Digitization of Perioperative Surgical Flowsheets; International Medical Volunteering: Critics Versus Defenders

Nathan, Sarah Winston, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Brown, Don, EN-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia
Lobo, Benjamin, EN-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia

How can medical treatment be improved in low- and middle-income countries?

How can Rwandan surgical data be digitized despite limited resources? Because physicians in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries often use handwritten surgical records rather than digital methods of data storage, doctors and researchers cannot easily study data trends to improve medical care. In this research project, the capstone team designed a data infrastructure that uses various image processing techniques to digitize and store perioperative data from handwritten flowsheets written before, during, and after surgery in Rwanda. With the system, doctors can automatically convert past and future handwritten records to a digital format with 92.23 percent accuracy for checkboxes and 5.42 root mean square error for graphs, supporting data analysis for surgical care improvements.

How do medical volunteer programs divide their defenders from their critics? International medical volunteering began as an opportunity for individuals to improve medical care in low- and middle-income countries. However, some people claim that volunteering is more harmful than helpful to the communities where it occurs. Critics and defenders of international medical volunteering compete to have the loudest voice – defenders promoting volunteer opportunities and critics discouraging them. Both value the benefits of volunteering to local communities; however, critics contend that the educational and experiential functions of volunteering compromise its benefits to local populations, and defenders argue that such latent functions are also valuable and compatible with the medical purpose.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Image Processing, Perioperative Mortality, Volunteer Organization, Effective Altruism

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering
Technical Advisor: Don Brown
STS Advisor: Peter Norton
Technical Team Members: Victoria Rho, Angela Yi, Bhavana Channavajjala, Luke McPhillips, Rex Focht, Nathan Ohene

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