Bullseye: Smartphone-Based Maintenance of Phototherapy Equipment for Neonatal Jaundice
Rationale: Severe neonatal jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) can be treated by exposing an affected newborn to intense blue light. However, babies diagnosed with jaundice are often placed under phototherapy lights that are ineffective, old or poorly maintained. Inexpensive solutions for predictive maintenance of such technologies are needed to assess the quality of treatment and provide data for long-term equipment management.
Approach: We propose to develop a low-cost smartphone application to automate the collection, wireless transmission and remote evaluation of light intensity data, and provide immediate alerts if treatment falls below effective levels.
Objective and Impact: The system will provide healthcare providers with instant measurements indicating whether their phototherapy equipment is capable of providing effective treatment. It will also provide warnings when that equipment needs to be serviced. Because the system is designed to be networked via a smartphone, the collected data can be analyzed for failure rates across local, regional, and national areas, and will speed the tracking of ineffective or under-effective treatments, enable correlation of these treatments with rates of mortality and morbidity, and help develop cost-benefit resource allocation.
Innovation: Our system offers clear advantages over existing phototherapy light meters: (1) it takes advantage of the processing capabilities, wireless upload and digital cameras of smartphones, which we believe will become increasingly more common and affordable even in resource-limited regions; (2) the measurements that it takes can be easily stored for long-term evaluation and management purposes; and (3) it radically undercuts the cost of existing solutions.