Student helps docs

  A University medical student’s work has led to the breakthrough of a multi-million dollar worldwide philanthropic program. Second-year medical student Nicholas Wilkie is developing a low-cost, portable electronic health record (EHR) for doctors and surgeons in the Doctors Without Borders program, a University Communications article stated. After hearing a lecture by professor of surgery, Bruce Leavitt, Wilkie said he realized his skills were needed to tackle an issue plaguing doctors in third-world countries. An archaic paper filing system was still in place to treat patients with illnesses such as Cholera, Wilkie said. “Dr. Leavitt spoke about how difficult it was to treat patients with no effective medical record system,” he said to University Communications. “So I spoke to him after the lecture. I told him I had programming experience, and asked if I designed a hand-held electronic health record if he thought it would be useful.” Right now, Doctors Without Borders still relies on paper-based record systems to track their patients, Wilkie said. “The records are inconsistent and difficult to analyze, which makes it harder for them to make large scale, strategic decisions from clinical data,” he said. After the lecture, Wilkie sought advice from a number of University professors, University Communications stated. While seeking funding and help from the University, Wilkie said he made a connection. By randomly searching a Doctors Without Borders forum, I came across a post made by a director of information services for the program seeking assistance in overcoming the paper-based filing system for the philanthropic organization, he said. He showed the organization his prototype, which he meticulously programmed in a 24-hour time frame, and they were immediately interested, Wilkie said. Doctors Without Borders is now sending Wilkie to one of their headquarters in Switzerland over Thanksgiving break, where he will consult the organization on the future of the product and its implementation into their system, he said. Wilkie said the organization hopes to utilize the system in tackling issues of Cholera treatment and investigation in Chad and Haiti