In the effort to squash the spread of disease in sub-Saharan Africa, time is precious—and often wasted, because official reporting has historically taken place with paper and the postal service. To save days (and lives), HP last year partnered with NGOs Positive Innovation for the Next Generation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative to digitize malaria surveillance in Botswana. By distributing smartphones to health care workers, HP built a real-time system to monitor outbreaks. During the yearlong pilot, cases reported to the Ministry of Health in time to stop an outbreak soared from 20% of total diagnoses to 93%, and response time was minimized. The system is expanding to 80 new facilities this October—and, just as important, will track an additional 18 diseases.
A version of this article appeared in the October 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.