Startup Building Low Cost Mobile EHRs For Impoverished Nations

12-22-2013 8-14-26 PM

Sebastopol, CA-based startup E-Health Records International, or EHRI, is borrowing from the mHealth playbook to introduce a new cloud-based, low-bandwidth EHR platform that can be accessed via a cellular connection. The EHR was designed to be implemented in developing nations where the land-line infrastructure did not exist to support a conventional approach to EHRs.

CEO Dan Smith explains that while remote parts of the developing world often do not have the infrastructure needed to support major IT projects, the cellular network in these areas are often remarkably good. “Cellphone networks are more complete in the third world than in some parts of Sonoma County,” said Smith.

EHRI’s platform runs over wi-fi or cellular connections on $140 Android tablets. The EHR applications, and data, is stored on cloud-based Amazon Web Services servers. The tablets allow doctors to access clinical decision support, procedure checklists, take pictures of wounds for documentation, scan QR codes as part of medication administration, and even tele-conference into examinations remotely to provide expert guidance to remote care providers.

Because the system operates over cell towers, hospital infrastructure does not need to be revamped to roll the system out. Setup and install typically costs a hospital in the thousands, rather than the millions a conventional EHR would cost.

EHRI is now marketing their mobile clinical applications across the globe in an effort to build a market through a unique approach to software design. The company does a good deal of business with US-based religious organizations, like Adventist Health International, that are delivering care in third-world regions. “It brings us into 21st Century health care at an affordable price,” said Dr. Elie Honoré, president of Adventist Healthcare Services – InterAmerica

EHRI also recently contracted with the Philippine Department of Health to help facilitate a new national effort to screen all newborns with hearing tests. The EHR will be used to document the test and share the results with the DoH.

In cases where a hospital still cannot afford EHRI’s system, the company has been donating a base-set of functionality free of cost. The company reports that it has provided about 10 hospitals with free systems, at a cost of $3,000 – $5,000 per hospital.

EHRI raised $1 million in its series A, and plans to raise an additional $2 million in a series B sometime in the first half of 2014. It is still not profitable, but it is growing its revenue and the company has a plan to bring it to profitability by 2015.

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