You are here

Smartphone Application for Global Birth Defects Surveillance


Background: Every year approximately 8 million children are born worldwide with severe birth defects. Currently, data about the magnitude of birth defects prevalence in low and middle income countries are either nonexistent or severely underestimated, creating difficulties for health strategic planners to convince policy makers of the burden and the public health impact of birth defects in their countries. The use of smartphone technology has proven to be a useful tool in the collection of data that is otherwise not available, incomplete or not easy to capture. The use of smartphones is a novel, simple, efficient and instructive approach to the collection of data and offers great potential for encouraging health care personnel to contribute data using their mobile telephones. In particular, this technology would help address a critical need in large continental areas like Africa, South America and East Asia where birth defect registries are limited or do not exist and thus little is known about disease burden and service need. Use of smartphones to establish standard global surveillance data will help to more accurately identify the prevalence of birth defects and expand the reach and impact of clinical and public health services for affected children and their families. Project Goal: CDC is seeking the development of smartphone technology for the implementation of birth defect registries in global settings. Application of smartphone technology has the potential to improve the accuracy of data collection, reduce the time and the cost of data transmission and retrieval, reduce data entry errors and synchronize collected information with a central database. Use of smartphone technology has the potential to address many of the issues involved in global birth defect surveillance such as the standardization of the data collection process. Built-in data quality indicators can assess key elements of data quality such as accuracy of diagnosis (providing clinical decision support to the health provider in the field), completeness of information of a minimal set of required variables, geographic information systems (GIS), timeliness of data transmission, availability of population denominator information, and evaluation of performance. Impact: Many large countries have remote areas where the implementation of appropriate birth defect surveillance is very difficult. A smartphone application will strengthen surveillance by facilitating the standardization of birth defect collection, and storage, transmission and retrieval of data across worldwide communities. Local providers will have access to clinical information and guidelines for initial management of patients with birth defects. In addition, the technology will contribute to the awareness of the public health burden of birth defects, and the need for more targeted prevention strategies leading to a positive global health impact. Once developed, the smartphone application for birth defects registries has the potential to be easily converted into a collection tool for other existing epidemiological data registries with numerous uses and to further applications for insurance companies, government entities and private business.
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government