Microsoft Employees Team Up with Doctors to Bring Medical Care and Technology to the Ecuadorian Jungle
Last month, a group of ten Microsoft employees, seven doctors, five nurses, three pharmacists, and 14 other volunteers traveled to Tena, Ecuador for a week to provide medical care to hundreds of patients in the Amazon Basin. The yearly trip happens through a partnership between Microsoft and Timmy Global Health, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that expands access to healthcare in several locations across Latin America and empowers volunteers to tackle today’s most pressing global health challenges.
Projects like this are part of an increasing trend on the part of employees from Microsoft and other companies to take time off not just to travel, but also to volunteer and give back to communities near and far. In addition to the direct patient care that the medical professionals and volunteers provided, several of the same Microsoft employees are volunteering their time and expertise on an ongoing basis to build a custom Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system called TimmyCare that will make the existing handwritten paper records used in the remote clinics a thing of the past. Muz Ahmed, a Microsoft Developer in Exchange, volunteers as the lead developer on TimmyCare, and Andy McGovern, a Lead Program Manager at Bing, acts as TimmyCare’s program manager. Andy said “TimmyCare opens up new possibilities of online patient tracking and data aggregation. For example, with the help of this new technology, knowing exactly how many tablets of ibuprofen we handed out and how many malnourished pregnant women we saw in each community will allow Timmy to more effectively apply its volunteers and medical supplies to the communities that need it most.”
Yang Zheng, a Microsoft IT consultant based in the DC area who volunteered in Ecuador last month, said “It was my privilege to be able to participate in this incredible experience and witness medical professionals providing much needed care to patients while Microsofties supported them with modern technology in the jungle.” The medical professionals had a great volunteer experience as well: Dr. Tom Luft, a hospitalist in Des Moines, IA, said “I have worked with multiple healthcare teams under some very challenging conditions in the past, but no team rivals the professionalism, commitment and caring attitude of the Timmy/Microsoft team.”
The hundreds of combined volunteer hours that Microsoft employees have spent assisting in the clinics and developing the EMR will be matched back as a donation to Timmy at $17 per hour thanks to the Microsoft Volunteer Matching gift program, which this year alone will raise more than $10,000 for Timmy and over $7 Million to all organizations employees volunteer with. In addition, Timmy received a $30,000 donation from this year’s Microsoft Giving Campaign events.
Now that they’ve returned from a successful trip and TimmyCare has been released in beta, Timmy and its supporters are facing another big but potentially transformational challenge: they are in the running to win a top prize of $1,000,000 from the Chase Bank American Giving Awards in less than a week. These awards have been referred to as the Oscars of the nonprofit world, and Timmy is one of 25 finalists across five categories in this year’s contest. For more information and to vote, you can visit timmyglobalhealth.org or chasegiving.com. Voting happens via a Facebook app that closes at midnight EST on Tuesday, December 4th, and the winners will be announced at 8pm EST on Saturday, December 8th on NBC.
For more information on volunteering with Timmy Global Health, visit timmyglobalhealth.org.
Bhaskar Mitra, a developer at Microsoft who works on Bing, has a new experience as a Timmy pharmacy technician.
Kim Sacco, a registered nurse, relays some patient vital signs for TimmyCare to Namrata Baliga, a developer on Microsoft Azure, and Kathleen McGrow, a registered nurse who works on a healthcare joint venture between Microsoft and GE called Caradigm
Kristoffer Strauss, a consultant who does contract work with Microsoft, checks the weight of a pint-sized patient before his consultation with the doctor.