Firefox OS Proposed For Healthcare In The Developing World

Mozilla partners with Medic Mobile to empower rural doctors

Mozilla has announced a partnership with Medic Mobile, a non-profit provider of mHealth solutions for developing countries, which will see Firefox OS smartphones used to do things like documenting measles outbreaks in the third world.

Firefox OS is a simple, lightweight mobile operating system built using HTML5. From the very start, it was designed to be affordable and appeal to the broadest possible market – in February, Mozilla unveiled a reference Firefox OS smartphone design that costs just $25.

“We see harnessing the Web as our next big step, bringing location data, images, visualizations and analytics to the fingertips of community health workers. Firefox OS is device-agnostic and provides a Web-based, low-cost platform for the developing world,” said Josh Nesbit, CEO of Medic Mobile.

Smartphones to the rescue

Medic Mobile (formerly FrontlineSMS:Medic) has been working with mobile healthcare solutions since 2010. The organisation relies on open source software to connect villages to hospitals, collect patient data, track infection outbreaks, schedule visits and monitor medicine stock levels. Its tools are currently used in 20 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Luis LouroMobile health applications are becoming increasingly popular, with large parts of Samsung Galaxy S5 advertising revolving around its health and fitness tracking features. The smartphone even has an in-built heart rate monitor.

True to its mission of ‘social good’, Mozilla is doing something a bit different – a tool developed by Medic Mobile is the first community health app for Firefox OS, and is already available through the Firefox Marketplace. Among other things, it enables health workers to document measles outbreaks from their phones.

“We look forward to expanding Medic Mobile’s reach through Firefox OS, and will continue pursuing regionalized and localized community apps like Medic Mobile that make the Web even more useful and relevant to people,” commented Mary Ellen Muckerman, VP of Brand Strategy and Services at Mozilla.

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