Written by Heather Mack at Mobi Health News, February 14, 2017

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Healthcare technology company ThinkMD has partnered with international development company DAI to bring ThinkMD’s first digital health product to scale. DAI also led ThinkMD’s latest funding round for an undisclosed amount.

ThinkMD’s first product is a clinical assessment platform called MedSinc, which is designed to be used on a mobile phone by even minimally skilled health workers to gauge the illness of a child, and subsequently provide triage and treatment. MedSinc was created with people living and working in parts of the world with doctor or nurse shortage, but initial beta testing with the product has garnered significant interest in the United States as well, the company says.

“The company was founded with an eye towards resource-poor countries, where is a huge physician and nurse shortage and people may go their whole life without ever seeing a licensed, professional clinician. But being here, as a US company and putting it in front of our local constituents, we are seeing a really powerful demand,” Nick Donowitz, chief operating officer for ThinkMD told MobiHealthNews. “So we are really seeing a global opportunity for MedSinc.”

Working with DAI, ThinkMD will begin their first commercial implementation over the next few months. DAI has been working around the world since 1970 across multiple sectors including healthcare, economic growth and digital technology, and the company recently launched a business unit focused on global health and healthcare analytics. The two companies began working together when DAI launched a competition called Innovation into Action Challenge, an initiative to identify and accelerate ideas, products and services in international development. As a winner of that challenge, ThinkMD worked with DAI to coordinate a field test of MedSinc with Ecuador’s Ministry of Health.

“DAI is focused on next-generation health and technology innovations that will make a powerful difference on a global scale,” Chris LeGrand, president of DAI Global Health, said in a statement. “In ThinkMD, we have a partner whose technology and values are a perfect complement to our vision for the future of healthcare globally. We look forward to working with the team to realize the potential of ThinkMD’s world-class clinical tools.”

MedSinc works off of user-generated data to make the assessment, acquiring patient demographics, illness history, vital signs and physical examination data. It then provides clinical assessment and screening protocols for a list of possible conditions, and provides recommendations that comply with WHO guidelines. The software is continuously self-training, and the information can be shared among care teams. Additionally, since it is capturing public health data, it can be used to offer insights over time on population health, disease burden and pandemic threats. Given the location, the software will work with existing information systems to deliver the most comprehensive feedback possible.

“While it can look really different depending on if you are a parent using it to go through an eight to 10 minute clinical assessment of your child, or someone working with an NGO in a rural part of the world, or someone in a clinical setting, it is designed to be interoperable with many health information systems” said Donowitz. “We are already looking into a partnership with an EHR company and looking for more, and we are also interested in partnerships with sensor-enabled device makers. In the digital health space, it’s either integrate with others or not go that far.”

Since MedSinc is planned for global commercialization, the company will comply with regulatory requirements as they arise, but thus far has not been subject to any approval. And as deployment is still a work in progress, not all specific details about just how it will work in each particular part of the world have been finalized. For example, ThinkMD is still exploring what different distribution channels will look like based on hardware capabilities and security considerations, and the company is engaged in some conversations with device manufactures on how to equip people with mobile devices ready with the software.

“The partnership and where we are poised with a company, with a market-ready product, our goal from the very beginning is expanding access to quality software,” said Donowitz. “The more hands it gets into, the better. We’re being very flexible in terms of how to offer the software capabilities.”

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