Developers create FileMaker app to track Haitian HIV patients

Posted by Justin Hesser on December 15, 2014

Last month, this blog reported the story a Mississippi dentist who used FileMaker to develop a database to make up for the lack of records in developing countries, including Haiti. Now, that country is benefiting from another FileMaker app designed by three IT support consultants at the University of Iowa. The app, called TEBOW as a portmanteau of the names of developers Steve Bowers and Ted Fitzgerald, helps track HIV patients.

The lead developer, Stephen Yagla, began working on TEBOW after a trip to Haiti with Chris Buresh, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Iowa. There, they observed a rudimentary and ineffective system of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and paper records being used by health workers, often visiting volunteers like Buresh.

TEBOW has the dual aim of being functional and very easy to use by health care workers with limited IT knowledge. Patients are photographed with an iPhone, their name and phone number are recorded and they are assigned a unique ID number. Workers can track specific patients and analyze the data to draw useful conclusions, such as how much medicine to bring on each trip.

“Workers can track specific patients and analyze the data.”

“It’s amazing how powerful it is and how much it helps,” said Buresh to The Daily Iowan. “It’s critical that we can prove to ourselves and everyone else that we’re not wasting our time and money. It has definitely changed the way I look at what we do and changed the way I look at people in IT.”

Certified FileMaker consultants can help businesses achieve similarly successful results by building customized databases and teaching employees to maintain and update them over time.