Community Improvement, Capacity Building

Techies Without Borders

NORTHUMBERLND, PA   |  http://www.techieswithoutborders.us

Mission

Support the information, communication, and technology needs of individuals and organizations globally in resource-challenged countries. Harness information technology to address challenges related to education, healthcare, and human rights. Our present active project called Continuing Medical Education on Stick (CMES) provides free continuing medical education to doctors, nurses, medics and health providers in 14 countries.

Ruling year info

2018

Principal Officer

Dr. Manoj Thomas

Main address

240 VIEWPOINT LN

NORTHUMBERLND, PA 17857 USA

Show more addresses

EIN

82-3736334

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C. (S99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Maintaining competence in the medical profession is challenging under the best circumstances. The knowledge and skills learned during basic training decline with each passing year. This happens rapidly for practitioners located away from cities and medical centers. Medical practitioners in resource-challenged countries lack updated continuing medical education (CME), not from lack of initiative but due to complex regional, financial and infrastructure constraints. Based on interviews with medical practitioners world-wide, the main challenges to CME utilization in low-resource countries are: lack of funds to travel to conferences or buy CME programs; lack of mentors to inspire continuing medical education after graduation; and lack of reliable electricity and internet infrastructure for online CME access. These constraints result in medical practice disparities between urban and rural areas, as well as low professional esteem and outdated medical knowledge among practitioners.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

ICT for monitoring health

As part of a research project, we developed a cell phone-based solution to track reproductive tract infections (RTI) among women living in marginalized communities (e.g., coastal fishermen communities, refugee women from Myanmar and Somalia living in India, female sex workers, tribal communities, etc.) The solution allowed community health workers and medical officers to identify sexual and reproductive health incidents more effectively, and deliver care in a more timely manner. The research will determine the role of ICT in overcoming the challenges of reporting and tracking of RTI among the women living in these marginalized communities. The project has received the backing of the Burmese Women of Delhi (BWD) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UN-HCR).

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

The Botswana Combination Prevention Project (BCPP) is designed for testing and implementing an enhanced combination prevention package for prevention and reduction in HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana. A team consisting of Joe Cipolla, Courtney Bell, and Dr. Manoj Thomas worked to determine ways to support the maintenance of the electronic data collection (EDC) software that is implemented in Python programming language on Django framework. The EDC software is used for the management of field data for audit by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the Harvard School of Public Health. The research will aim to understand the effectiveness of ICT solutions to attain the overarching objective of HIV monitoring and treatment intervention in Botswana. The project will include a research element, where I plan to understand the effectiveness of ICT solutions to attain the overarching objective of HIV monitoring and treatment intervention in Botswana. The research will also aim to identify factors that require consideration for ICT implementation in an environment where the technology resources are scarce, and the maintenance of confidentiality, integrity, and privacy of data is critical.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Implemented a multi-location network infrastructure at the Iracambi Research Center, Minas Gerais, Brazil for managing natural resources, developing sustainable communities, and conducting research on rainforest ecosystems. The research center is located in a protected area in one of the world’s top biodiversity location in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest. The project was sponsored by the United States Farmer-to-Farmer project and funded by USAID.

Population(s) Served
Farmers

The ICT4E Haiti initiative aims to address challenges of developing computer literacy in Haiti. As it is one of the poorest nations in the world, more than half the Haitian population lives in acute poverty (less than US $1 per day). Only about 21% of Haitians have access to electricity and less than 50% of the country is literate. To help young Haitians succeed in the 21st century and obtain jobs that may bring them and their family out of poverty, this project aims to build ICT capacity in schools located in the Centre province of Haiti. The project involves customizing ICT solutions for durable fail proof operation in a Haitian setting, and “Training the Trainer” program for developing technological literacy and familiarity among students, teachers and young adults. A finger print based technology solution for immunization record management among primary school children will also be developed. The research element of this project focuses on evaluating the usage and impact of ICT4E in value creation, challenges of developing computer efficacy among young Haitians, and assessing factors that influence the adoption of ICT4E in resource poor countries.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

CME refers to Continuing Medical Education, which are educational activities that help medical practitioners maintain competence, learn about new and developing areas of their field and improve patient care. CME development and utilization face challenges worldwide because resources are limited and infrastructure for the delivery of healthcare and information is fragile. Based on interviews with medical practitioners the main challenge to CME utilization in resource-challenged countries is lack of funds to travel to conferences or buy cme programs, lack of mandatory CME credits for continued licensing and lack of mentors to inspire continuing medical education after graduation. This results in localized medical practices with great disparities between urban and rural areas. We developed CME on a Stick (CMES) which is an auto-running USB drive with CME content and OS-like functionality and CMES-Pi which is a Raspberry-Pi unit 9small hand-sized computer) enabling CME access via our smartphone iOs or Android apps. Medical practitioners, including community health providers, medics, nurses, midwives, first-year interns, residents, and attending physicians in both urban and rural areas, can utilize CMES to gain access to free educational content and materials.

