Reflections from Mihaela Miches, IBM Health Corps in India

Meet Mihaela Miches, a front-end developer with Watson Health from Ireland, serving on the IBM Health Corps team in Bihar, India 

JPEG image-3CC795488EB7-1You grew up in Romania, and live in Ireland now. What are some of the similarities and differences you’ve seen among those health care systems and the one we’re working in here in India?

One of the similarities is that health care systems are not perfect anywhere. They all have their big problem, and that’s why we’re here. We’re doing everything we can to make it better. In Ireland if you wanted to get your drug prescription, what’s similar to this [to India] is there are a lot of queues as well. You’ll have to wait to see a doctor, and generally just wait until they prescribe you something. And many times, in Ireland, you’re better off going to a private hospital. In Romania, there’s not so much queuing, but the quality of health services offered… there’s a lot to improve. Everywhere around the world – every system has their problems.

How are you approaching this project with CARE India and the creation of the user interface?

I’m bringing my day to day experience to this work. It’s not just about “hype driven development.” First, I’m making sure the system is responsive – that it can be viewed on a mobile device – because today, everyone’s using them as their first experience. I’m thinking of the district civil surgeon who may not be at a computer every day, but has a smartphone in his pocket.

Second, I’m paying attention to the accessibility issues (learn more at https://www.ibm.com/able/). Third, for the overall ecosystem, we’re using github and using open source technologies, and leveraging the culture of DevOps.  I think this will accelerate CARE to take this work forward more easily.

What does it mean to you to be part of Health Corps?

It’s an honor. I’m very grateful to be here. My job right now at IBM is the job I’ve been dreaming of since I was 14, thinking about what do I want to do when I grow up. I wanted to be part of something big, like a big company that has influence and access everywhere around the world. I wanted to work with AI. And I wanted to solve the hard problems for society, and healthcare is hard and burning and very important to solve. It’s a dream come true to be here and be on the ground and actually hands on to help the people of India.

HC team with CARE district level staff

IBM Health Corps meets with the Vaishali district civil surgeon and the CARE District Resource Unit

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