Friday, January 08, 2016

RAD-AID

If you didn't know, I'm semi-retired, working only 26 weeks of the year. That would be half of the year for those uncomfortable with mathematics. The ultimate plan is to do this for another 12-18 months (one to one and one half years if you need the conversion factor) and then goodbye to the joys of private practice.

Of course, my ultimate plan lacks some ultimate planning. Being relatively young, and in relatively good health, I've got to do something with all that free time beyond writing blog posts few read, and lurking around Facebook and AuntMinnie.com.

A friend knew people who were going to create a flying hospital within an old 747 some airline was going to donate to them. I found this a fascinating concept, and I was forwarding suggestions as to which scanners and PACS and so on might be critical for such a project. Sadly, this has yet to get off the ground, so to speak.


A Merge Healthcare newsletter, however, revealed their partnership with RAD-AID, a world-wide Radiology project that IS active, and in fact has done quite a lot of good already in many far flung places.
Chicago, IL, 10 Sep 2015

Merge Healthcare (NASDAQ: MRGE) today announced a new global collaboration with the nonprofit organization, RAD-AID International, (US Registered 501c3) to bring vital radiology and health information technologies to medically underserved and poor regions of the world. The collaboration—RAD-AID Merge International Imaging Informatics Initiative (RMI4)—leverages Merge’s leadership in radiology information technologies with RAD-AID’s global health outreach network, including 3,500 volunteers, 14 country-outreach programs, 33 university-based chapters and affiliation with the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO reports that nearly half the world has little or no radiology services. Moreover, most of these low and middle-income countries have no access to health information technologies, such as Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS), Electronic Health Records (EHR), Radiology Information Systems (RIS), Hospital Information Systems and other life-saving health informatics platforms for storing, retrieving and interpreting patient data. In collaboration with Merge’s charitable contributions of software, technical resources and expertise in radiology image-management, RAD-AID will implement these health information technologies at the nonprofit’s partnered international sites along with RAD-AID’s ongoing delivery of clinical education, on-site training and radiology assistance to comprehensively support poor and resource-limited countries.

“This collaboration between RAD-AID and Merge represents a major step forward in bridging charitable outreach and health technologies for the mission of improving global health,” said Dan Mollura, chief executive officer, RAD-AID International.

Serving as an important foundation for this collaboration, RAD-AID has designed and deployed its Radiology-Readiness AssessmentTM tool since 2008, to assess, plan and deliver radiology in poor and medically underserved regions. Over the last seven years, these RAD-AID Radiology-Readiness Assessments confirmed the near-complete absence of health information technology in low- and middle-income countries. To begin addressing this significant health care disparity, RAD-AID and Merge developed RMI4. As a resource for carrying out this initiative, RAD-AID recently enhanced the Radiology-Readiness tool to include PACS-Readiness, a data analytics tool for specifically planning international deployment of PACS in facilities having little or no prior experience with imaging platforms.

“Merge takes corporate social responsibility very seriously and is excited to partner with RAD-AID to bring radiology and health information technologies to medically underserved and resource-limited countries across the globe,” said Justin Dearborn, chief executive officer, Merge Healthcare.

The collaboration envisions the creation of a constructive, educational and supportive roadmap for medical imaging facilities and health institutions in underserved regions of the world to adopt radiology imaging informatics systems.

Now THIS is what I'm talking about. Here's a chance to deploy the software I appreciate most in areas where it will do a tremendous amount of good. And maybe I could share some of my meager radiology expertise as well. (Ironically, when I first contacted RAD-AID, I was asked if I knew how to implement the dcm4chee open-source system, which I don't, but perhaps I won't have to learn it after all...)

RAD-AID itself is an interesting operation.

RAD-AID began in 2008 to answer this need for more radiology and imaging technology in the resource-limited regions and communities of the world. The organization began as a few people at Johns Hopkins, and has grown to include more than 3,500 contributors from 200 countries, 45,000 web visitors per year, 33 chapter organizations, and on-site programs in more than 14 countries.

RAD-AID’s mission is to increase and improve radiology resources in the developing and impoverished countries of the world. Radiology is a part of nearly every segment of health care, including pediatrics, obstetrics, medicine and surgery, making the absence of radiology a critical piece of global health disparity.
The organization sends teams to dozens of countries, and truly has a positive impact upon health care.  I've been in touch in particular with the team working in Ghana, and there was even an immediate opportunity to go there which I can't at the moment.


But the need is great, and we all can help.

Go to RAD-AID.org, and consider volunteering. Even if you can't volunteer at the moment, please consider a donation, either to the Ghana project HERE, or to RAD-AID in general (popup link on their homepage). 

This is a worthy cause, one which should be close to the hearts of those in the imaging business.

See you in Ghana! (Or maybe Nepal, or maybe...)

2 comments :

Stacey Gordon said...

Excellent!

Leigh Brooks said...

Thanks for raising awareness about RAD AID Ghana. I volunteered in September 2014 & would love to return someday.