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Popular Mechanics: How Text Messages Could Change Global Healthcare

Author: Chris Sweeney
October 24, 2011

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Chris Sweeney raises the question whether low tech SMS programs used by nonprofits like Medic Mobil could revolutionize global health.

Josh Nesbit sees a bright future for the cellphones that most of us see as antiquated. The 24-year-old Nesbit is the CEO of nonprofit Medic Mobile, and this startup exec’s vision is to take those chunky Nokias and other phones of the recent past—the kind that most Americans threw out or relegated to the junk drawer long ago—and use them to radically change how health care is delivered in developing nations.

These old phones don’t have the touchscreens and slick software features of our shiny new smartphones. But they can text, and in Nesbit’s eyes, a simple technology like text messaging is a tool that can be used to track disease outbreaks, help first responders quickly locate victims after disasters, and more.

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