Nonprofit uses biometrics technology to monitor India’s tuberculosis cases

July 6, 2015 - 

Operation ASHA, an organization that aims to provide tuberculosis (TB) treatment and health services to poor residents in India’s urban slums and rural villages, is using biometrics technology to ensure that TB patients receive comprehensive treatment as well as to detect any new cases, according to a report by Voice of America.

Since TB patients require up to 76 doses of medicines under direct observation at a designated treatment center, it can be a challenging task for the patient, health workers and supervisors as the treatment takes six months to complete.

Operation ASHAs centers are strategically located in disadvantaged areas, such as urban slums and rural villages throughout India, and open at convenient times to ensure that patents do not have to miss work on the account of visiting these treatment centers.

The organization uses a biometrics software solution called eCompliance to more effectively provide healthcare treatment to those in need.

“eCompliance was developed to further ensure every dose [is] taken at these centers, and for tracking patients who miss their dose,” said Dr. Shelly Batra, president and co-founder at Operation ASHA.

Operation ASHA workers operate the eCompliance software on a tablet, which can be connected externally with a biometric fingerprinting device.

At first diagnosis, a TB patient’s fingerprints and other vital details are registered in the system.

This requires patients to provide their fingerprints at the TB treatment center every time they take the medication to ensure evidence that each visit took place and that the medicine itself was taken under observation.

“If a dose is missed, eCompliance issues an alert to the patient, health worker and his supervisor,” said Dr. Batra. “The health worker has to meet the patient within 24-48 hours, provide further counseling, deliver the dose and ensure that the patient re-joins the therapy … This helps achieve a very high adherence and treatment success rate.”

First adopted in Delhi in 2009, eCompliance has now been successfully scaled to most of the Operation ASHA centers located in nine states across India.

Using eCompliance, Operation ASHA workers have recorded over 450,000 transactions with a treatment completion rate of nearly 90%, along with a low default rate of below 3%.

The organization is also using the eCompliance solution in Cambodia, where it is serving 10% of all TB patients. Additionally, many third parties have replicated the solution in Uganda, the Dominican Republic, and Peru.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.