World Vision using mobile computers to speed up medical data collection

Intermec’s CN50 will help speed up medical data collection. Photo via World Vision International

To help deliver more efficient aid to remote areas internationally, two Seattle companies are teaming up.

World Vision International announced a new partnership today with Intermec, an Everett-based company that processes data and develops RFID products, industrial printers and bar coding scanners. The Christian aid organization plans to use Intermec’s mobile device, the CN50, to streamline the data collection process of its global humanitarian efforts.

Intermec, which was gobbled up by Honeywell for $600 million last December, built the CN50 to function primarily as a data-capture device that, when deployed to the fifteen counties where World Vision services currently operate, hastens relief performance by delivering faster, more accurate data about the efforts.

intermec50

Intermec’s CN50.

Intermec’s Principal Product Manager Joe DeWenter said the CN50 is like a tiny, durable computer.

“Think of the CN50 as a small computer that’s much more rugged than a smartphone, survives in outdoor environmental conditions, and has a long battery life [to aid] a wide variety of ‘mission critical’ applications,” he explained.

World Vision aims to employ the CN50 as a data collection tool to collect and organize beneficiary information. Using the device will reduce the amount of time aid workers spend gathering data and targeting aid efforts.

Here’s how it works: Beneficiary data and the programs they qualify for are registered into the CN50′s system. Beneficiaries are then given ID cards that can be scanned and identified by the CN50, giving them access to the aid they need without having to be re-registered by an aid worker.

The collaboration is part of World Vision’s Last Mile Mobile Solutions (LMMS) effort, which focuses on the deployment of mobile devices at the point where aid efforts reach beneficiaries. By using the CN50, World Vision said aid workers will be able to receive up-to-the-minute data concerning what is needed where.

Senior Advisor Otto Farkas

World Vision International Senior Advisor Otto Farkas

Otto Farkas, senior advisor of innovation and partnering in World Vision’s Global, Collaboration and Innovation Division, said the system can be used in a number of different ‘last mile’ aid efforts, including food distribution and disaster relief programs.

“Technology like the CN50 allow aid workers maximum mobility and flexibility to operate remotely and often in very remote and inhospitable locations,” Farkas said. “Digital data collection and management capabilities allow us to reduce duplication and human error while transferring data.”

Farkas said the inclusion could reduce the time aid workers spend on distribution reporting from “four days to four minutes.” He also thought one of the greatest attributes was the CN50′s ability to streamline data collection.

“CN50s have been essential part of the success of LMMS,” he said. “We can connect up to 8 CN50s to one roaming server, allowing us to service thousands of people in a very short period of time.”

About 750,000 World Vision beneficiaries have been enrolled in the LMMS system globally, and World Vision hopes to have 3 million enrolled by 2014.

Previously on GeekWire: Honeywell to buy printer and barcode scanner maker Intermec for $600 million

Alisa Reznick is a University of Washington student working as an editorial intern at GeekWire this quarter. Reach her at alisa@geekwire.com or on Twitter @AlisaReznick.