we promote good solutions in health services, by e.g. supplying Electronic Medical Record System to hospitals and clinics in Africa and Asia. By using information and communication technologies in development projects, we have created programs and applications that help thousands of people around the world every day.
The current tough time is a great opportunity for all of us to assess our own capabilities and decide how they can be used to meet immediate needs. At SolDevelo we are using knowledge and experience gathered in digital health projects to step up global efforts to fight the coronavirus crisis. Because we are working according to Principles for Digital Development – guidelines designed to integrate best practices into technology-enabled programs for the developing world – it is easier for us to reuse already made programs, adapt them to new functionality, and transfer to a wide group of people.
Here is the list of projects and applications we have helped to create:
SolDevelo has closely collaborated on the development of OpenLMIS – open source logistics management information system aimed at improving health commodity distribution. Now, together with VillageReach and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc. (CHAI), we are working on creating a lighter version of OpenLMIS that can be implemented relatively quickly in countries that want to better manage the tracking and ordering of epidemic-related products (including personal protective equipment – PPE). The difference between the new and the usual version is much less configuration and – as a result – much faster implementation. In order to support product management, the integration with the Project Catalog Management Tool (PCMT) is also being built. There are seven SolDevelo employees involved in the project.
OpenLMIS Case Study: Open Logistics Management Information System
Product Catalog Management Tool
Project Catalog Management Tool (PCMT), an open-source software tool released in January 2020, allows organizations to publish and manage product catalogs. In integration with OpenLMIS, PCMT will be initially used as a catalog of all the products recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). All OpenLMIS implementations re-created for the needs of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic will get information about the products from this main PCMT instance. All possible changes will be made only in this directory in PCMT and all OpenLMIS instances will update themselves automatically.
All about this project, you will find here: Introducing the Product Catalog Management Tool – supply chain improvement
Open Data Kit Collect
The Open Data Kit is an open-source toolkit for collecting, aggregating, managing and using data in resource-constrained environments. It allows offline collecting data and sending them after connection to the Internet is available. This project is mostly used by governments and charity organizations in poor countries. This time, ODK Collect was used to help fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Inspired by the World Health Organization, Open Data Kit teams digitized WHO’s Minimum Data Set Report Form which is the interim report for confirmed and probable cases. Now the electronic form is freely available for anyone to use in ODK – you can get the form at https://forum.opendatakit.org/t/25647. The Minimum Data Set Report was the ODK team initiative – it wasn’t commissioned by any client or a third party and is a step forward in the coronavirus threat fight. The impressive number of users (over 300 thousand already!) only confirms the need for such a form of a questionnaire.
More information about this project you can read here: ODK Collect – how Soldevelo contribute to fighting with the coronavirus threat?
OpenMRS is an open source infrastructure for the creation of medical record systems in developing countries. The idea behind the project is that every healthcare institution can download the OpenMRS application for free and customize it according to the needs. So far, SolDevelo has provided a wide variety of services and functionalities for OpenMRS, including reporting module, REST module, more intuitive graphic reports system, and search engine efficiency improvement. Now OpenMRS have got involved in the fight with the coronavirus pandemic – its developers and implementers formed a COVID-19 Response Squad that defines the scope of OpenMRS’ response, provides technical guidance where needed, and coordinates contributions to shared solutions. Their goal is to enable health-care workers to screen, test, and manage patients in existing OpenMRS systems. To achieve this goal, the group decided to develop tools used by WHO, re-use, and update existing tools used in OpenMRS as well as reduce duplication and normalize data through different sources. OpenMRS tools for fighting COVID-19 have to be flexible and easy to adapt so that all countries and OpenMRS implementers can customize them according to their own preferences.
OpenMRS Case Study: OpenMRS
Benetech Service Net is an open standards data exchange platform that makes it easier to share and maintain information on local, social, and human services. It was built in order to make it easier for referral agencies and service providers to work together and ensure that better data is available for everyone. Service Net connects national, local, government, and nonprofit organizations and agencies specializing in specific impact areas, such as homelessness or legal services. It works directly with people in need to guide and refer them to any social services helping to increase the quality of their life.
Now with the coronavirus outbreak, these services are changing their eligibility, capacity, and hours on a daily basis. Additionally, new services are being deployed every week. In order to keep up with these rapid changes, new taxonomy terms have been added for COVID-specific services. To make finding relevant information across all partners easier, Service Net prepared a collection of records specific to COVID and allows us to search all service and organization descriptions for terms such as “corona”, “virus”, “COVID”, etc. The main task now is to select “Service Providers” for the new pages that are doing COVID-specific work.
And one more app – in the development phase
This client provides a digital health nonprofit developing software to improve global health in the world’s most underserved communities. Its projects are funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who are today at the forefront of the fight with the COVID-19 crisis and have already spent $250 million on coronavirus response efforts. The mobile app we have been cooperating on is targeted at the medical service in the USA (doctors, nurses, etc.) and – in the future – perhaps the rest of the society. Its purpose is to connect the hospital and its medical staff. Every day, medical staff have physical contact with dozens of people suspected of being infected with COVID-19. As soon as the hospital finds out that one of the suspects is sick, it immediately (using the application) informs medical staff who had contact with that person that they are now in the higher risk group. Then the application displays reminders and notifications aimed at making the person aware that they must monitor their health – by completing a specific survey and sending information to their hospital via the Internet. In this way, the hospital quickly obtains mass information about the health status of its medical staff. Further improvements to the application (that are part of a larger system) are being planned.
You can easily say that at SolDevelo, we have a long tradition of technological initiatives aimed at helping people and communities in need. By providing them with useful tools, we are improving their lives in a meaningful way. In the global pandemic, international cooperation means more than ever before – that’s why we are helping to implement strategies that will allow us to beat the common enemy. In fact, nothing could make us more proud than to effectively assist the current crisis-fighting efforts.