Sebastopol startup brings e-health records to developing countries

  • CEO of E-Health Records, Dan Smith, left, and his developer Kiko Taganashi work from their startup's new headquarter in Sebastopol on Tuesday, December 17, 2013. The startup builds and deploys low cost Hospital Information Systems (HIS) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) for hospitals and clinics in the developing world. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

The idea of marketing electronic health records to hospitals in impoverished developing countries may seem somewhat of a head-scratcher.

How can you go from paper records to electronic medical records without the powerful computer network systems that for decades have been part of hospital infrastructure in wealthy nations?

By using the powerful world of mobile technology to bypass the desktop computer age.

The same technology teens use to send emoticons, play "Minecraft" or watch videos is being used by a Sebastopol-based startup to help doctors and nurses in Africa, Asia and the Philippines join the electronic health records revolution.

Founded barely two years ago, E-Health Records International, or EHRI, offers hospitals in developing nations an affordable electronic health records platform that can be used with cellular networks and cloud-based computer servers.

In many places such as Haiti and Africa, cellular networks are more fully built-out than land-line communications systems, and a mobile phone is the primary form of communication, said Dan Smith, EHRI's CEO.

"Cellphone networks are more complete in the third world than in some parts of Sonoma County," said Smith, a well known Sebastopol entrepreneur and philanthropist.

The company primarily does business with hospital networks operated by religious organizations such as the Adventist Health International and Presbyterian Church U.S.A. The electronic health records platform is just one of the products it offers to medical professionals in developing countries.

The company also offers hospital management and administrative software that can work independently of its electronic records software or link up to it.

EHRI recently landed a contract with the Philippine Department of Health to use EHRI software to help screen newborns for hearing problems. The software collects and manages the results of newborn hearing tests, referring certain infants to audiology clinics.

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