UK tech start-up SimPrints has secured funding from the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge to develop a mobile biometric scanner to maintain health records.
The scanner and software enables real-time identification and access to patient records through fingerprints.
Suitable for integration with any mobile health (mHealth) application, the scanner is designed to address problems such as misidentification caused by common community names and unknown dates of birth. It also eliminates the need to maintain hard copies of health records.
Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative director Alain Labrique said: "As we struggle to identify ways to strengthen vital registration systems that improve our ability to deliver care to every person who needs it – knowing who someone is and being able to pull up their prior health record is a real game changer for the footsoldiers of global health."
The technology will help mHealth services penetrate into developing regions, where community health workers often find it difficult to make the four antenatal visits recommended by WHO, due to difficulties with patient identification, access to health records and visit verification.
The company is partnering with the Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative and NGO BRAC to conduct a pilot study of the scanner in Bangladesh.
The £250,000 grant is being made by the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The funds will be fully matched by mobile phone technology developer ARM.
SimPrints co-founder Daniel Storisteanu said: "This funding is a huge opportunity for us to attract talent and accelerate our development, so that we can build and optimise every technical aspect of this system to address global health challenges."
The Saving Lives challenge funds innovations that are aimed at preventing maternal and neonatal mortality in developing countries.
Image: SimPrints is conducting a pilot study of the scanner in Bangladesh. Photo: courtesy of University of Cambridge Judge Business School.