On the Frontlines of Healthcare, Frontida App Built to Aid Vulnerable Populations

Woman standing by tent in Lesbos, Greece

Photo by Stephen Ryan/IFRC on Flickr. CC License

Academy student Laura Roed never expected that just a few short months after traveling to a refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece to study abroad, she’d be co-founding a startup that improves healthcare outcomes for the underserved in crisis zones and beyond.

As part of her CE499: Special Topics Innovation in Engineering and Design for Global Challenges class, Roed and her classmates headed to Camp Moria, Europe’s largest refugee camp. The purpose of the class trip was to find developing human-centered solutions to pressing human crises. In places like Moria, patients have limited medical documentation and doctors end up making vital decisions with incomplete information, which can compound into misdiagnosis and fragmented treatment. Roed, alongside USC Viterbi student Lauren Yen, felt they could find a way to bridge these critical information gaps through technology. The task would be no small feat, however.

“No words could ever accurately portray the situation in Moria,” says Roed. “Our team walked away thinking whatever we did would never be enough, but we had to do something.”

Visual of digital dashboard on various electronic devices
Large tent encampment

Photos courtesy of Frontida Records

In response, Roed and Yen developed Frontida Records (translated from the word ‘caring’ in Greek) to address some of the pain points they saw at Camp Moria.

“We met amazing volunteers and doctors on the ground who expressed their need for better medical documentation,” says Roed. ”We felt we were capable of finding a way to help.”

Frontida Records provides patients and doctors with a much-needed, modern solution. The startup runs a secure, centralized cloud-based database that collects and stores health records. While common in developed countries, the digitization of information can be a lifesaver in an underserved community, not only removing the fear of having paper-based records go missing, but also ensuring critical health data can be accessed by both patients and doctors. Patients can access their own health information through Frontida Record’s patient portal, and doctors can use the app to efficiently keep track of their medical history wherever they go, ensuring consistent care.

A gathering of doctors and volunteers
An instructor speaking to a group of listeners

Frontida Record’s impact can also be summed up in time and money. With such a huge burden lifted, resources can be moved elsewhere, and the data gives clinics a tangible means to show they are making a difference and thereby generate greater support and funding. Better yet, it means organizations can focus on what matters most: improving healthcare outcomes and broadening their services.

“By increasing efficiency and creating a knowledge base of what resources are needed when, Frontida saves clinics time and money,” states the team on their website. “With data as proof of their impact, clinics are able to get more money to support their work!”

Frontida provides fast, reliable data on nearby pharmaceutical inventories, meaning doctors are able to prescribe medication they know is readily available. It also includes triage management for high-density clinics and helps track disease spread in real-time across populations.

To top it off, Frontida’s compliance with international standards – including GDPR, HIPAA and ISO – means the system has the potential to impact the healthcare outcomes of people beyond the borders of Greece. Already, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Roed.

“Both the Greek Ministry of Health and the Greek Ministry of Migration have expressed great interest in using our system and we are currently working on a potential collaboration.”

These collaborations come on the heels of Frontida going global, as it partners with Floating Doctors in Panama, an organization delivering healthcare to remote coastal communities. Together, they are working with satellite internet companies to help provide internet to the region. The team is also expanding its brainpower, adding talent from across USC schools to help build the back end of the app and connect with further healthcare organizations. Roed believes the momentum is a sign that Frontida is capable of helping in even more parts of the world.

“It's hard to believe we have a product out in the world and working, but while our system has already improved 3,000 patient visits, we know we can do more,” says Roed. “We can expand to help other medical clinics improve their patient treatment practices.”

Stay up to date on Frontida Records’ updates and development on their website.