Thesis Abstract, Fall Midterm

Right now, in Malawi, there is a need to bring patients' physical measurements into accurate, long-term records. My idea is to channel these measurements into their system digitally. Through a suite of simple technologies, I will enable technicians to record arm, waist, hip, and head circumference quickly and reliably. These data will then feed directly into a database via Baobab's thin-client terminal appliances. By doing this, fewer errors in measurement and transcription will arise. Health care providers will have access to cumulative, permanent patient histories.

Patients' physical measurements will be read via a device called ScanBand. ScanBand consists of a thin strip of paper or flexible plastic, the majority of which is covered with a series of bar codes. Each bar code is printed with a specific height, such as 5 mm, and encodes length of the strip from the bar code itself to a cutout “window” at the end of the strip. By making a loop with the paper, technicians with a ScanBand can rapidly and accurately measure the circumference of several parts of the patient’s body.

My methodology thus far has been twofold. I am producing a series of working prototypes, in quick succession, and testing them on subjects to evaluate their ease of use, accuracy, and overall look and feel. I am also discussing these prototypes with stakeholders and other interested parties in Malawi and the United States. With each revision, I have taken this test data and applied the lessons learned to a new version of the ScanBand. As an integral part of this thesis, I am also preparing more rigorous evaluation tools that will be given to testers of the ScanBand to determine their overall level of satisfaction with versions of the band I create throughout this project.

Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.