Health and data are a successful match. Think of Big Data as a predictor of diseases or as a determinant of the most effective treatment methods. This sometimes life-saving collaboration is also called upon in the corona crisis. Nijmegen based start-up Teamscope was asked by SIMIT – the Italian health organization against tropical infectious diseases – to deploy their data collection platform in Italy. Since then, the application is requested from all over the world.
Teamscope founder Diego Menchaca came from Chile to Nijmegen in 2015 for the Rockstart Health program. Here he continued to work on the innovation he started in Chile: a digital platform where healthcare specialists can share patient data – both clinically and ‘from the field’ – with each other, even without an internet connection. With this, he responded to a frustration in the medical world, which kept returning to paper notes and files. At the same time, with this platform, he unconsciously set the basis for a valuable tool for today’s corona care providers.
Menchaca explains the handling of the application: “Patients are normally, and especially now, never helped by one doctor, but by a team of caregivers. Through this app, information from the corona patients can be collected, processed and shared. A doctor can fill in up to 200 fields per patient, such as name, place of residence, symptoms and other conditions, and thus create an online file. All doctors and caregivers treating the patient can access and add information to the file in Teamscope. They do this several times, from admission to the hospital to the discharge of the patient. In this way, you can record the disease course of a corona patient very efficiently and accurately, at hospital level, within a single demographic area, but also on a global scale”.
Menchaca quickly realised that his innovation could play an important role in the fight against the coronavirus: “Everyone knows the image of a doctor behind the PC, who has to take the time to fill in the file together with the patient. Now, we don’t have time. The Teamscope app is easy to use and, not unimportantly, it complies with all data processing guidelines in Europe, guaranteeing privacy. The app also works offline, essential when every second counts and you can’t wait for a stable wifi connection”. Menchaca also indicates that he was a bit reserved initially. “But when I got the question from SIMIT I realized the extent of the problem and the opportunity for Teamscope to contribute. The program is now in use at more than 40 hospitals in the United States, Brazil, Italy and other countries.”
“Data plays a major role in dealing with the current situation as a health crisis, but it can also be a trigger to look beyond that,” thinks Menchaca. “For example, how do healthcare workers mentally deal with this situation, how long will they be able to sustain this workload and -rhythm? What is the effect of such a crisis on the number of people starting an education in health care. These data are relevant now, but also in preparation for possible future crises. Data offers countless possibilities and with today’s experiences and information we can better prepare ourselves for the future, we may even be able to prevent a similar crisis. This won’t be able with only pen and paper, we have to do it with data”.