Brian Derenzi -
Speaking Topic: DOHCS: Mobile decision support in Tanzania

Brian DeRenzi is a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science & Engineering Department at the University of Washington, where his research focuses on designing and deploying appropriate and sustainable technologies for healthcare in low-income countries. With a B.S. in computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his current focus on human-computer interaction, Brian has experience with mobile and embedded devices at hardware, software and usability levels. He is currently working on mobile software to aid with children’s health in Tanzania.


Brian DeRenzi will present a case study of deploying medical protocols on PDAs in rural Tanzania. University of Washington and D-Tree International developed and tested e-IMCI, a PDA-based version of a set of protocols to address the most common causes of child mortality. The protocols, which were developed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, are part of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) program. Currently implemented as a set of flowcharts in a paper book, the protocols guide health workers step-by-step through the classification and treatment of the most common childhood illnesses. Preliminary investigation in Mtwara, Tanzania conducted from July- September 2007 suggests that e-IMCI improves care by increasing provider adherence to the IMCI protocols. It was found that clinicians could quickly be trained to use e-IMCI and were very enthusiastic about using it in the future. The time required for each patient visit was only slightly longer than current practice and thus was not seen as a barrier to utilization of the electronic system. The talk will cover:
  • Background
    • Global health inequity and the most common causes of childhood morbidity and mortality in low-income countries.
    • Introduction to IMCI protocol
  • Case Study
    • Description of e-IMCI software, lessons learned during rapid prototyping.
    • Design of study
  • Results of study
    • Adherence: Clinicians performed 84.7% of required steps using e-IMCI, compared to 61% of investigations seen with the conventional usage (p < 0.01).
    • Speed: An analysis of 18 trials comparing the times by the same clinician, the average of both e-IMCI and conventional IMCI was about 12.5 minutes.
  • Future directions of the project and how mobile devices can help at the point of care