Health & Welfare Faculty and UNESCO Bioethics University of Haifa

Web-based/smartphone personal medical record application for refugees

Health care administration and financing

We will develop and apply a smartphone or Web-based electronic personal medical record application for refugee, displaced, and marginalized populations to enable their health care.

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Lead Organization

Health & Welfare Faculty and UNESCO Bioethics University of Haifa

Haifa, Haifa, Israel

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Project Summary

There are hundreds of millions of refugee, displaced, and marginalized people. They have no documentation and often move between continents and countries. The information about their health, welfare, and personal status is often unknown leading to inadequate medical and health care.Electronic personal health records are increasingly replacing less transportable paper records, offering the advantages of improved accuracy and availability on the Web everywhere. However, their success has been limited because of multiple formats, tedious forms, and the need to obtain permissions from medical institutions.We will develop a multilingual smartphone application for refugee, displaced, and marginalized persons, with emphasis on women children and the elderly.It will be created, managed, and controlled by the individual using a smartphone for recording, scanning, and photographing the medical information. It could be also used for treatment follow-up, monitoring health, telemedicine, and health education, and thus dramatically change their health and welfare.

Problem Statement

We are all aware of the perilous state of those displaced from their homes, helpless and without any documentation. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally there are 258 million international migrants and 763 million internal migrants. About 68 million people were forcibly displaced across borders in 2018. Among these are nearly 26 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18 and young children. Nearly one person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution. Developing countries host 86% of the population of migrants who have suffered forced displacement.There are also millions of stateless and marginalized people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights, such as education, healthcare, employment, and freedom of movement. This crisis has occurred on all continents and affects all countries. The health, safety, and well being of these vulnerable populations are troubling and present an ethical dilemma for everybody, including health professionals. Many refugee, displaced, and marginalized populations do not have easy access to their health and medical records and thus may not receive appropriate or ethical medical treatment. We suggest that a smartphone or Web-based technology and social media can help solve some of these issues. We propose creating a multilingual smartphone and/or Web-based personal heath record and social media network that will include health professionals, and will facilitate appropriate heath, monitoring, treatment follow-up, telemedicine, and health education.

Solution Overview

We propose creating a multilingual personal heath record and social media network that will include health professionals, that will enable appropriate heath, monitoring, treatment follow-up, telemedicine, and health education.Our application will enable better health care by providing information to health professionals and allowing the health status of individuals to be followed and monitored. The number of individuals who will use the application and their response will indicate our progress.The impact of our invention will be immediate. Within one year, we will be able to offer the smartphone application in English, and in more languages thereafter. We expect an immediate change in the health status of the target populations - and its reporting- by the mere fact that they are given a voice, and an address for their needs. We will dramatically change the health and welfare of millions.Health professionals including physicians, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, psychologists, and others, as well as local community leaders, could join the social media network and participate in offering solutions and advice. The change in health status and its reporting will be assessed each year and at the end of the 5-year grant period.The availability of medical documentation will have an impact on millions of refugees, displaced persons, and marginalized populations worldwide. The better health care and better documentation and monitoring will benefit also the organizations that are dealing with this huge humanitarian crisis. Better health care will enable the involvement of the target populations in the economy of their hosting countries.

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