Population(s) Served
Caregivers
Emergency responders

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of organizational partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,Academics,Emergency responders

Related Program

Continuing Medical Education on Stick (CMES)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our partnerships continue to grow both locally and globally. Like-minded organizations such as EMRAP, Dataplicity, HandUp Congo, and Timmy Global Health make us stronger and stretch our outreach.

Number of new programs/program sites

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,Emergency responders

Related Program

Continuing Medical Education on Stick (CMES)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The yearly numbers represent actual sites globally in Africa, Oceania, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean where medical professionals in 14 countries are using the CMES and CMES-Pi.

Number of people trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,Emergency responders

Related Program

Continuing Medical Education on Stick (CMES)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

By Nov. 2018 we have trained over 800 medical professionals in 14 low-resource countries.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Our solution enables the health practitioners working in resource-constrained countries to access up-to-date free Emergency Medicine (EM) CME content without continuous Internet connectivity. They simply need a charged device to listen or read once they have downloaded the CME content. Provided with quality CME access, these practitioners improve their knowledge, skills, confidence, and performance. This helps break down barriers of professional isolation for rural healthcare providers and maintain a sense of professional pride, distinction, and identity.

To deliver the CME we developed CME on a Stick (CMES) which is an auto-running USB drive with CME content and OS-like functionality, and CMES-Pi which is a Raspberry-Pi unit enabling CME access via our smart phone iOS or Android apps. The CME content, available in English and Spanish, covers a range of Emergency Medicine (EM) and Primary Care (PC) topics. EM and PC are ideal because they cover primary to critical care medicine relevant to all practitioners. The CME is provided free by the distinguished, global faculty at Emergency Medicine Reviews and Perspectives (EM:RAP). It is available as mp3 podcasts and pdf files with quick reference bullet points, making it ideal for bedside point of care use. Each practitioner can decide which podcast or PDF they want to download. There are 16-20 new topics monthly.

We bring together like-minded professionals from the fields of Information Technology, Education, Medicine, and Finance, then partner with local community organizations and nonprofits for humanitarian good. Our past projects include; Botswana: support for electronic data collection (EDC) software in AIDS research; India: Information Communication Technology (ICT) for monitoring health among refugee women; Brazil: ICT for ecological development in the Atlantic Rainforest; and Haiti: ICT for education. Information on each project can be found here. Our largest and present project is the CMES and CMES-Pi Project. We have experience and have successfully deployed this project in Nepal, Nigeria, Antigua, St. Lucia, Dominica Republic, Guatemala, Ecuador, Solomon Islands. Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Tona and Tuvalu. We have partnered with nonprofit organizations including Timmy Global Health, Nick Simons Institute, DevelopingEM and Possible Health along with local community partners such as Asociación Pop Wuj, Xela, Guatemala; Banelino, Dominica Republic; and Fundación Tierra Nueva, Quito, Ecuador.

We administer a questionnaire to each participant before installation and training of either CMES or CMES-Pi. The questionnaire explores the current preferences, needs and availability of CME at their facility. 6-12 months after installation, we will administer another questionnaire to the participants to establish if there has been an increased use of CME content when made easily available; how the faculty is using the CME to teach local staff; was the CME content engaging; how it impacts ECP practice; and how patients benefit. TWB collects usage periodically data from log files, and it is monitored by the TWB IT staff. The log gives information on topics accessed, searched, and opened. It allows us to see the user location and frequency of use per thumb drive and Pi unit.

Our largest and present project is the CMES and CMES-Pi Project. We have experience and have successfully deployed this project in Nepal, Nigeria, Antigua, St. Lucia, Dominica Republic, Guatemala, Ecuador, Solomon Islands. Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Tona and Tuvalu. We have partnered with nonprofit organizations including Timmy Global Health, Nick Simons Institute, DevelopingEM and Possible Health along with local community partners such as Asociación Pop Wuj, Xela, Guatemala; Baseline, Dominica Republic; and Fundación Tierra Nueva, Quito, Ecuador. Presently we provide the free CME to doctors and nurses who provide care for over 380,000 patients globally. We plan to continue deployment of CMES in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Africa and Oceania Region by providing additional CMES thumb drives to health practitioners in resource-challenged regions and CMES-Pi for hospitals and clinics that can support the infrastructure.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is the organization collecting feedback?

    We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person).

  • How is the organization using feedback?

    We use feedback to: to make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, to identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    We share feedback with: the people we serve, our board, our funders, our community partners.

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to: it is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback.

  • What significant change resulted from feedback

    The Continuing Medical Education on Stick (CMES) Project offers both the thumb drive (USB) or the Raspberry-Pi, a small hand-sized computer installed in a hospital or clinic for access to the medical education content. Facilities that didn't have Internet installed could not previously use the Pi device which allows bedside use for up-to-date medical advice, but in December 2019 Dr. Manoj Thomas devised a Pi-On-The-Go. This allows doctors and nurses to use the Pi and our smartphone apps even if their clinic or hospital doesn't have the Internet. It simply requires a designated mentor, such as the Emergency Department Director, to take the Pi home and update it on their own Internet system every 3 months. The Pi is plugged back in at the clinic or hospital and the newest cme is available.

Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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This organization has no recorded board members.

Keywords

Information and Communication Technology, ICT, Healthcare, Education, Human rights