New initiative improving prenatal care in rural India
In a pioneering trial of NFC for health care, OT-Morpho has teamed up with US-based nonprofit Khushi Baby to enhance and increase care for infants and pregnant women in rural India. Since its conception, Khushi Baby’s focus has been to provide not only health services but also a comprehensive medical history of its patients. There is often limited access to healthcare in the approximately 300 villages Khushi Baby serves, but even when services are available, there are few records of a given patient’s medical history, including the child’s vaccinations and the expectant mother’s risk for complications.
Children traditionally wear amulets on black thread as a symbol of good health and protection against disease. The cultural fit of the necklace strengthens its adaptability.
Cultural applications of NFC for health care
With the help of OT-Morpho, Khushi Baby is addressing the issue with near field communication technology. With the new initiative, patients are given an amulet-like necklace on black thread enclosing an NFC chip. “Children traditionally wear amulets on black thread as a symbol of good health and protection against disease. The cultural fit of the KB necklace strengthens its adaptability,” says a Khushi Baby spokesperson.
Upon arrival at the camp, healthcare workers scan the necklace using the Khushi Baby application and the patient data becomes available on their screen, regardless of cellular coverage, equipping them to provide the most appropriate care. Once the health workers return from the field, the data collected or changed is uploaded to a secure dashboard so health officials “can respond in real-time to health worker attendance, performance and data quality, supply shortages at the point of care, and high risk pregnancies and infants.”
The program’s success has been strengthened by the use of the MorphoTablet, a secure biometric tablet from OT-Morpho. “With this tablet, the Khushi Baby platform brings industry-leading biometric security to protect personal health information,” explained OT-Morpho and Khushi Baby in a joint statement. The MorphoTablet is equipped with a fingerprint scanner and facial recognition camera to ensure the wearer of the necklace is the correct patient, guaranteeing patient confidentiality.
“We’ve integrated mobile health, wearable NFC for health care, and cloud computing to produce a complete platform to bridge [the] world’s maternal and child healthcare gap,” says Khushi Baby. In the first two months of the program, Khushi Baby conducted 3,000 registrations and tracked more than 20,000 immunizations for infants. They also work to educate women on the importance of immunizing their children and have automated calls in local dialects remind mothers when their child is due for their next round of immunizations.