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An informatics model for guiding assembly of telemicrobiology workstations for malaria collaborative diagnostics using commodity products and open-source software

DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-8-164

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Abstract:

The model incorporates two general principles: 1) collaborative diagnostics, where free and open communication and networking applications are used to link distributed collaborators for reciprocal assistance in organizing and interpreting digital diagnostic data; and 2) commodity engineering, which leverages globally available consumer electronics and open-source informatics applications, to build generic open systems that measure needed information in ways substantially equivalent to more complex proprietary systems. Routine microscopic examination of Giemsa and fluorescently stained blood smears for diagnosing malaria is used as an example to validate the model.The model is used as a constraint-based guide for the design, assembly, and testing of a functioning, open, and commoditized telemicroscopy system that supports distributed acquisition, exploration, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of digital microscopy images of stained malarial blood smears while also supporting remote diagnostic tracking, quality assessment and diagnostic process development.The open telemicroscopy workstation design and use-process described here can address clinical microbiology infrastructure deficits in an economically sound and sustainable manner. It can boost capacity to deal with comprehensive measurement of disease and care outcomes in individuals and groups in a distributed and collaborative fashion. The workstation enables local control over the creation and use of diagnostic data, while allowing for remote collaborative support of diagnostic data interpretation and tracking. It can enable global pooling of malaria disease information and the development of open, participatory, and adaptable laboratory medicine practices. The informatic model highlights how the larger issue of access to generic commoditized measurement, information processing, and communication technology in both high- and low-income countries can enable diagnostic services that are much less expensive,

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