Ahmed Shatil Alam reveals how a new innovation can help save medical information of patients for decades
There was a time when Bangladeshi people, mostly from the rural parts of the country, had to walk for miles before reaching a clinic or upazila health complex to have their diagnostic tests done for diabetes and hypertension. With some advancement in modern technology and slight increase in the number of health care facilities in these areas, the situation has only recently improved minimally.
Still there is a dearth in the supply of healthcare centres, doctors and healthcare professionals to serve the rural people of Bangladesh. Currently in Bangladesh, there are only 3.05 physicians for 10,000 patients. Thus proper healthcare cannot be ensured to all patients.
Given the situation, a new health based startup- a combination of medical science and information technology called CMED initiated its journey with an aim to provide services to the patients of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
Patients of these diseases suffer their entire life. But these are manageable through regular health monitoring. With the growing population and diversity of health problems; a smart, automated and secured cloud based regular health monitoring system is an appropriate solution for developing countries like Bangladesh, explained CMED team.
CMED is basically a cloud-based, preventable medical testing system developed by a researcher and teacher couple from Bangladesh. The system allows patients to regularly track their test results. ‘Through CMED, more than 10 lakh people who are affected by these diseases in Bangladesh can detect their blood pressures, glucose in blood, oxygen saturation in blood, weight and height ratio and body measurement index. Also, these data will be automatically uploaded under their individual accounts to the cloud,’ says CMED co-founder Farhana Sarker.
CMED was developed in 2016. It consists of six medical devices including an oxymetre, a blood pressure and pulse machine, glucometer, also known as diabetic machine, thermometer, height and weight scale and a smart tab.
Khondaker A Mamun, the other founder of CMED, says that actually these devices made by various companies can be found in local market. ‘But CMED is special as with the combined help of all these devices and the smart tab, the health information will be uploaded to CMED’s cloud,’ says Mamun.
‘Once a person buys and opens an ID in CMED’s cloud through the app, then his/her data will be available at anytime and anyplace with the help of the internet,’ says Mamun, who is also a faculty at United International University. To avail these services a person may need to spend Tk 50,000. ‘But each component of the kit can be purchased individually for Tk 6,000,’ he shares.
‘CMED is unique as it allows people to track their health’s condition over time. They can have records saved even after five to 10 years have passed,’ says Farhana. She adds that the system will also help doctors to detect the actual problem in a body by analysing previous data uploaded in an account.
Currently, CMED service is being provided to the corporate houses, industrial factories and educational institutions. ‘In Bangladesh, many students and factory workers do not get the chance to detect their diseases and take preventive actions specific to these diseases…but we hope through CMED the diseases will be detected early, hence ensuring prevention,’ says Mamun.
In the tab, people can also see the readings found by the devices. These readings will also mark the results as normal, high or low through three different colours, notes Farhana who is currently teaching at University of Liberal Arts in Dhaka.
For the CMED, which became a reality through a research conducted by both researchers in 2015, the couple was also awarded with ICT ministry’s Innovation Fund award in 2016 and some other awards from private organisations.
The couple shared that the conception of the idea for CMED began when Mamun was in University of Toronto for a health-based research. ‘At the time I was researching on how special children can be helped and how their lives can be made easy in Canada…and suddenly this idea came to me,’ says Mamun. He had shared the idea with his wife Farhana, who was then researching in technology in UK and they initiated their research in 2015.
Currently, around 2,500 people have already availed CMED. The government of Bangladesh is also planning to introduce it at the community-based health facility centres in rural Bangladesh, claims Mamun.
In fact, an NGO from Odissha in India have contacted Farhana and Mamum asking if they can provide the service there. ‘But we have decided to fulfill Bangladesh’s demand first. After that we will go for international market in near future,’ Mamun says.