Improving Healthcare in Zambia with CouchDB

James Turner | O'Reilly Community | March 31, 2011

A new healthcare project in Zambia is trying to integrate supervisors, clinics, and community healthcare workers (CHW) into a system that can improve patient service and provide more data about the effectiveness of care. Because of the technical challenges in an extreme rural setting, unique solutions are required. According to Cory Zue, chief technology officer of Dimagi,CouchDB went a long way toward keeping a consistent set of records under extreme circumstances. The full story will be laid out in Zue's talk at the upcoming MySQL conference, but here's a sneak peak.

You're involved with a rural healthcare project in Africa. Can you talk a bit about it, and how CouchDB is being used?

Cory Zue: We chose to use CouchDB for very specific reasons for our project, which had to do with it being very good at replicating itself. The project is an effort to deploy health record and data collection systems to extremely remote, rural clinics in Zambia. Working in that environment, we're facing a lot of really challenging technical limitations. If you've only worked in America or in Europe, you don't necessarily run across these types of issues.