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Data and image transfer using mobile phones to strengthen Microscopy-Based diagnostic services in low and middle income country laboratories


Author: Tuijn, C.J. · Hoefman, B.J. · Beijma, H. van · Oskam, L. · Chevrollier, N.
Source:PLoS ONE, 12, 6
Identifier: 445067
doi: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028348
Keywords: Informatics · Information Society · Organisation · SBA - Strategic Business Analysis · BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences


Background: The emerging market of mobile phone technology and its use in the health sector is rapidly expanding and connecting even the most remote areas of world. Distributing diagnostic images over the mobile network for knowledge sharing, feedback or quality control is a logical innovation. Objective: To determine the feasibility of using mobile phones for capturing microscopy images and transferring these to a central database for assessment, feedback and educational purposes. Methods: A feasibility study was carried out in Uganda. Images of microscopy samples were taken using a prototype connector that could fix a variety of mobile phones to a microscope. An Information Technology (IT) platform was set up for data transfer from a mobile phone to a website, including feedback by text messaging to the end user. Results: Clear images were captured using mobile phone cameras of 2 megapixels (MP) up to 5MP. Images were sent by mobile Internet to a website where they were visualized and feedback could be provided to the sender by means of text message. Conclusion: The process of capturing microscopy images on mobile phones, relaying them to a central review website and feeding back to the sender is feasible and of potential benefit in resource poor settings. Even though the system needs further optimization, it became evident from discussions with stakeholders that there is a demand for this type of technology. © 2011 Tuijn et al.