In 2017 the Centre for International Child Health at BC Children's Hospital Foundation was awarded $250,000 as a finalist in the Google.org Impact Challenge. The innovation proposed was the Pocket Doc for Pneumonia, a low-cost smartphone tool that would help health care workers in remote areas and developing countries to accurately diagnose pneumonia and save children's lives. The project was deployed in Uganda in 2018, with partner health facility Holy Innocents Children's Hospital. The first iteration of the Pocket Doc assisted hospital staff to identify critically ill children more quickly and facilitate faster treatment times.

In 2019-2020, the CICH secured a second grant through Wellcome Trust UK, with partner researchers in Uganda and Kenya to engage in the next phase of the PocketDoc project — Smart Triage. This project aims to save young lives through triage and management of sepsis in children using the point-of-care Paediatric Rapid Sepsis Trigger (PRST) tool and will be implemented at three sites in Kenya and Uganda, with partners at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Walimu at Jinja Hospital.

Work on the project began in September 2019 and will run until 2022. The project will implement and evaluate a trigger tool to reduce the time to diagnosis and prompt timely initiation of life-saving treatment. The key innovations are:

  1. A data-driven approach to the diagnosis of sepsis severity, and
  2. The use of a digital tagging system to track the time to treatment.

The tool will be evaluated on children (2 months to 5 years) arriving at the emergency department. It will predict individualized risk based on clinical symptoms and signs through a mobile device with an attached sensor. Children identified as high-risk by the trigger tool will receive an expedited bundle of care that may include antibiotics, fluids and oxygen.

A dashboard will be used to improve communication between the healthcare team to ensure treatment is delivered on time. Use of the tool will identify high-risk children and reduce the time to appropriate treatment. Ultimately, the platform will create a low-cost, highly scalable solution for reducing death and disability in children with sepsis.