Tuesday! Tech day for Addis Insight, and here we introduce you a product we have come to learn about at the ICT Expo. Meet the MEDWARD team.
MEDWARD is a Diagnostic Clinical Decision Support Tool. The app is integrated with the format physicians use for history writing including an Identification, History page, and physical examination page.
The major capability of the app, among most features, is to input and process symptoms that are entered into the app, expand symptoms (e.g when given ‘Abdominal Pain’ as a symptom, it can inquire on when it started, where the pain is located, Exacerbating and relieving factors for the pain, the pattern of the pain …) and analyze which diseases have that manifestation and, like a physician, ask other symptoms associated with that complaint (e.g let’s say the aforementioned ‘Abdominal Pain’ had a manifestation of ‘Acute Appendicitis’ with Right lower quadrant abdominal pain it will then ask other symptoms of the disease (Appendicitis first) like ‘Nausea’, ‘Vomiting’, ‘ Loss of appetite’, ‘ fever’ and if the symptoms are positive (if they are present in the patient), it will ask clarification on the symptoms, expanding symptoms like the above one and then, once finished, continue with second disease questions like the first if questions are not similar e.g (If the second disease has also nausea, it won’t ask as it’s already asked ), before ranking the diseases that cause those specific symptoms on a descending manner factoring on the likelihood of occurrence. This pattern is also followed by physical examination before the app gives a final summary. Aside from the mentioned features, the feature-complete app will have more than 25 features.
It will have two versions, the PRO version for Medical professionals and a HOME version for non-Medical professional users. But currently, it only has the Professional.
It is a Freemium type where the basic features of the app including the ‘Diagnose’ part where users can use it to help them in the process of diagnosing a patient. It will allow them to go through the whole clinical methods used to diagnose a disease clinically (i.e. they can use it to write patient’s history and identification, ask risk factors, ask for associated symptoms and do a physical examination with a full guidance of the app and reach a list of possible diagnosis.) This business model was used so that users can experience how innovative the idea is and will be more intrigued to use the premium version.
But on the premium version, Amongst others, they will be able to save their diagnosis and save information of their patients, Add reference books so that the app can search for relevant information about the diagnosis without having to leave the app, Look for drug interactions or crucial info that the user must look for, a management guide acting as a support, A case scenario page where users can practice diagnosing on practice cases and etc.
How the product is Innovative:
MEDWARD, the app, is innovative in a way that it is capable of diagnosing and supporting clinical diagnosis in a way that NO OTHER app can do. The essence of Medicine is in the details: the more detailed the questions are the easier it is to come up with the correct diagnosis. And there is even a saying “Ask carefully, a patient is telling you the diagnosis”. So that is the app essence is that: ability to take a detailed and thorough history and physical examination, and able to correlate the information given and ask associated questions to reach the most likely diagnosis. There are currently around 23 medical apps, best ones, that research was done on by BMJ, among other researches available, and they found out that their efficacy was around 34% to reach to the most likely diagnosis and 58% to put it on the top 20. And as a conclusion, and rightfully so, they mentioned how ineffective they are but is better than putting symptom on google search. On MEDWARD, the estimate is to reach 70% + capability, a pragmatic estimate, on the top 1 and 90% + on the top 20. And aside from the mentioned capability, there are and will be several features like finding classical symptoms of a disease and notifying the user, settings page where the user can specify what kind of questions to ask specific or sensitive or both considering the available time and resources the user has to diagnose the patient, and on current version, it is formatted in a way that the Physician is accustomed to.
On the current version of PRO, the market is for Healthcare professionals including medical students but having more inclination to physicians. The market is international but to grow it from domestic then go up. In Ethiopia, even from a number of medical students perspective, there are 7 major Government medical schools and 4 major private medical schools which have around 2500 students in one year(15000 in a total of 6 years), (the estimate is based on info given for students for University selection for 12th graders). And on WHO report on their website, there are 2029 health stations, 833 health posts and 1119 private clinics which have at least one health care professional. And these users, most of them, have the know-how and access to the internet through either smartphone orPCss. And since the app will be in a format they are accustomed to, they won’t have that much difficulty getting acclimated to the app.
The users of this app have money to spend on the app as on the very least can be employed by the government and can pay for the app easily.
Ideal Customer– The ideal customer is a General Practitioner, Health officer or a Medical student who has not specialized in a specific field and has exposure to different kinds of diseases and patients and in constant need for reference.
Price Tag – Currently, since all the variables like total cost are not yet totally worked out, the premium price tag is not yet available.
Hiring the right people – For best accuracy of the database, in the future, Internists (Those who specialized on Internal Medicine, which is the primary focus of the app, will be used). The in the future, specific specialists will be hired in their respective fields. The Coding part will also be supported by a software engineer/s.
The app will be made to be functional by itself without the founders having to constantly invest themselves into the app.
About the developers
The MEDWARD app currently has three members, two medical students in Black Lion Hospital and a software engineering student from Addis Ababa University Institute of Technology. The medical students oversaw creating a database for the app to use. Programming, GUI design was done by the software Engineering student and one of the medical students who had previous experience in coding and designing apps.